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 have 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 2019/2020, members enjoyed trips to The Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery and The Royal Legion Poppy Factory to name but a few.
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).
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 Solent MIND 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. And have 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 (held each July). 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!
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
*** Due to the Covid-19 situation regarding group gatherings we have temporarily moved our programme online! Our craft groups and book clubs have also gone virtual and we continue to welcome guests and new members. Please check out our social media pages for further updates. ***
9th October 2020
- Sex, Scandal and Salacious Gossip from the Royal Court – Hampton Court Palace guide Sarah Slater, gives us an informative, entertaining (and possibly a little risqué) talk about the secrets behind the royal court between 1660 and 1830.
9th November 2020
- Staunton Park History and Community – Join us as Katrina Foxton shares the history and future of Staunton Park. What has the community done, and how can it continue to support this local project?
14th December 2020
- Christmas Fun & Percussion Evening – Jo May will be teaching us to play the spoons, whilst we sip mulled wine and nibble on mince pies! Jo trained as an orchestral percussionist at the Royal College of Music, and began her career working with the BBC Symphony Orchestra – I hope she knows what she is letting herself in for by joining us!
11th January 2021
- Resolutions and Quiz Night – After debating this year’s WI Resolutions we’ll enjoy a light-hearted quiz with our host Rona Musker.
8th February 2021
- Tremendous Treloar’s – The Treloar Trust provides education, care, therapy, medical support and independence training to young people with physical disabilities from all over the UK and overseas. Join us as we are joined by staff from the Treloar School and College to tell us about their work.
8th March 2021
- Britain’s First Railway Murder – Paul Stickler, tells us a story of murder in 1864. A time when Britain took pride in the development of its railway and was revolutionising passenger travel. But its reputation was rocked by the violent and unexplained murder of a city gentleman, the very icon of all that was Victorian society.
12th April 2021
- Ghosts Of Hampton Court – We will be joined again by Sarah Slater as she talks about her experiences working with the ghosts at Hampton Court Palace. Listen as she talks about her experiences of wandering the galleries late at night on her own and get goosebumps as she relates the history, stories and sightings of ghosts over the years.
10th May 2021
- Annual Meeting and 75th Birthday – After our Annual Meeting, we will celebrate our 75th Birthday with cake, fizz and a little party.