The Women's institute is the largest women's organization in Britain and aims to offer women the best opportunity to make an impact in their communities, to influence local, national and world issues affecting the social, economic and environmental life of families and communities, and to learn traditional and new skills.
The purpose of the WI is to encourage and enable women:
- to enhance their lives and to play their part in the community through education and public questions
- to improve their lives and the lives of those around them
- to lead fulfilling lives and to be of value in the community and nationally to influence policy/decision makers.
- To provide a friendly atmosphere where women can be inspired and enlightened.
Whilst there are approximately 215,000 WI members throughout England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man - each group is unique and Ashton Keynes WI is just so.
We comprise of almost 50 local 'ladies' who meet on the second Wednesday evening of each month for a talk, demonstartion, outing, or fashion show, in addition we arrange an annual cycle-ride with BBQ, theatre trips, craftwork courses, walks, additional outings to local places of interest, gardens etc. In addition we hold the village Annual Flower Show and Rummage Sale.
Be warned if you're expecting a group of demure, grey haired, gentile, ladies of more mature years you'll be sorely disappointed for although they're more than welcome you'll find it's far from all 'Jam and Jerusalem' and twin-sets and pearls are in short supply in our group.
We meet not only for the fun, friendship and laughter enjoyed at all our meetings - have a look at our photo's and disagree if you dare - but we believe we also benefit the local community having raised funds to pay for the installation of external lights at the Vilage Hall; a chair for the village hall; the Village Sign on the High Road; a bench at the Millenium Garden on the High Road; a picnic table on the Millenium Green by Bradstone; the bench at the end of Church Walk where we've created and maintain the flower bed as well as literally thousands of daffodils along Church Walk, Park Place and at the base of the Village Sign; we've also made the Altar Kneeler for the church. AND plans are already underway for our contribution to the 2006 Vollage Festival!
In addition we assist in fund-raising for local Chatrities, in 2005 over £400 was given to Headway raised through the organisation by our members of a Soup Lunch in October and Carol singing around the village in December.
I was going to enter a section on memorable moments - but frankly there are simply too many to know where to start, so if you are a member "Hi, see you soon", if you have been a member "Hi - hope to see you again soon", and if you've never been well why not come along to our next meeting and "Hi - hope to meet you soon".
Ashton Keynes WI Committee Positions:
President - Pat Smith
Secretary - Val Selby
Treasurer - Hilary Newman