Whitley WI May Meeting

At our May meeting Janet Patterson, one of our members, gave us a fascinating talk about her 24 years volunteering for the Save the Children charity. Her work started when she was a member of Greysouthen WI in the Lake District. Some of the WI members there volunteered at the Save the Children shop in Cockermouth and this prompted her to give it a go as well.

The Save the Children charity was started in 1919 by Eglantyne Jebb and her sister Dorothy Buxton as a one off response to the starving children in Austria and Germany after the First World War. Next it raised money for the famine in Russia and from there continued to raise money until the present day.

When Janet moved to Warrington in 1997, she started volunteering at the Stockton Heath shop and was later persuaded to take on the post of Manager in 2009.

During her career she has been part of many the charity’s initiatives such as teaming up with IKEA. At one time if five books were donated by IKEA customers for Save the Children they would get a £5 IKEA gift voucher to spend at IKEA.  As part of the Retail Advisory Group, which was set up to find the best ways of maximising profits from donations, she would make trips HQ in London. She also met Princess Anne the charity’s patron when the Princess visited the Stockton Heath shop.

Janet was also able to visit Mozambique to see how the charities money is being spent. This included setting up a mini 2 bed maternity ward in a hospital, building preschools and training and their teachers, training the equivalent of Health visitors for communities, setting up community loan schemes and setting up large shared crops so there will be some left over to sell. An amazing experience.

In 2013 she received a well deserved “Outstanding Volunteer Award”. The citation says “for making a major contribution to fundraising at Save the Children and going above and beyond”. Well done Janet!

Fortunately, the Save the Children shop in Stockton Heath has now reopened after being closed during the last Covid lockdown. Janet now welcomes donations and is always looking for new volunteers.

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