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(49 Posts)
supermum48 Tue 19-Aug-14 22:19:47

Is anybody a member of W.I.? Wondering whether to join but don't make my own jam! Also what is the difference between Townswomen's Guild and Women's Institute and is there a wide age range? Sorry to ask so many questions but they both sound similar from the descriptions.

NanKate Tue 19-Aug-14 22:29:30

Yes I am a member of the WI and I don't make jam or knit or bake cakes, but I am good at enjoying myself, going on rambles and stopping off at the pub, also indulging in cream teas and going on day trips to places of interest.

The WI is for anyone with an open mind, who is prepared to help out (I do the album, welcome new members and give votes of thanks). I have made so many friends it was a great decision to become a member of a charity which is 100 years old next year.

You can visit a WI 3 times to see if it is for you.

The TWG is similar but does not have such a large membership.

Charleygirl Tue 19-Aug-14 22:36:43

I am a member of the TWG. I am like you, I also do not make my own jam, cakes etc. The TWG i joined is local and meets in the afternoons. Because of the age group, I cannot see it going for much longer. The eldest is 92, I am one of the youngest at 70. The rest are mid 80's and not very fit, mentally and physically.

We meet x2 a month and I do enjoy the lectures. The last was a police surgeon telling us his daily job etc. Very interesting. I doubt if our membership reaches 20 but there is another a few miles away which has a membership close on 100 and they go out and about.

You should do what I did last year- turn up for a couple of sessions, pay your dues, a couple of pounds and if you like it, join. Good luck.

rosequartz Tue 19-Aug-14 22:45:02

Our TWG is flourishing and has a waiting list . Sometimes we join up with the local WIs for jollies (some people are members of both).

Both have monthly meetings, guest speakers and outings; joining either is a good way of meeting people. Probably some people belonging to either make jam and some do not!'s_Guild's_Institutes

rosequartz Tue 19-Aug-14 22:51:02

There is also the NWR ( National Women's Register), as far as I know they meet in each other's homes and discuss topics of interest, books, etc, and go on trips.

rubysong Tue 19-Aug-14 23:13:38

I've been a WI member for many years and have made many friends and enjoyed lots of interesting talks and demonstrations. I think traditionally the WI was rural and the TWG was in towns but now there are quite a few WIs in towns. I do make jam from time to time and bake and do crafts but nobody is obliged to do those things. It is a brilliant way to get involved with your community and the best fun is working together with other members as we did last year when we organised refreshments at an event to raise funds for the village school and this summer when we put on a very successful vintage afternoon tea. Do go along and have a 'taster'. I hope you decide to join.

suebailey1 Wed 20-Aug-14 15:34:26

I joined the WI when we lived in Wensleydale but was not made to feel welcome and was quickly told I was not welcome because
1) I brought a cake when I wasn't on the list
2) I asked a question of a speaker when I hadn't been given prior permission by the president.
3) apparently I was too keen to help out- hadn't been in the village long enough.
4) laughed too much.

I was very disappointed as I was looking forward to joining when I retired- never hear of it in this town although I think some of the villages have a WI.

feetlebaum Wed 20-Aug-14 15:38:06

4) Well the President of Turkey would be right at home - he doesn't think women should laugh - it's "immodest" or some such...

rosequartz Wed 20-Aug-14 18:10:03

Join the Townswomen's Guild, suebailey - I am sure they would never object if you brought a cake!
If you want to ask a question of a speaker you would just need to stick your hand up and wait for the speaker to look in your direction.
They are always happy for someone to 'help out'
And you can laugh all you like (as long as we can hear the minutes or the speaker, that is!)

absentgrandma Wed 20-Aug-14 18:11:11

Oh dear, Sue - some rural organisations can be very 'clannish sad You need a really thick skin to keep going, but thankfully not every WI is like that. Mind you, they're not all like 'Calender Girls' either.
I think you must have hit the jackpot for xenophobia with that one though, I've never heard of anyone having to ask permission to ask a question of the speaker and most presidents grab any help that's offered with both hands Was her name Mrs Hitler by ant chance?

Don't give up because of that bad experience.... try another group

Nonu Wed 20-Aug-14 18:16:36

On point 4 you sound like me, so I guess I wouldn't be welcome either!!

Charleygirl Wed 20-Aug-14 18:22:26

Thanks rosequartz I had never heard of the NWR but I have made enquiries on line and there is one local to me so I am having info sent to me.

rosequartz Wed 20-Aug-14 18:26:02

Charleygirl, one of my friends belongs and I have been along once or twice but it is the same night as TWG.

Aka Wed 20-Aug-14 18:47:26

I've been to a couple of meetings and singing Jerusalem was as exciting as it ever got. I would sooner stick pins in my eyes decided it wasn't for me.

