Surrey Vixens WI
"You can sit inside on a cold winters evening in your PJs or a summer evening from your garden"
This WI meets virtually.
Why did you want to set up a virtual WI? Where did the interest come from?
I knew Angie (Membership Chair of the Surrey Federation) from when I was on the Surrey Public Affairs team; she approached a few of us at the initial stage about setting it up.
As I was travelling with work a lot and unable to get back for meetings a virtual WI seemed like a great idea to start, as there were those in the same situation.
How did you spread the word about your WI?
We did WI internal advertising on the Unofficial WI Facebook page and WI Wanderers, on Facebook & Twitter/Instagram, as well as local advertising in Mums groups and Surrey Facebook groups.
Our social media Vice President was great at making our presence known on these platforms. We had a Facebook page and had subgroups running before we were official so people knew what to expect.
What are the three best things about your WI?
Our members are such a widespread bunch of ladies, all who bring something different to a meeting, they interact and come to subgroups and meetings and all the while in the comfort of their own home.
We have subgroups each week, also day and evening clubs. From cookery to campaigning there is something for all.
We are available for people who for one reason or another cannot take part in monthly out of home meetings, being virtual we can be there for them and they don’t have to leave their home.
Do you mind telling us the age of your oldest and youngest member?
23 and around 80.
How many members does your WI have?
65 - 41 full and 24 dual members.
When thinking about the future of your WI, what are you looking forward to the most?
Seeing how well it will work out of lockdown we are currently within the same boat as most WIs having to use zoom, but once they go back to face to face we will still continue on having speakers from all over the country because we can.
What are the best activities your WI has run?
We had a Super Saturday raising money for our Sunshine pot on 1st May, we held a morning scavenger hunt across the country. In the evening we settled down for a Bridgerton-esque Murder Mystery. Raising over £200 over both events it’s certainly something we can do again.
What advice would you give anyone who would like to set up a virtual WI?
Do it now. Try and get new members from outside, limit for the first year how many dual members you have so you can build funds for years to come.
What was/is the biggest challenge?
Getting non-WI members to join, we have maybe 10/15% of members that were never been in a WI before. It’s finding places to advertise to get more that’s hard.
What is the biggest advantage of meeting online?
You can sit inside on a cold winters evening in your PJs or a summer evening from your garden. You don’t have to leave your house or family if you don’t want to or can't for any reason.
What meeting platform do you use?