A good number of members came to listen and discuss this year`s resolution about the decline of our high streets and town centres.
"The NFWI notes with concern the continuing decline of our high streets and the damaging effect it has on local communities." We call on every member of the WI to support local shops and make the high street the destination of choice for goods and services. We call on decision makers to work collectively, at all levels to help bring an end to the decline of our high streets and to ensure the high streets flourish and provide a focal point for local communities.
Changes in shopping patterns the slowdown in consumer spending, banks reluctance to give loans and increasingly high rental and business rates are making it difficult for many high street businesses to stay afloat. Amongst some big high street names to close down have been HMV, Jessops and Comet. Supermarkets are largely responsible for taking trade out of town centres and the internet attracts large numbers of shoppers.
Various suggestions came from our members such as a day of action targeting shoppers in out of town retail areas. Someone suggested taking over empty retail outlets and converting them to living accommodation. We felt that Stratford is a tourist centre so perhaps doesn`t have the same problems as Leamington for instance. We dicussed the Mary Portas Review and the resultant Government `s £10 million High Street Innovation fund and a £1million Future High Street X-fund. What can the WI do? Members could share any initiatives in their own communities, take positive,practical action and bring pressure to bear on local and national government.
Our WI voted in favour of the resolution which will now go forward to be discussed at the National AGM in Cardiff in June the outcome of which we will note with interest. We also voted in favour of the new wording to the WI Constitution which are "housekeeping" changes taking in to account technology and other changes of the 21st Century.
The busness part of the evening ended we enjoyed taking part in a quiz devised by Pauline Brace. This was won by the team led by our President Judith Walker.

Next month`s speaker is Alan Wolstoncroft who will tell us about GAGA(Goodwill and Growth in Africa.) Wednesday 12th June 7.30