The WI was formed in 1915. It currently has 205,000 members in 6,500 WIs throughout England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. It is completely independent, non-party-political and non-sectarian. It plays a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities. For more information go to: www.thewi.org.uk.
WIs are geographically linked within 70 County and Island Federations; our own WI belongs to the Wiltshire Federation (WFWI) which has its Head Office in Devizes (see: www.thewi.org.uk/wiltshire). The WIs and Federations in turn come under the over-aching umbrella of the National Federation (NFWI) which has an Office in London.
Resolutions and Campaigns
Every year WI members have the chance to put forward issues or “resolutions” that they would like the national body to campaign on. These resolutions go through a year-long debating and consultation process by the membership. Once the resolutions have been short-listed by the membership a select number are chosen for discussion at the Annual General Meeting in June. If passed, these then become mandates and form the basis of campaigning activities in the years ahead. This process ensures that our campaigns have been through a democratic process involving all the members and come from the grass roots of the organisation.
Each member pays an annual subscription; about half of this sum is split between the National and County Federations, while the rest is used to fund the activities of the WI to which the member belongs.
WI members can belong to more than one WI by paying the full membership fee to their first WI and a reduced fee to each additional WI. This entitles the member to take a full and active part in any additional WIs and have full voting rights on any matters relating to those additional WIs.
Denman College is the WIs own adult education college, located in the village of Marcham, near Abingdon, Oxfordshire. It offers over 600 courses, either residential or day schools, and is open to all, members and non-members, men and women and students of all ages. The College is located in a graceful Georgian House, set in 17 acres of beautiful grounds with walks and a picturesque lake. A new Cookery School was opened at Denman in April 2009. For more information click here.