When I was searching for articles on why to join the Women’s Institute I couldn’t find any that said what I would say. But I did find a Mumsnet thread that used the reasons below as a barrier to joining, so…
If you’re not a member of the WI then this is for you.
For the young women who think it’s about sitting and listening to talks about Jam. Or any women who might think it’s a bit posh, or you need to be an expert cake maker.
Let me shatter those illusions and introduce the Women’s Institute of today.
Fun and friendship
We have a wide age range throughout the Cheshire Federation, and it will be the same where you are too. From women in their late 20’s through to 80+. Working women, retired women, women with young children, women with disability, single women, women with empty nests and more. Sitting alongside each other where age and status is not a barrier to friendship, sharing life experiences both ways. Putting the world to rights over a cup of tea and sometimes shop bought cake.
I’ve made some very good friends through WI. Women that live 5 minutes away but we’ve never met before. Just think, your next best friend could be a few streets away and you don’t know.
From the expert speakers who come to give talks, to fun activities and crafts, we learn together. At every meeting our aim is to all leave having learnt something, usually we will have gained new information or tried a skill. We’ve had fabulous authors, amazing organisations, experts and dedicated volunteers all with interesting experiences and stories to share. Sometimes some of us dress for the occasion too, this was our 1940’s themed meeting featuring Adele Siddle Ward who brought a selection of her authentic vintage 40’s memorabilia.
Helping change the world
The Women’s Institute resolutions are game changers. We all have a vote on what we want to take on as a whole. Resolutions and campaigns help raise awareness, wether it’s using green hearts to lobby MP’s to end climate change, or working towards ending food waste and addressing food poverty. Nearly 220,000 Members and 6,300 WI’s are a lot of voices working together.
Discovering new activities
From Indoor bowls to Tai Chi, Scottish dancing to candle making, we all get to offer suggestions for activities so you can get to share your favourite hobbies with your WI community. Our Tai Chi taster resulted in the instructor starting a new class for all our ladies that found the session so rewarding and enjoyable they wanted to attend regularly.
Working with your community
Being involved in the local community is important. It could be a stall at a fete or a stand at an information event, or working alongside a community group that need extra pairs of hands, like our Old Town Bloomers community garden. Our garden loving members, some who no longer have their own garden, help tend the town centre community garden. We now have a dedicated WI section of the garden too.
Spin off groups from our WI are varied. Groups evolve from what members want, someone to go to the cinema with or for a walk. Wether it’s Book Group, Lunch Club, Coffee Morning, Cinema Club, Walking Group, days out or Craft Club. It’s all been started by a suggestion from a member. Our social media and active Facebook page is a place to chat, share ideas and to suggest trips and see who’d like to come along.
100 years on the WI has adapted with the times to still provide something for all women, …. and if we don’t do it already put it in the suggestion book.
Have you thought about joining? You can find your local WI here and can attend as a visitor before you join.