A group of friends looking to re-invigorate their social lives are appealing for more women to join their new ‘modern Women’s Institute’.
Sutton Bridge WI closed a few years ago when its elderly membership was unable to keep the branch running –now a new generation wants to pick up where they left off.
However, Jane Wilkinson who is behind the re-launch, is keen to shake off the ‘jam and Jerusalem’ image and appeal to younger women.
She and her friends came up with the idea in favour of expensive nights out after they struggled to meet up regularly without their children.
“It’s very difficult in this area for women to meet others and have a social life which doesn’t involve spending lots of money, or committing to groups which you need to attend weekly, and have a certain skill for,” said Jane, 32.
“Going out for a meal can cost around £20 a time, and this is quite an extravagance when we’re all watching the pennies. So we looked into WI.”
The aim of the national organisation, established in 1915, is to provide women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, take part in a variety of activities and campaign on important local and national issues.
Around 20 women, aged 20 to 50, attended an initial meeting at the Curlew Centre last month to discuss what WI membership entails and agreed to a second meeting, with a guest speaker on the agenda.
“I was expecting to be laughed at for suggesting the idea, but that didn’t happen,” Jane said.
“The image of older ladies in their twin sets and pearls, sipping tea, is a far cry from what the WI is about.
“There are modern groups starting all over the country, which although keep the traditional standards, have also made what they do more relevant to younger generations.
“You can learn Burlesque dancing, how to service your car and wine tasting, rather than just making jam and cakes,” she added.
Annual WI membership is £33.
Next meeting is at 7pm on Wednesday, October 16, at the Curlew Centre, Sutton Bridge.
For more information call Jane Wilkinson on 07506 440906 or visit the group’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/suttonbridgewomensinstitute