The Women’s Institute has been at the centre of our beautiful village since 1946 – but in our group we don’t rest on our laurels, we give traditional WI activities our own modern twist. So yes, sometimes we make jam and sing Jerusalem; but just as frequently we share laughs over a glass of wine or you will find us ‘Tweeting’ about our next fundraiser. At heart though, our meetings are a place where women of all ages can share interests, make new friends, learn new skills, and perhaps most importantly enjoy having fun.
We meet on the second Monday of each month (except August) in the Parish Hall, Links Lane, Rowlands Castle, PO9 6AD at 7.00pm (for a 7.30pm start). And our meetings go a bit like this… After grabbing a glass of wine (if you want) and catching up with friends, we begin with our ‘formal business’. This is followed, after a short refreshment break, with a talk, presentation or hands-on learning session. Our programme is varied and aims to offer something for everyone (this year’s programme is listed below).
As well as the monthly meetings (which are a lot of fun on their own) we have lots of other exciting activities you can get involved in. For example, we have two thriving Book Clubs, a Theatre/Cinema Club and a very popular Craft Club where you can take your own project along to just enjoy a ‘knit and natter’ or learn a completely new skill.
As a group we also love a trip out, whether it is a local countryside walk or somewhere further afield. In 2018/9, members enjoyed a trip to The Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery, Whitchurch Silk Mill and even the bulb fields of Amsterdam. 2019/20 promises more of the same with the chance to join trips to the D-Day Story and The Poppy Factory and Museum, Richmond.
For those who like to be a little more competitive, we have a table tennis group and a Scrabble group who meet monthly. We also take part in skittles tournaments and quizzes held between other local WIs (which form the Staunton Group). Or you could join in with one of our regular competitions.
Campaigning For Change
Raising awareness of important social issues, such as homelessness and mental illness, is an important part of our WI’s purpose. We also like to support local good causes, raising funds for community projects. Our 2019/20 fundraising programme includes an Open Garden in aid of the Rowans Hospice, collections for the Redbox project and craft sales to raise money to contribute to replacing the lights in the Parish Hall where we meet.
As of May 2018, we are also campaigning to reduce our plastic waste, encouraging national and local companies to provide plastic free/reduced shopping experiences. We’ve also set ourselves a goal of reducing our own plastic waste at meetings and in all our work.
Supporting Our Village
Any excuse and you’ll also find us helping to show off what we believe to be the best village in Hampshire! One of the events we enjoy most is our Village Fair (6th July 2019 from 11 am). We support this by having a stall selling high quality hand-crafted goods and wonderful homemade produce courtesy of our members.
But remember, you don’t have to be a great crafter, baker or preserver to join us. We are proud of all of our members – so come and meet us, let us welcome you, and see if we can tempt you to join us!
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1o June 2019
- The “Not So Idle” Women of the Canals – Most people are familiar with the ‘Land Girls’; women who volunteered to work the land to aid the war effort during World War Two. Less well known, however, are their canal-based equivalents; known undeservedly as the ‘Idle Women’. Join us as Clive and Sue Fennell share the fascinating stories of these women.
08 July 2019
- A Murder Is Announced – Can you solve the murder of Mary Fisher, bludgeoned to death on her way home from her local WI meeting? Join members to solve the crime through a series of quizzes and puzzles.
- No meeting
09 September 2019
- River Conservation – Andy Thomas from the Wild Trout Trust promises an interesting and entertaining talk about the art and science of managing rivers – and helps us understand what benefits this brings to wildlife.
14 October 2019
- Lets Talk Nutrition – Phillippa Joyner talks to us about nutrients and other food components and how they can help to support the body towards improving and maintaining health.
11 November 2019
- Romans to Counterculture – Hilly Sloan’s talk develops a timeline history of the city of Chichester from the establishment of the the Devil’s Ditch in the late Iron Age to the Modern Day. With the use of a plethora of illustrations and photographs the evolution of this quintessentially English market city is brought to life and the stories of many well known characters are introduced along the way.
09 December 2019
- A Lighthearted Look at the Soprano – A classically trained soprano and graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Jennifer Parker-Lummis, entertains us in the run up to Christmas. Join us for festive nibbles and a glass of warming mulled wine.
13 January 2020
- Resolutions and Speakers Corner – After debating this year’s WI Resolutions we’ll hear from some of our members on their pet peeves, long-lasting loves and life changing moments in our regular Speakers Corner session.
10 February 2020
- The Historic Housewife – Women have been running homes since the dawn of recorded history. Join us as Lesley Parker talks us through the changing role of the housewife. Illustrated with replica historic costumes this promises to be an entertaining and fun filled evening.
09 March 2020
- Easter Craft Evening – Let your arty crafty side shine in our Easter craft session. This evening will see a number of different crafts led by some of our members. Will you find a hidden talent?
06 April 2020
- Creating a Buzz – Experienced beekeeper David Nield will deliver an informative talk about all things beekeeping, including how to attract and care for bees visiting your garden. A plant sale of bee friendly flora will also be held.
11 May 2020
- Annual Meeting, Birthday and Cake Tasting Competition – After our Annual Meeting, we will taste and vote on members birthday cake contributions. Will it be a new-fangled salted caramel concoction or the traditional Victoria Sponge that tickles our fancy. So join in by baking a cake, or just let out your trousers and get your cake fork poised.