"We are not just little old ladies who knit. We are a diverse group of women who get involved in national issues."
When was your WI formed? Our WI was formed in 2012.
How did you spread the word about your WI?
Our Website, Facebook, Instagram, community notice boards, business cards, our programme, word of mouth and we have had some publicity in WI Life ( via an article on Show the Love campaign last year), also any publicly attended events e.g. Christmas Fayre.
At our meetings we…
Ensure everyone is welcomed, included and feels able to contribute.
What are the three best things about your WI?
- The variety of speakers, subgroups and events
- The opportunity to make new friends
- The tenacious committee who keep things going! (especially during lockdown)
What do you and your members enjoy and value the most?
Socialising, learning new skills/interests and getting involved with local community climate action campaigns
The WI is…
Constantly evolving and open to change!
If you had to describe the members of your WI in one word, it would be:
One of the NFWI’s vision statements is “Bold and Inspiring”. Can you think of a situation when your WI and/or its members stroke you as particularly bold? A situation where your members smashed a stereotype?
In 2018, Members of Birchgrove W.I. produced a short film called Cake! with Iris Outreach, a community branch of the Iris Prize Festival that celebrates LGBT films. The aim was to emphasise the group’s work with social inclusion, diversity and community rather than just stereotypes about baking. The film tagline was: It’s time for tea and the ladies of Birchgrove WI are baking a cake… The basic concept is that diversity makes the group stronger, that we’re all different but when we work together we can achieve great things.
In November 2021 some Members of Birchgrove WI marched at the COP26 march in Cardiff. We were approached by many women who were surprised to see the WI there and didn’t know we campaigned for Climate action.
Can you name one thing people might not know about the WI or do not expect from the WI?
That we are not just little old ladies who knit. We are a diverse group of women with many talents (including knitting!) who get involved in national issues, lobby our MP’s and stay abreast of global issues.
In your opinion, how has the WI changed during the last 105 years?
It has moved with the times, each WI can make it what they want to be.
When thinking about the future of your WI, what are you looking forward to the most?
Continuing to offer a varied programme of activities and events, trying new things including some skills that may have been forgotten over time. Also attracting younger women and women from more diverse backgrounds.