17 January 2022

Subscription Flexibility Guidance for WIs

(taken from My WI)


This initiative gives WIs the freedom to make an annual decision in the run up to the subscription renewal on whether to charge members the full amount of the WI portion (as set by the NFWI and National Council each year), to reduce the WI portion of the subscription, or to waive the WI portion completely. This decision should be determined annually based on your level of reserves and the money you plan to spend in the year ahead. Therefore, although you may be able to waive or reduce the portion for one year, you may decide the following year that it is necessary to request the full portion. This decision must be made whilst ensuring that your WI still has enough funds year on year to carry out its charitable objects and offer a meaningful WI experience. WIs need to ensure they are making the best decision for their WI, and although we advise WI committees to discuss this annually with members, the decision is ultimately down to the committee based on the above considerations.

Please note, this does not affect the NFWI and federation portions of the subscription, and the full NFWI and federation portions (also set by the NFWI and National Council each year) will still need to be paid annually, at the appointed time.

The subscription from April 2022 to March 2023 is £44, of which £12.10 (27.5%) goes to the NFWI, £10.30 (23.4%) to the federation, and £21.60 (49.1%) to the WI. This means the minimum amount to be collected from each member in April 2022 is £22.40 (NFWI+ federation) and WIs have flexibility over charging the remaining £21.60.

How does it work?

The payment system will be exactly the same as in previous years, with WIs still responsible for collecting the NFWI and federation share of the subscription at a local level and passing this on. The difference is that WIs can now choose whether to collect the full WI share, a reduced WI share, or waive the WI share completely.

Every year in the run up to the subscription renewal, these steps will need to be taken:

  1. Organise a committee meeting where the committee will go over the WI programme and budget for the coming year in order to present a decision to the members on what to do about the WI portion of the subscription. Use the questions in this guidance to determine the best decision for your WI. Ensure the decision is minuted.
  2. Consider new members and how your WI would cater for an increased membership. This is particularly important if your WI is waiving or reducing their portion, as this might attract new members (including new dual members) and your WI needs to be prepared (logistically and financially) for this.
  3. Present the decision to your members, giving the rationale and background to your decision as appropriate.
  4. Ensure that all members are aware of the decision in time for membership renewal in April, and that you promote this to prospective members when thinking about recruitment.
  5. Always remind your members that any decision made is only for the coming renewal. It is not a permanent decision, and the WI portion of the membership subscription will be reviewed every year.

Questions for WI committees to consider when determining what option to offer their members

The following questions are designed to help your committee decide whether there is room in your accounts to waive or reduce the WI portion, or if you should keep it the same. This process will need to be repeated annually to ensure your WI is making the best financial decision regarding whether to keep the full WI portion of the membership subscription in place or reduce it in any way.

  1. What is your WI’s budget for the coming year?Once you have planned your programme of events for the year, you’ll be able to identify how much money is needed for each event or activity. Even if you haven’t yet planned your entire programme, you should have an idea of the costs of different events and activities, and you should make allowance for this. You will also need to take into account any venue hire and other associated costs of running your meetings. There may be promotional activities your WI was planning on doing which need accounting for as well. Don’t forget to also budget for unforeseen costs, such as needing to change your planned activities at the last minute.WIs need to ensure that the WI programme is in keeping with the WI’s charitable objects and educating your members. The budget needs to be designed to provide educational aspects throughout the year, whether at the meetings or other events.
  2. Do you have enough funds currently to cover the costs for the coming year?Looking at the money currently in your WI’s account and your budget for the coming year, you may already have the right amount to cover your costs, or you may be relying on the WI subscriptions. The committee needs to determine whether you have enough funds to be able to waive or reduce the WI portion of the subscription, or if the whole portion is needed in order to pay all associated costs for the year.Due to unforeseen circumstances, your WI may have saved money in the past year because you have not been able to do all the events/activities/trips that were planned. Your WI may have been doing everything virtually for the past year which may have saved money as well. Your WI may consider continuing to do things virtually, or even have some of the clubs be virtual or the winter months have virtual meetings to save on costs.If your WI often relies on fundraising to cover some annual costs, this should not be taken for granted, as the amount you raise in fundraising will differ year on year.
  3. Does your WI have a reserves policy?Just because you have funds available in your WI account does not mean you can automatically waive or reduce the WI share, and you need to think carefully about your 5 level of reserves and the consequences of using reserves to cover WI subscription costs, even if just for one year. As Trustees of your WI your role is not only to support the current year but also to ensure you look ahead to the future and support the long-term future of your WI.Read more about reserves policies and how to use them here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/charities-and-reserves-cc19/charities-and-reserves
  4. How many members do you have and how many members are you sure will renew?Depending on the number of members you currently have, you may have enough money in your account for the next year without needing to collect the WI portion of the subscription. Of course you may not be sure if all the members will renew but it would be good to have a general idea of who may renew. This will help to estimate how much money could come in April and how much of that is needed to cover the planned programme and how much will go into reserves. Also think about whether your WI is planning on charging visitors fees this year and how that could help with the budget.You also need to consider new members, especially if you are planning to reduce or waive the WI share, and think about how your WI would be able to cater for a much increased membership.
  5. Thinking about the next 5 years, would it be better to keep it the same this year and waive the fee the year after that?

The decisions can be different year on year. Maybe this coming year is not the best time to have less money coming in from subscriptions, and instead waiving or reducing the fee could be something best placed in two years’ time. If your committee want to reinstate the full portion the year after, think about the effect this will have on the members and the impact it could have on the budget in two years’ time, for example.

NFWI resuming meeting guidance
12 January 2022 Version 16

Following updates to the Government Covid advice, NFWI has simplified and updated the resuming meeting guidance with immediate effect.

