Welcome - Home & Programme
* What's New
What is Shadforth WI?
What does Shadforth WI do?
Involvement with other WIs
What is the WI?
History of the WI – 95+ years in Britain
National WI Campaigns
Brief History of Shadforth WI
Information on Shadforth
* How to Join & FAQs
Benefits for Members
* SWI Speakers' Corner
* SWI Poets' Corner
* SWI Walks Group
* SWI Book Group
* Special Events
* SWI Archive
Contact Information for Shadforth WI
* SWI Kurling Corner
Links for Shadforth WI
How to Join, What to Expect, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Abbreviations
How to join
Turn up at a Monthly Meeting. You are welcome to come along for a meeting and see what you think! Contact us in advance and we will make sure you are met at the door (7.00pm at the front door to Shadforth Village Hall). Don't worry if you're on your own - a volunteer will introduce you to everyone and make sure you don't feel left out.
How much does it cost?
Fees for the meeting are taken by the Treasurer at the door (£1.25 for visitors and £1.00 for members). Membership is valid for a year from January and is £34.70 in 2014 (see Benefits for Members and What does Shadforth WI do for reasons to join). On joining you will receive a free Welcome Pack (including WI Life: the WI monthly magazine, a letter from the NFWI Chair, a thick booklet of vouchers, and access to the many money saving and holiday offers as listed on the main WI website). You will make new friends, be eligible to take part in all the activities of your local WI, to attend WI meetings on a county and national level, and attend courses at the WI college, Denman College.
Can I join more than one WI?
If you want to join more than one WI you can become a Dual Member by paying a further fee (£13.07 in 2011) to any additional WI(s). This entitles you to take a full and active part in any additional WI and have full voting rights on matters relating to that WI.
Is it a large time commitment?
Members can take part as much or as little as they wish. There is the Monthly Meeting and special activities (see What does Shadforth WI do). Nothing is compulsory! Members can take part in, suggest and organise individual or continuing events. You can have an even more active role by joining the organising committee (which meets monthly in addition to the monthly meetings) and by representing the WI at other meetings. In the end, the WI is there for it's members - your WI is up to you!
What happens at the monthly meeting?
The meeting opens with the singing of Jerusalem and closes with the singing of the National Anthem. Everyone is brought up to date with current and future activities. Next is the Speaker (see SWI Speakers Corner for an idea of topics). Tea and social time follows, often with a game (such as dominoes, beetle, darts). Competition winners are announced.
Why a Speaker?
The inclusion of a speaker was an important part of the early development of the WI, which intended both to enable women to meet other women, and to allow them to listen to experts talking on various subjects of interest. The wide and varied speakers reflect the wide and varied interests of the members of the institution.
What sort of competitions?
There are usually two competitions at each meeting. You enter the “door prize” by turning up. The winner’s name is drawn at random. The monthly competition often involves bringing along a pre-decided object (for example an item connected with the talk, an interesting tin, a match-box full of as many items as possible). The winner is decided by the speaker or perhaps a coin vote (you put a coin by your favourite item and the one with the most wins the prize; the coins go to a good cause). The winners chose from two, gift-wrapped, prizes (donated by volunteers).
What is the yearly prize?
There is a yearly prize for the person who has the most points, allocated over the year. One point is awarded for entering, and two for winning, so if you enter a lot you still have a good chance to win.
Who does the tea?
Everyone brings their own cup to the meeting (to tell them apart!), though we have a few spares. The tea is made and served by volunteers (on a rota). There are biscuits too! The tea is kindly supplied by Yorkshire Tea.
Why the flowers?
At each meeting a volunteer brings flowers or a plant to decorate the table covered by one of the two current Shadforth WI tablecloths.
What is "Members' Night"?
On Members' Night (usually once a year) the non-committee members of the institute organise the meeting, often including a special speaker and/or entertainment.
Why the formality of elected officials?
As with each level of the WI, Shadforth WI is run by a committee of elected members. Roles on the committee can be very rewarding and can be undertaken by any member. They are essential to the running and planning for the group. Each institute needs at least a President, Secretary and Treasurer to continue.
Why the singing?
Singing in the WI is traditional and we feel it offers a nice start and end to the meeting, loosening members up for talking! At the beginning we sing William Blake's Jerusalem and at the end the first verse of the National Anthem. Singing has always played a part in the WI. Some people view Jerusalem in a solely religious light, but the WI is non-sectarian and in fact Jerusalem has been sung by WI members at the beginning of many meetings since 1924 when it was first sung at the AGM held in The Queens Hall in London. It had been used by the National Union of Suffrage Societies in the 1918 celebrations of women's enfranchisement, and many of the leaders of the NFWI were part of the struggle to win the vote for women. By singing Jerusalem, the WI marks its links with the wider women's movement and, with the rural imagery of the song, marks its commitment to 'improving the conditions of rural life'.
