Why I WI!

July 16, 2015 No Comments

You may, if you’ve ever read my twitter profile or blog bio, know that I am in the WI. I’m a member, and the president of, Hallam Roses WI here in Sheffield, and as it’s the WI’s centenary year I wanted to take the time to write about why I am a member of the WI, and what it means to me. I get asked so many questions about being a member of the WI, I thought the best way would be to start with those, but if you’d like to know anything shout up…….

How did I get into the WI?
I went along to a lot of WI meetings when I lived in Leeds because it seemed like a fun thing to do. I was starting to get more and more into making things but the people in my friendship groups thought it was nerdy, so I looked for something else that would satisfy my crafting needs and Buns and Roses WI popped up. I mainly attended the crafty meetings they ran that didn’t require you to be a member as they were full, but it sowed the seed for me to love the WI.
When I moved to Sheffield it was one of the things that I was really adamant about doing again. I figured the WI would be a great way to meet people in a city I had just moved to. I joined a big established group in the city and then, when some ladies I knew from a book club told me they were setting a new group up, I jumped at the chance of getting involved with it from the start. So now I’m a member of Hallam Roses WI.

Isn’t it just for old ladies?
That depends what you think of as old – I’m getting a bit past it now you see 😉 But some of the ‘older’ ladies I have met through the WI with are pretty amazing. They are some of the most spirited and passionate people I’ve had the joy of interacting with. And I certainly wouldn’t like to get on their bad side.
But we’re one of the younger WI’s in Sheffield and our group has members aged early 20’s upwards (I wouldn’t like to speculate the top end!).

Is it all Jam and Jerusalem? 

Not at all. Being on the committee we try and make sure we get a wide range of events happening for our members. We try to have a mix of speaker events and hands on events but it seems the hands on, learn something events are the ones that people like the best. We’ve had sessions on foraging, bee keeping, scrapbooking, homebrewing, flower decorating, we’ve had chats from charities helping women who’ve been trafficked, we’ve had gin tasting sessions, and much more but we’ve not yet made jam (mostly because we don’t have a kitchen) and we don’t sing Jerusalem (would you think less of me if I said I didn’t know the words).

What’s the best thing about being a member of the WI? 

This is where I get all girl power I’m afraid. There are so many good things about being a member of the WI for me. Yes, it’s a long standing institution with a history of helping shape and change the country. Yes, it’s stood up for women’s rights for the last 100 years. Yes, I got to help work a stall at Glastonbury. And Yes, It’s a great excuse to have a mid-week cider on meeting nights……

But for me, the best thing about being a member of the WI is that I am surrounded by so many amazing, creative, supportive women on a monthly basis. I’ve met some wonderful friends and learnt so much not only from the sessions, but also from the other members. Yes, running a group takes up a lot of time that many of us don’t have but I’m 100% sure that what I get back is worth more than my time (god, I sound like I am trying to induct you into the fold. Sorry about that – maybe I am.)

If joining a WI is something that you’ve thought about then I’d highly recommend finding your nearest group and going along to see what it’s all about. Most WI’s have guest membership so you can see what you think before joining up – and there is a list of all the WI’s in the country here.  

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