Thursday, 31 March 2011

Care Not Custody

The WI Care Not Custody Campaign reception was held this week ; you might have seen mention of it in the press and online. It was hugely gratifying to welcome so many eminent people from such a wide variety of mental health and penal services, not least the Prison Reform Trust; the organisation that has worked so closely with the WI throughout the campaign. The Lord Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke MP, and the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley MP, addressed the gathering with encouraging words, stating that the care of those with mental health problems is now a priority area in order to prevent the possibility of them committing a crime. Money is to be made available, and health and custody services will work closely together for the benefit of any given individual within the system.

In the extremely diverse world that is the WI, Ladies Day at Cheltenham for Gloucestershire Federation members was a highlight I heard about when I was a guest at their annual council meeting in Cheltenham. I always enjoy federation council meetings because it gives me an opportunity to meet members. It was also a chance to explain just how important the WI is, and the level of respect the WI enjoys by decision makers and the many organisations who wish to work with us. WI business has to be done too, so I have attended several internal meetings as well as a trip to Denman College for its committee meeting. Certainly every day is different with the WI.