What are the words for William Blake's Jerusalem?
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the Holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold;
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.
To hear the tune of Jerusalem, if you have speakers on your pc, see:
What are the words for the first verse of the National Anthem?
God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen.
For information on royal involvement with the WI please see:
Why was there a Shadforth WI piano?
Our piano was donated to us a long time ago. It provided environmentally friendly musical accompaniment during the famous Shadforth WI shows and was especially tuneful when we had guest pianists, who were always greatly appreciated! It was also available for village use for several years. Although missed, to make more room in the Village Hall, the piano was donated to a local family's children in Autumn 2010.
Where does the money go?
Each individual WI has charity status, but it is paid for by its members. Meeting fees go towards the hire of venue, speaker fees and other expenses of the meeting. Yearly fees are divided between NFWI, DCFWI and the local institute. As the WI is a charity the accounts are open and available for viewing.
Who can join the WI? / Is the WI sexist? / Is the WI religious?
The WI is an educational, social, non-party political and non-sectarian organisation, offering women the opportunity of learning, campaigning, friendship and sharing - not just in traditional interests such as arts and crafts but also in the latest developments in IT, health and fitness and science. The WI grew up as an organisation to allow women in rural areas to meet up. The issues discussed concern all of humanity and speakers and visitors can be male or female. Any woman can become a member of Shadforth WI however we welcome anyone, including men, to our meetings. WI members do not exist in a vacuum, and we acknowledge the support of our families and friends who often get involved in activities at some point.
Is the WI valid for today?
The WI is the largest voluntary organisation for women. Through close community ties and wide-ranging activities, the WI plays a unique role in enabling women to turn their interests into achievements and their concerns into campaigns. The WI has an unrivalled reputation as a voice of reason, integrity and intelligence on issues that matter to women and their communities (see What is the WI, WI Campaigns and International Involvement). On a local level, in an increasingly isolated modern world the WI performs a vital role in providing an environment in which anyone is welcome to come and make new friends and be inspired.
What about Jam, and other recipes?
The Jam connection seems to date from the First and Second World Wars when the WI had a key role in encouraging preserving food due to its initial connection with the Agricultural Organisations Society (AOS) and the necessity that as much food as possible should be grown at home when imports became difficult. This image has stuck, although perhaps only one of our current members regularly produces jam (a shame as homemade jam is free of additives, uses natural produce and tastes nice!). Due to regulations, cooking demonstrations are unfortunately difficult to arrange. For more information on the connection with jam and the WI see:
What is the rural connection?
The WI was originally set up in Britain in 1915, in rural communities, in order to bring people together and give them a voice and education in areas which did not have ready access to such (see History of the WI). The modern WI goes wherever there is a need and is interested in a wide spectrum of issues. It continues to care about rural communities, as can be seen from the 1999 report called The Changing Village, based on responses by nearly 5000 Women’s Institutes to a survey about the state of rural services. Concerns such as public transport and the closure of shops and post offices have since developed into powerful campaigns. The WI also supports the Associated Country Women of the World (for more information on ACWW see International Involvement).
What is WI Enterprises Ltd?
WI Enterprises Ltd (WIE) is the trading company of the National Federation of Women's Institutes and it exists to raise revenue for the NFWI, provide benefits for members and generate funds for federations and Women’s Institutes. WIE do this through a wide range of activities including, publishing WI Life (previously Home & Country) the monthly membership magazine, and through working with commercial partners to support the many and varied activities of the WI. For more information see:
Must I wear a funny hat?
It depends which WI show you are in.
What about WI Markets?
The first Women's Institute Market took place in Lewes as an outlet for surplus produce and the number of WI Markets grew in the 1920s with the support of WI County Federations. In 1995 the markets separated from The National Federation of Women's Institutes and become self-financing. In 2004 WI Country Markets Ltd changed their name to Country Markets Ltd. For more information see:
How can I contact Shadforth WI?
The contact details are given on the Contact Shadforth WI section of this website.
What is WI?
WI stands for Women’s Institute.
What is SWI or Shadforth WI?
SWI and Shadforth WI stand for Shadforth Women’s Institute.
What is the NFWI?
NFWI stands for The National Federation of Women’s Institutes.
What is DCFWI?
DCFWI stands for Durham County Federation of Women’s Institutes. Shadforth WI is a member of this federation.
What are Federations?
NFWI is made up of 70 Federations across England, Wales and the Islands. The Federations are generally organised by county boundaries, although some larger counties may be divided into more than one federation. Each federation contains a varying number of institutes.
What is ACWW?
ACWW stands for the Associated Country Women of the World.
What is WIE?
WIE stands for WI Enterprises Ltd.
What is a WIA?
WIA stands for WI Advisors, who are based in the Federations. They advise institutes and assist people who wish to set up new institutes.