The Women’s Institute: tender, tough and occasionally terrifying…
For excitement join the marines – For community and good companionship join the WI
Is the WI all Jam and Jerusalem?
Jam? Yes, we do celebrate home skills and have a marmalade competition and we do sell jams, pickles cakes and pies when the opportunity arises at village fundraising events.
Jerusalem? You are more likely to hear a talk from one of our speakers on travels in Israel than hear us singing Jerusalem.
So what else do we do?
Monthly meetings with a speaker, lunches, walks, days out, learning new skills, participating in Warwickshire WI Federation and fundraising.
Who are we?
We are a thriving WI and usually have 35 or more members at each meeting. We have members from all walks of life, and from their 40s to their 80s, but all young at heart. We are keen to attract new members and have recently welcomed more younger members. We genuinely enjoy each other’s company; even washing up the coffee cups turns into a time to chat to friends. As neighbours and part of a small community, with the inevitable lack of facilities like transport to hospital or local shops, we try to help each other out when the going gets tough.
Why not come along and find out more?
Guests are welcome at our monthly meetings where you can find out more. See the Programme and Contacts page for more details.
New members have said that they would be interested in an information sheet
about the WI – this is ours:
- The Women’s Institute is a national organisation which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2015. It is a charity registered with the Charities’ Commission, known as The National Federation of Women’s Institutes or NFWI. There are nearly ¼ million members. It is the largest group for women in the UK. WIs only exist in England and Wales in the UK. The national motto is “Inspiring Women” and our song is “Jerusalem” by Hubert Parry. Some WIs sing this at each meeting; we sing it at special ones, e.g. our AGM.
- NFWI owns its own college, Denman, in Oxfordshire. Denman offers courses in a wide variety of subjects.
- WIs are non-denominational and non-political. They are an organisation whose opinion is sought by government. The only criteria for membership is that one is a woman.
- The first WI was in Stoney Creek, Canada. It was formed to link up women in remote rural communities and to educate them in nutrition and hygiene as well as provide a social life. The first one in UK was in Wales at Llanfairpwlgwnngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (known as LlanfairPG!). In LlanfairPG there is a museum dedicated to the WI.
- WIs are organised in Federations each Federation being a county e.g. Warwickshire, or an island e.g. The Isle of Man. Warwickshire Federation, of which we are a part, is known as WFWI, their office is on the outskirts of Warwick at Corunna House.
- The NFWI is affiliated to a group called The Associated Country Women of the World or ACWW. This organisation supports rural women in developing countries. The ACWW is currently supporting a project in Cameroon to provide clean water for an orphanage in a village called Muyuka. It is the only orphanage for miles around not to have a clean water well.
- Once largely a rural organisation the WI is now spreading into towns and cities. Any group of women can apply to the local Federation for help in forming a WI. Some communities have more than one WI, one may be a daytime one and the other an evening group. If there’s room for two that’s fine, some people are members of more than one WI, this is known as joint membership and their subscription is modified to acknowledge this.
- WIs are run by a committee chosen from membership. There is a President, a Secretary and a Treasurer with a group of committee members.
- Membership entitles members to 11 free meetings per year. Many other optional events such as outings, coffee mornings, lunches, educational taster days may be organised by NFWI, WFWI or our own group. These usually cost extra and costs vary depending on what they are.
- Each monthly meeting consists of business, social time with refreshments and a speaker or activity.
- There is a magazine called WI Life which comes out 10 times a year to all paid up members, it is posted. In Warwickshire we have a newssheet 10 times a year called Corunna News. Kingswood and Lapworth WI produce their own newssheet called Kaleidoscope. Corunna News and Kaleidoscope are delivered by a team of members or, by post – please supply SAEs.
- Each WI is a member of a small group usually comprising 4 – 7 WIs which are usually geographically fairly close to each other. Each group has a leader, currently ours is Julia Baker, a member of Kingswood and Lapworth WI, who is responsible for organising or causing to be organised, various activities during the year which each WI in that group can join in with. Our group, called the Grand Union Group, includes Kingswood and Lapworth, Claverdon, Rowington and Chase Meadow – a new Warwick WI. There is usually a small charge for these events to cover hall hire, refreshments, speaker etc.
- Kingswood and Lapworth WI gets involved with village activities such as the annual Cricket Club Fun Day. We planted an area of bulbs for the enjoyment of the public on the corner of Brome Hall Lane in 2015 to celebrate the WI centenary.
- We encourage members to make suggestions and to help to run different activities. We have a superb tradition for fund raising and usually have at least one good cause for the year for which we raise money or collect items. e.g. In 2015 we helped raise money to buy a minibus for a local day centre for adults with learning difficulties, we raised funds to pay for taster days to try out different craft activities and for a bursary to enable one person to go to Denman, the WI college.
- If anyone would like to read more we have a book about WI which can be loaned out. Please contact Caroline Shufflebotham, President of Kingswood and Lapworth WI, email:firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to read it.