What an exciting time to take on the role of Fraser Group President with new Branches formed and a growing membership of enthusiastic women with a wide range of interests.

 “The work of the Association is the work of the members and branches in their community”.  In other words, the members are the most valuable resource and my role is to support the work of the members.

Craft was the initial reason that I joined CWA about 9 years ago, and then I found all the other wonderful things on offer.  I joined the proof reading team and the Magazine Committee which then led onto terms on the Strategic Planning Committee, WEB Committee, Membership and now the Communications Committee.    I have been a tour guide for the Umina House and Garden on Melbourne Open House Days, worked at Government House on Australia Day, organised the ‘Yarn Event’ in 2015, spent a week in 2016 at the Royal Melbourne Show teaching children how to knit and crochet, worked on the Membership stand for the Stitches and Craft Show and the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show where I will be again this year on Friday 31 March.

Yes, there are many opportunities to get involved, at whatever level that suits you.

Alida Helleren,
Fraser Group President

Each year, the CWA sets the year with purpose.  This year:
Theme for 2018: Celebrating 90 years of diviserty
Product/Resource: Lamb and wool
Country of Study: Peru
Thanksgiving Fund: National Centre for Farmer Health
State Project: UMINA B & B
Social Issues Focus: Elder Abuse
State  Exhibition 2018: Leongatha, 3rd & 4th August


- Stewards Training Day at Umina, Sat 23rd June and also for upcoming dates - Judges Training in either Handcrafts or Home Industries or both contact -

More events as they come in.

Presidents Report for Fraser Group 60th Annual General Meeting
Theme Community Connectedness

It’s very hard to believe it has been a whole year since I took on the position of Group President it has just flown by with so much happening in the Branches, at the Group and the State level.

A year I describe as a really interesting journey for me of personal growth and increased confidence.  I really doubted myself at the beginning.  Then I started meeting all the members by visiting the Branches, holding the cocktail party for all Branch Executives, attending the May State Conference with the Fraser delegates and going to various Branch events.  I’ve had the privilege of meeting lots of good people and I hope I’m forgiven if I still struggle to remember everyone’s names.

I’ve been blown away by the enthusiasm and energy of all the new members and the sage advice and support of long standing members. It is so impressive to be part of all the volunteering, fund raising and social gatherings made possible by all the hard work of CWA Fraser Group members.  I have also been really lucky to gather a good support team around me and I thank Vera, Glenda, Lilian and Jenny for all the work they do for the Group and the members.

I truly feel part of a great community now and I hope that other members feel the same way.  This was one of the reasons that I joined CWA as when I left work I had no connection to the local community in which I had lived for over 30 years.  Now when I’m down the street, on a tram, in the library, local supermarket or out for a walk I run into people that I have met in CWA or through things I have been doing with CWA.

This is what CWA is all about providing opportunities for connecting women in CWA and connecting CWA with the Community.

The Group achievements over the year include:

- Visiting all the Branch meetings and some more than once.  Also attended Branch Functions including - Ashburton Branch 1st Birthday Party and a talk by Viviane Chemali, Chairperson of Social Issues on Homelessness, a speaker from Servants for Community Housing and Boroondara Christmas dinner in July, and Port Phillip Branch Danish Lunch to name a few.

- It was Fraser Group’s turn to do the display in the Craft Cabinet in the foyer at Umina B&B.  We had a wide variety of high quality craft generously loaned from members for the 5 months duration of the display. Crafts on display included lace, patchwork, jewellery, crochet, knitting, paintings, embroidery, handmade cards, books and other rubber stamped paper crafts.  Thanks to Mary Weatherhead who helped arrange the display.  There really is no excuse for us not to participate in the Diamond Valley Craft Exhibition in May and later the State Exhibition.

I attended training sessions run by the Boroondara and Whitehorse Councils – one on encouraging diversity in organisations, one on Standards for Volunteers and one on developing a pitch to attract Skilled Volunteers to assist or join community organisations, we all had to prepare a ‘30 second sound bite’.

- One highlight for the year was being part of the Boroondara Council, Skilled Volunteer Event where I got to speak about CWA Fraser Group for a ‘30 second pitch’ in front of the Lord Mayor, official guests, speakers and approx. 60 representatives of local Community groups.  A number of contacts were made and business cards exchanged.

- CWA Fraser Group donation of $2,000 to Servants for Community Housing and Fraser contact info appeared in the Leader newspaper as part of a larger article on Servants for Community Housing and the new women’s only homeless accommodation which is due to be opened this year.  Progress Leader 12 Dec 2017.
The donation has been delivered to Amanda O’Donohoe at Servants.

- Continuous flow of new member enquiries especially after a CWA promotional event and having the Fraser Group Blog has been a really helpful tool in replying to enquiries by being a central place with up-to-date information on all the Branches with names and contact details and a schedule of up-coming activities and some with photos about successful events.

- organised a training event with Museums Australia, Victorian Collections project.  Training was held for 30 CWA members on 2 different days to learn how to photograph and record CWA objects of significance onto the online Museum called Victorian Collections.

- In place of the usual stall at the Christmas Fare this year we tried something a bit different.  Some of the beautiful hand made goods that were donated for sale by members were sold through a handcrafts shop in Camberwell.  We were able to charge a lot more at this location than at a market stall and all the Christmas specific ones sold and a lot of the other handcrafts.  (more on this later in the General Meeting)

The future year ahead is full of challenges and I think the talk that I gave on change at the August meeting will apply more and more as CWA navigates its way through a period of changes in its constitution and its structure.  When I started the year as president, Fraser Group had the newest Branch in the State and the oldest Branch in CWA with Yarra turning 90 this year.  There will be lots of social gatherings and celebrations this year with Fraser turning 60, and CWA and Yarra turning 90.

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