The Isle of Wight branch of the Women’s Institute (WI) has reached its centenary today (Thursday, November 25).
It was back in 1921, the federation was first formed on the Island, to support the running of existing WIs, who had been meeting since May 1919.
At first, there was no formal base for the federation. But within 30 years, with the support of members, the WI was able to purchase its current offices in Newport.
From this base, they provide technical guidance, marketing support and also training courses. You might also have seen them around, as they run successful tea tents – with 10 wonderful years under their belt at Bestival, providing far more than tea and cake to the revelers.
“We had sewing kits for fancy dress, provided birthday cakes and sometimes a friendly chat facility,” said a WI spokesperson.
To celebrate reaching 100 years in operation on the Isle of Wight, the WIs have planned a whole host of activities, including getting as many members together as possible this afternoon at Newport Minster, where there will be tea, cake and a performance from the institute's fantastic choir.
This week, there is also a Flower Festival and Archive Display being held at the Minster. The display covers a wide range of topics, highlighting many of the best parts of the WI’s history — and they will also be selling tea and cake, which all good WI events should include!
Over the next year, all 31 WIs will also be getting together to celebrate with a beach party and with an event at the Steam Railway.
Chairman, Sue Biss said:
“The WI is a wonderful organisation, our tag line is ‘fun and friendship’. We are a hugely diverse range of women and our WIs are all different. We want to show that we have something to interest all women, from all walks of life and our members range in age from young 20s to 101.
We are active with crafts, campaigning, education, caring for our community and surroundings, and caring for each other. And we will keep changing with the times, to be as relevant as we can.”