Women’s group ‘life-saver’ during lockdown

PUBLISHED: 08:00 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 17:34 12 June 2020

Photo: Elsenham Women's Institute.

Photo: Elsenham Women's Institute.

Elsenham Women's Institute

A group in Elsenham has been helping its members ease loneliness, make birthdays special and even go through Covid-19 symptoms throughout the lockdown.

Photo: Elsenham Women's Institute.Photo: Elsenham Women's Institute.

Elsenham Women’s Institute, which has women of all ages as members, has been having regular online meetups over the past few months.

Group’s vice president Gloria Eatson said: “Chatting with our WI and natter night ladies, just having that contact, a laugh, just keeps you going. For those ladies who are on their own, it has been a life saver.”

One member, Jackie Rayment, has signed up for a village volunteering scheme providing help throughout the health crisis. Despite having only moved to Elsenham recently, she felt very well supported throughout her Covid-19 battle.

Jackie says R4U district councillor Petrina Lees, together with the team of volunteers have “all risen up to support her” for six weeks.

Photo: Elsenham Women's Institute.Photo: Elsenham Women's Institute.

“It was a huge morale boost as my family are very distant and I live alone. To know there was someone there in a time of need was enormously important,” Jackie said.

The lockdown did not stop Elsenham WI’s tradition to offer flowers at the group’s monthly meeting to members celebrating their birthdays.

A spokesperson for the group said: “Although the physical monthly meetings were cancelled, this tradition has continued, with committee members purchasing plants and flowers from local businesses, as they always do, and delivering them to members’ doorsteps.

“This was particularly appreciated by members who were not able to celebrate their birthdays as usual, but they were still made to feel special by their WI.”

R4U Councillor Petrina Lees, deputy leader at Uttlesford District Council. Photo: R4U.R4U Councillor Petrina Lees, deputy leader at Uttlesford District Council. Photo: R4U.

Another member, Sam Briggs, who was forced to close her business, said: “For me, having daily Facebook posts has been fabulous, and having made some lovely friends at the WI, I’ve spent many evenings with wine in hand, chatting for hours, literally hours, with some of them.

“We even let the men join in occasionally.”

Elsenham WI has an increasing number of activities, many of which continue virtually at the moment. The group is always keen to welcome guests and new members. For more information, email elsenhamwi@gmail.com or search for Elsenham WI on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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