President’s Message May 2020

Dear Ladies,

We are living in very challenging times, many of us under lockdown and keeping personal distancing to ensure we do not either pick up Covid-19 or pass it on. These imposed limitations are having a very positive effect so that everyone should already feel that we are making a contribution to saving lives and reducing the strain on the National Health Service (NHS).

Founded on 5th July 1948 the NHS stemmed from the Minority Report of the Royal Commission of the Poor Law 1909. Heading up that report was an intrepid individual, Beatrice Webb, an English sociologist, economist, labour historian and social reformer. Webb was also a founding member of the Fabian Society. Her amazing work calls to mind two other great ladies who did so much for the socially neglected, Lady Astor (the first female to take her seat in Parliament) and Lady Clementine Churchill both Americans who married into the English Aristocracy.

Apart from grim effects Covid-19 is having, there is another side to its progression with a noticeable impact on lowering carbon emissions. We are approaching a reduction of 5%, in CO2 which would represent the biggest drop in demand for industry on record and CO2 from fossil fuels could fall 2.5bn tonnes in 2020.

Our FIWAL WhatsApp Forum for the Exec committee has taken off with a flurry of exchanges, including pictures, general advice, recipes, birdsong, and information on opera, theatre and film on various streaming services. It helps to keep us connected and supportive and most valuable at this time, to share humour.

We now have our formal Exec meetings on Zoom so that it’s business as usual. In fact, we have decided to continue to hold our events in this way. The good news is that our first @HOME with FIWAL will be held on May 5th. You will see the poster in Dateline and on our events page. It is a very different day from the one we were planning as our Biennial Conference 2020 was scheduled to take place. However, I am delighted to announce that one of our speakers, Katie Caldesi has agreed to step forward and talk about eating well at home. Katie and her husband Giancarlo own and run the Caldesi restaurants and have co-authored at least 12 books. Katie is the principal of their cookery school, La Cucina Caldesi. We are in for a treat!

I hope that as many of you as possible will join us and Katie on Zoom. The talk will be free to members and friends and in the spirit of supporting those women trapped in domestic violence (which has risen alarmingly) I would ask you to make a donation to our chosen charity Solace Women’s Aid:

Instructions for joining Zoom and on making your donation have been sent to FIWAL club representatives on Dateline.

Congratulations to the clubs that have been enterprising and already launched online events. The world around us is changing and we need to be prepared to adapt to a virtual community and share our events so that we can connect with as many people as possible and keep the spirit of FIWAL progressive and inclusive.

Whilst we have to fight adversity and face demanding circumstances, keep in the mind the following quote: ‘What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies within you’, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I wish you all a safe and healthy journey through this demanding time.

Warm Regards,

Siobhan Hamilton-Phillips
President FIWAL

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