Yarmouth IW WI celebrated its 10th birthday in 2006 and we are enjoying ourselves as much as ever. The original WI in the town had closed down and when we reformed, it felt the time was right to offer local women the opportunity to meet in fun and friendship (with lots of education thrown in along the way).
We had a strong driving force for Committee and President 10 years ago, and yes, we caused some waves – to put it mildly. But we couldn’t be more proud of all that we have created and achieved, and also of the ladies who went before us throughout the century of WI existence.
Yarmouth WI is an engaging group of ladies who meet in the cause of fun, friendship and education. We have taken the core values of the WI to heart, but have strived over the 10 years we have been formed to make sure that we bend those facets to our own particular needs. We meet, most of the time, on the last Thursday of the month in the Royal Solent Yacht Club in Yarmouth.
We are proud to meet under the banner of the WI, and to carry on the tradition of belonging to the WI. When we reformed, the organisation felt a little different and we wanted to try and shake things up – a little. Where the WI stands now, 10 years on, it is possible to see a much more vibrant organisation which is looking forward to the next 100 years.
Each of our meetings is different and we look to provide our members with the chance to learn more about things which interest them. This could range from learning a traditional craft, to wine tasting, to hearing about treks to the South Pole, or to the meetings we form around learning more about a particular foreign country. We have also watched slightly risque films (which caused a huge stir!) during Breast Cancer Awareness month when we remembered one of the members of the original Yarmouth WI who had passed away (who was one of the first English female naked actresses).
We offer our members educational opportunities through running day courses when members show a particular wish to learn something. We have offered bursaries for local college courses and the WI’s own Denman College for our members to attend and we arrange outings to further our aims.
The WI has a very strong history of campaigning about issues which we feel are important to women, and which therefore have an impact on our homes and lives. Yarmouth WI has sought to highlight the plight of dairy farmers, we have distributed leaflets on the issue of excess food packaging, and we promote the plight of the British honeybee. We are at the moment actively involved in supporting the island’s Hospice (through helping sort donations) and the Neo-natal units on both the island and in Portsmouth through the donation of items for premature babies which our ladies have knitted. Our walking group and Knit and Natter offers a chance for members to meet away from the monthly meeting. Our book club meets monthly for lunch and a good chat about our latest tome.
We are also part of the West Wight Group of WIs which holds additional social and educational events. The chance to meet up with other local WI members offers an even greater opportunity to meet a diverse range of members. The Isle of Wight Federation supports us and helps us achieve our aims despite the limitations of being on an island.
Several years ago we twinned with the Moggill branch of the Queensland Women’s Association. It is fascinating to exchange news and information as whilst we are very different groups (due to the geographical challenges they face just to attend a meeting), both groups are formed for the same reasons.
You are most welcome to come along to a meeting as a visitor to “try us out”. Visitors may come for 2 meetings before joining, and the annual fee is currently £42.00.