Mishap Wed 20-Aug-14 19:34:08

Heavens Sue - what a miserable lot! I'd give them a miss!

Our WI declared UDI, and we still meet as a social group, but are no longer affiliated to the WI - it's cheaper that way! They are mostly about my age (65) and older and we have some interesting speakers. Unfortunately I often miss our monthly meeting as I get so busy. But I mustn't miss November's as I am the speaker!!

rosesarered Wed 20-Aug-14 20:19:03

Nonu grin point 4 would have me barred for life as well!
Aka yes, some W.I's are just as boring as the one you visited I must admit.Some are much better though, it's all down to the village, the President [and how dynamic she is] and the quality of the speakers they bring in.Some W.I.'s are very clan-ish though and even unfriendly.
supermum48 do the 'try before you buy' thing and visit a few groups first.I used to belong to a National Housewives Register, and that was good fun.

Nonu Wed 20-Aug-14 20:21:42

ROSES , it just so great to have a laugh , I believe it oils the wheels .


Mind you , it took me a long time to learn!!

janerowena Wed 20-Aug-14 22:25:51

I am sort of a member. But I just don't really feel that I am old enough for my group just yet. I have six friends in my village who are all in their fifties, we all joined together in January, but the age gap between us and the other members is huge. We are used to receiving notifications by email and having a website, I suggested starting one up as many in our area have one, but they aren't interested, and I find that I often forget to go on trips because I am reminded by a friend too late and have already arranged something else. I put everything in an online calendar, I no longer use pen and paper and they find me/us as weird as I find them. We can be listening to a fascinating speaker (they are very good at finding speakers) and sheets upon sheets of paper will be passing around for us to read/sign/inwardly digest. I try to make notes but can never read my writing afterwards, and being in a rural area and no wifi in the village hall...

When Jam and Jerusalem came out, everyone said that it was a clichéd view of village life. Well, those people have obviously never been to mine. Our chairman is just like the one in that series, and at Easter I was paired up for an Easter quiz with our very own equivalent of the Dawn French character. It was the hardest, longest evening I have had to suffer for a very long time, and I felt really mean for having found it such an ordeal, although the lady concerned seemed more than happy.

If you have the time to devote to helping out, and can attend regularly then it helps, but having family still at home hasn't been very helpful. It's amazing what they get up to though.

Don't eat before you go, would be my advice. The 'snacks' with tea and coffee are vast. My turn in October, in partnership with a rather forbidding lady who is apparently an extremely good baker.

Ana Wed 20-Aug-14 22:33:28

I had been tentatively considering joining my local WI when I finally retire in December, but you've put me right off, janerowena and others! grin

janerowena Wed 20-Aug-14 22:36:26

I really REALLY don't want to go, but feel I will be letting my friends down if I don't. The thing is, I realise that for many, the widows in particular, it is a lifeline, and who knows, in 20 years' time I could be that widow.

janerowena Wed 20-Aug-14 22:37:09

I meant to say, we don't want it to fold, it was down to 11 members.

rubysong Wed 20-Aug-14 23:40:05

Oh dear, some of you have had miserable times at WI. I wonder how recent those experiences were. Some of the attitudes in previous posts seem a bit nineteen fifties. I have just come in from our monthly meeting and have enjoyed it very much. Our speakers are very varied and tonight we heard all about the dangers of tick bites. This sounds boring but in fact it was very interesting and informative (WI is, after all, an educational organisation). Everyone chatted during the refreshments (tea/coffee and biscuits), and we heard about future events we are planning. We have a theatre visit coming up and next month is our harvest super and fun auction. WI has added a tremendous amount to my life. I joined when I was 24 and was made welcome from the start. My husband was at sea a lot while our children were small and our families were hundreds of miles away but I always managed to find a babysitter for WI nights.

petra Thu 21-Aug-14 08:38:11

Suebaily has confirmed my view of the WI. Obviously not for me as I'm a giggler with a dark sense of humour.

suebailey1 Thu 21-Aug-14 08:51:27

What a relief I thought I was the only subversive one!! I would really like to be in a WI that was lively and would be more than happy to do my share- if I find one I will join again. I like the 'try before you buy idea'.

Gagagran Thu 21-Aug-14 09:43:25

Come and join my WI suebailey - we love naughty members! As someone above said a lot depends on an enthusiastic President and the members being open and willing to try new things. It's difficult with a small long established membership as they do get very parochial and set in their ways but it's not like that in the larger WIs which I have known. Most WI members like chatting and eating I have found, so that's a common link for a start! I would recommend trying a few WIs to see if you are made welcome and feel at home. Our 90+ members try to do that for any visitors and many do then join. smile