Chairman's Column: Looking ahead to a busy 2019

I wish you all a very happy new year and hope you are looking forward with enthusiasm to a new year in Scottish Women’s Institutes.  There are exciting times ahead with the prospect of a new constitution being approved in April to take the organisation forward. 

Soon we will be working on how we move forward with the SQAs and I hope you are all thinking about entering the Hamlyns competition, which you can read about elsewhere in this edition. Remember the entries have to be in by February, which is not too far away.  

We have also started the planning of the ACWW European Area Conference which we are honoured to be hosting in the autumn of 2020. We’ll provide more details about this exciting event as and when they become available.

Since my last column I managed a long weekend away with some of my family which tied in with a conference the men were attending in Wales. The “three little people” in the family were with us and we had great fun.

The trip to Arran for the Radio Play competition was eventful with ferries cancelled and members being stranded overnight. However, everyone eventually managed to get across the water and after a bit of readjusting times, a great afternoon was had by all.

My thanks to the Arran ladies and their husbands who pulled out all the stops to make sure everything went smoothly. Thank you also to all the teams and supporters who made the effort to get there under exceptional circumstances.

I had two trips to Lanarkshire Federation in the same week. Quathquan and Thankerton Institutes both celebrated their centenaries. The two Institutes were formed on the same day – one in the afternoon and one in the evening. I have not heard of this happening with any other Institutes. Both occasions were very different but equally enjoyable with a lot of fun, friendship and great hospitality.

Meetings week was exceptionally busy and I thank all convenors for taking very full meetings where many discussions and decisions took place. The week ended with an extra Central Council meeting to discuss and agree some of the proposed changes to the constitution.

Members aired their views and discussions took place on many points. The constitution committee will now take all points on board and the document will be again circulated to members as soon as the changes have been made to it.

I enjoyed a 60th birthday lunch with Balfron Institute members and their guests on 26 November.  It was lovely to meet up with many members from Stirling, Clackmannan and West Perthshire Federation and to present certificates to ladies who had given many years’ service to Balfron Institute.

On a personal note, my granddaughter Eilidh allowed me to attend a “stay and play” session at her nursery this week. It was very educational as the children were having a session on Makaton. 

I knew nothing about this but learned that it is sign language used with speech.  Using the appropriate signs, the children introduced themselves, then again using the signs they sang two songs. All the children were four years and under and did exceptionally well.

I have two 90th birthday parties and one 100th to look forward to in December and I am very excited about supporting the Feed the Minds Carol Concert where I have been invited to do a reading – more about these events next month.