The WI is an organisation for women run by women and offers the chance to take part in all sorts of activities from crafts and photography to petanque and cookery, all within a friendly atmosphere. Membership of any of our WIs opens the door to anything that your WI or the Federation has organised.
Our headquarters are in Ipswich, although lots of events are held out and about in the county. The Federation was formed in 1919 and covers the whole of East Suffolk with around 3,500 members in 107 WIs. We are affiliated to the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, the UK’s largest voluntary organisation for women. The WI is non-sectarian and non-party political and the only qualification is to be a woman.
The WI is based on the ideals of fellowship, truth, tolerance and justice. It is open to all women no matter what their background or beliefs. The Federation is the regional level of the organisation and supports all the WIs in the east of the county. Members belong to their own local WI, but with that comes the backing of being part of a national organisation.
There are many elements to the WI. Craft and cookery are traditional areas of interest, but so too is public affairs. The WI has been lobbying politicians to pass legislation that will improve the lives of women at home and abroad for many years.
We own our own offices and have recently made alterations and improvements to the building itself, providing 3 meeting rooms and, thanks to an Awards for All grant, a small, but well-equipped training kitchen. Our craft and cookery courses are open to non-members as well as members, men as well as women. A recent cookery course for students about to go to University was well received.
Some of our WIs offer teas and lunches, known as “hospitality” for visiting coach parties. Please check on our WI’s map or speak to the office.