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WI Meeting November 2022

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

There were two distinct parts to our November meeting: first, Wendy Agate talked about the St Peter and St James hospice; and second, we held our AGM. Admittedly the former was a little more interesting than the latter, but we do have to follow the rules (sometimes)!

Wendy told us that the charity behind the hospice began life as a donkey sanctuary and to this day they keep a couple of donkeys in a large paddock opposite the entrance – the current inhabitants are Dudley and Dylan. In 1980 the hospice first opened its doors to give end of life care.

The hospice supports approximately 165,000 people in the Lewes, Uckfield, Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath areas both in the community and in the 8-bed unit at Wivelsfield Green. It costs £10,000 a day to run all their services – including counselling, welfare advice, spiritual support and complementary therapies. The Government provides !3% of the funding and the rest is raised by the hospice - £2.2 million from donations and £1.5 million by their retail division. The retail division includes 12 shops in the local area and an eBay team – who raise £20,000 per month. There are 150 paid staff, including doctors, nurses, and shop managers, as well as 440 volunteers. What an incredible organisation.

Now, the second half of our evening: every WI has its own flavour – some are very active, dashing off on trips and holidays, while others, like us, are more sedate. Some meet in the day, while others meet in the evening. And some are large, and others small, or some, like us are medium sized! What we all have in common is that we follow a set of rules that might, to the outsider, seem a little strange. However, they work. So, at the end of each year every WI holds an AGM where the members receive a report on what has happened over the year from the Secretary, the President does some “thank yous”, the Treasurer explains the account, a new committee is voted in, and from this committee a President is elected by secret ballot. And this is what we did with Tracy Atchison continuing as our President, Caty Worlock Pope (Secretary), Janet Bradshaw (Treasurer) and Susan Guckenheim continuing as committee members, and Heather Dewhurst and Carole Stone re-joining the committee after a break of a few years.

With this all done and dusted for the year, we are looking forward to our Christmas Party (with Pantomime) in December and an eclectic selection of speakers in 2023. If you would like to try us out, please do look at our pages at where you will find our contact information and much much more.


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