As with other organisations, and the population as a whole, NCW members and branches find themselves having to adapt to very different and very restrictive circumstances. My first wish is that you all stay safe, along with the people you love, and that you are managing to maintain contact with those family members, friends and colleagues you are presently physically separated from. For those members who have contracted the coronavirus, I wish you a speedy recovery. For those who have lost their jobs or other source of income, I hope there is financial provision accessible to you, if not immediately then in the near future. 

I am sure, knowing NCW, NCYW and Network 18+ members, that you are keen to contribute in every way possible.  I know you will be contacting people and offering help where it is needed. Thanks to modern technology, our Management Committee members have been able to stay in touch with one another and the business of NCW goes on, though by different means. I look forward to hearing your individual stories and to knowing how you are coping, and even (unlikely as it seems) to learning what this unprecedented situation has brought to you in the way of encouragement and development. 

Sadly, in this our 125th anniversary year, we have had to cancel planned events, including an NCYW meeting on April 7 in Nottingham,  our celebratory lunch, also in Nottingham, on June 10 and, finally, our 2020 conference in Leamington Spa on October 9-11.  Hopefully we will be able to reschedule these events, or to find substitutes, and these will be announced in due course. In the meantime, we wait to find out how long travel and get-togethers will be forbidden or at the very least restricted. We will post news about meetings as soon as things become clearer. 

In the meantime I am sure you will join me in saluting our NHS staff, carers, food providers and essential workers who are in the front line of the battle against the virus, and who are saving lives and maintaining the basics of life on a daily basis. 

With very best wishes, 

Elsie Leadley 

President, National Council of Women GB