The speaker at our January meeting was Steve Hodson the Governor of Erlestoke prison who gave us an insight into the work of the prison and the lives of the inmates. Steve has been the Governor of this category C prison, housing 524 men since, 2014 and is clearly passionate about his role and that of the prison service. Erlestoke is a national centre with an offender behaviour system that addresses the needs of prisoners to lessen their risks of reoffending. There are courses tackling issues such as: domestic violence, relationships, alcohol abuse and a 12 step drug recovery programme. This last is particularly significant as up to half the inmates have a drug addiction problem. There are also courses in maths and literacy; many of the prisoners have low levels of these basic skills that are so vital to living and working outside of prison. Steve is also keen to foster links with the local community; “Friends of Erlestoke prison” provides an important service to friends and families of the prisoners in helping with transport and childcare to facilitate visiting. The Farm shop at the prison will reopen in the spring and should be well worth a visit. There were more questions for Steve than time allowed but we touched upon areas such as the effects of public spending cuts, staff recruitment and retention and bringing in private companies to run prisons. Vera Tottingham gave a vote of thanks that was warmly endorsed by members.
Helen advised members of future Federation events including an opportunity to attend a talk by Black Rod on March 11th.
Jacky Hiscock gave us an update on our skittles team, not doing too badly, and dates for future matches.
The February meeting was our AGM. We heard reports on the past year from the Secretary and President. 2015 was the Centenary of the W.I. in England and was certainly a busy one for us with members attending a variety of events at National, Federation and local levels; from Buckingham Palace to Edington Parish Hall! In addition to our own partying and commemoration we were pleased to mark the event among the wider community with a display, highlighting some of our key campaigns, in the Hall and at the Fair and with a very successful fund raising coffee morning in aid of Julia’s House Hospice; the latter with the Under 5s.
The Treasurer Sarah Killian presented the Financial Statement and this was approved by members.
A new committee was elected and members voted for Meg McGlynn to become the new President. The outgoing committee and President were thanked for their work over the past year.
At our next meeting on March 8th there will be a talk and demonstration of jewellery making by Catronel Matthews; visitors very welcome at this and all of our meetings.
March 11th sees our Fashion Show with students from Kingdown School Warminster. Friday 19.30 Jubilee Hall Bratton. Entrance by ticket only £5 to include wine and cheese.