Friday, 4 February 2011

Goodbye January

The last two weeks of January have been filled with internal meetings and discussions on policy and membership; areas that are right at the heart of the WI. It is very exciting that many hundreds of new members are joining each week, as well as forming brand new WIs; in fact 16 new WIs were formed during the months of December and January. Membership is always high on the WI agenda and by the time we reach our centenary in 2015, our aim is to increase membership significantly so that we can stride confidently into the next decades.

For some women, joining the WI can change their lives – new friends, new interests, new skills, and discovering a confidence perhaps not previously achieved. Not every woman who would like to join the WI is able to get to a monthly meeting, which is why the WI Associate scheme is so ideal because it offers the opportunity to become a WI member without the need to belong to a specific WI. There’s the chance to visit a few WIs in your federation before deciding which one is for you while receiving the membership magazine, WI Life, along with notification of all that is happening in your area and nationwide. And let us not forget that courses at Denman cost the same for WI Associates as for WI members.

Other benefits include the Associate Forum on the Moodle where you can chat to other Associates. A forum is also available to WIs within London. Request a password and you will be able to access the Moodle where there is everything you might want to know about the WI.

Speaking of Denman College, there is currently a fantastic course taking place called ‘Inspiring New Business Women’, and have you seen the upcoming new bridal series; courses on everything you need to know if you are catering for your own wedding from making the invitations to arranging the flowers.

Being a WI member is certainly COOL. As followers of this blog will know, that is also the title of our current campaign on county of origin labelling of meat and fish. Do check out the short film on the NFWI website,, for more information.

One of our ongoing campaigns is combating climate change and yesterday I learned of an important debate around the opportunities for offshore wind farms in Britain. Chaired by Damian Carrington, it brought together experts from several sectors – energy, politics, finance and activism. Apparently, there was not one woman panellist in sight. This does not surprise me but it does dishearten me: how long has the WI been saying women must have a say in the solutions to the changed climate? Since 1927, that’s how long.