The Women's Institute (WI) was formed in Britain in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in food production during the First World War. Since then the organisation's aims have broadened and the WI is now the largest voluntary organisation in the UK. The WI celebrated its centenary in 2015 and now has over 220,0000 members and over 6,300 WIs.
The WI plays a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.
For more information about the National Federation of WIs, NFWI, click on the link.
As a member of the WI you can access a private members area on the website, please follow the instructions from the homepage for the login instructions.
Our Federation is Hampshire, one of largest Federations in the country. The staff working for the Federation are based at WI House in Eastleigh. The Federation has a number of sub-committees made up of volunteer (unpaid) members working under the direction of the Hampshire Federation Board of Trusteees, again, all these are volunteers. The sub committees are, Membership (made up of a team of Advisers who work with groups of WIs across the county to help set up new WIs, advise and assist existing WIs etc), Trading Post (sourcing and selling merchandise), Leisure Activities (organising trips and events for members to take part in, enabling members from around the county to meet together), Creative Arts (organising craft-based competitions and activities). Surplus funds raised by the sub Committees go into the funds for the Federation. The Federation produces a monthly news magazine which we purchase for our members which gives you access to information about the events and activities.
Many of you will have heard that the WI’s own college, Denman, has been experiencing financial difficulties for some time. NFWI recently announced with great sadness a proposal to close Denman permanently. Please note the closure is currently only proposed, as NFWI have formally entered a consultation period with all Denman staff facing redundancy. The consultation period is an opportunity for staff to make representations on the proposal; therefore no decision can be made until the consultation period has ended.
For a number of years, Denman has been operating without unrestricted reserves and operating a cash-flow model reliant on future bookings. This has always made Denman vulnerable to any economic changes and particularly so during this period of complete lockdown.
But the good news is that whilst the period of consultation continues, the Denman at Home series of talks, demonstrations and cook-alongs has been very popular with members and non-members alike. For a small fee you can join in via Zoom to some wonderful sessions from Yoga to Meringues, Albertopolis to Landgirl Dolls. Denman are constantly adding new sessions.
Full details are on the Denman website, please follow the link below for full details, you won’t be disappointed.