Full details of the Covid safety advice for England is available on gov.uk

Full details of the Covid safety advice for Wales is available on wales.gov

Very important: From Sunday 26 December 2021 the rules in Wales changed. The maximum number of people who can meet indoors is 30 and the maximum number of people who can meet outdoors is 50. Social distancing of 2 metres is required in offices and all public spaces.

From Monday 6 December 2021 in Wales and Tuesday 11 January 2022, in England, following up a positive lateral flow test with a PCR test is no longer necessary. Please self-isolate immediately if you receive a positive lateral flow test.

From Friday 10 December 2021, face coverings will be required by law in most indoor settings in England

‘Settings which are exempt from wearing a face-covering include:

  • Restaurants, cafés and canteens
  • Bars and shisha bars
  • Gyms & exercise facilities
  • Photography studios
  • Nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques

In indoor settings where a face covering is not legally required, you should still continue to wear a face-covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.’


  • Ensure any venue used by the WI is well ventilated (WI)
  • Ensure access to handwashing facilities and/or an adequate number of hand sanitisers. (WI)
  • Ensure Covid guidance is clear and accessible to all members (WI)
  • Wash/sanitise their hands and cover coughs and sneezes.(Members)
  • Stay at home if you have any symptoms. This includes members, visitors and speakers. (Members)
  • Take a lateral flow test (LFT) before attending a WI event. This is for people who are symptomless.   (Members)
  • Self-isolate if you receive a positive LFT (Members)
  • If you have or develop symptoms get a PCR  test and self-isolate. (Members)
  • Inform your WI Committee if you attended a WI meeting/activity and have tested positive for Covid in the last 10 days.(Members)
  • Self-isolate if told to do so by NHS Test and Trace or NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect. (Members)
  • Wear a face covering in indoor public spaces unless exempt. If you are exempt please inform your WI Committee before attending a WI meeting or activity. (Members). Members do not need to reveal the nature of their exemption, they just need to update that they are exempt. If a member or visitor arrives at a meeting without a face covering please do remind them to wear one. Be aware that members and visitors who update their face covering exemption at a meeting also do not need to give details of what makes them exempt. NB. Face coverings remain mandatory in Wales and have been reintroduced as mandatory in most indoor settings in England from 10 December 2021.
  • If a WI is holding or attending an activity where there is no physical exercise, photography, or eating/drinking face masks need to be worn throughout. (Members)
  • If a WI is taking part in an exempt activity such as physical exercise, photography, or where eating/drinking is taking place e.g. Christmas party then members need to arrive wearing face masks and remove them safely (use hand sanitiser first) for the activity e.g. before exercising, having their portrait taken or when sat down to eat.
  • Please think about safe distances when face coverings are removed.
  • Face coverings need to be worn again once the exempt activity is finished. (Members)
  • WIs in Wales planning activities in public spaces such as a pub/café can only meet in groups of six. For example, a WI with 18 members could book three tables for six and a WI with 20 members could book four tables of five.


  • Whilst no longer mandatory it is recommended WIs continue to keep a register of all attendees at WI meetings and activities for NHS Test and Trace and NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect. (WI)
  • Whilst social distancing is no longer mandatory you may choose to limit the close contact you have with people you do not usually live with. The Welsh safety guide specifies social distancing of 2 metres. (Members)
  • Government advice is that it is recommended to be double vaccinated (and any booster vaccinations) to increase individual safety and help keep others safe. (Members)

Key points for WIs relating vaccination status:

  • Please remember that vaccines are not mandatory and some people cannot have vaccines for health reasons. Accepting a vaccination remains a personal and individual choice and not a matter that the WI should be involved with.
  • Members do not have to prove they have been vaccinated or have had a recent negative test to gain entrance to a WI meeting or activity and WIs are not entitled to request this information.
  • Use of the NHS Covid passports is not mandatory. In both England and Wales adopting them is voluntary for individual organisations. NFWI is not asking WIs to adopt the NHS Covid passport. Please check with any venues you hire if they have any Covid passport rules in place. For your information, they are encouraged for large scale events such as:
    • Indoor non-seated events of more than 500 people, where people are mixing closely for prolonged periods.
    • Outdoor non-seated events of over 4,000, where people will be mixing closely for prolonged periods.
    • Any event, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance.
    • From 15 November the Covid pass is needed for cinemas, theatres and nightclubs in Wales.
    • From 15 December, in England, you’ll need to show your NHS COVID Pass at nightclubs, some venues and large events to show you’re fully vaccinated, have had a negative test result in the last 48 hours, or you have an exemption.

There is more information on the NHS Covid pass on gov.uk and wales.uk.

This includes information on how to get an NHS Covid pass in England and how to get a Covid pass in Wales.

Please note WIs should still be thinking about safety planning for all events. This includes safety with regards to Covid and general safety to reduce risk of harm. Government guidance on gatherings is continually monitored and updated to reflect the changing situation and so we would encourage you to stay in touch with changes.

Once a recurring event has been risk assessed the safety measures identified need to be in place for each following event (and regularly reviewed and updated as necessary). The same event does not need another full risk assessment unless something has changed or a significant length of time has passed since the last event of its type was held but your Committee or Board must always be confident that the document reflects the latest guidance and information.

This means that for monthly WI meetings one risk assessment for the first meeting back is sufficient. The Committee then just need to consider if any changes have happened since the last monthly meeting that would prompt a fresh risk assessment.

Please see the NFWI Health and Safety Guidance which includes a risk assessment form.

Lastly, may we extend a huge thank you to all our WIs and federations for continuing to adapt and adjust to evolving circumstances in the wake of Covid.