This week last year was when myself and a few friends took the plunge to start our own WI. We were nervous of the interest and reaction. We honestly expected it to be just us sat in the village community centre. We arranged to get there early and get chairs etc all laid out. What we didn't expect to find were people already there and waiting for us.
That first evening was attended by around 25-30 people from what I remember. It quickly became apparent that the small venue we had booked would not fulfill our needs in the future (a very unhelpful manager of the venue made leaving the venue a relief).
We hunted the village for an alternative venue that was available on a regular basis. We then committed to a local church hall which has proven to be a great venue, central, well equipped, heated and with understanding management.
In the last year we have had charity's, florists, Great British Bake Off Contestants, skin care, craft evenings and many other wonderful speakers.
The group has grown, I have made new friends and the group is becoming recognised within the community.
Starting the group and putting myself forward for president was one of the best, yet scariest things I have done.
Mixing and meeting new people petrifies me but this is a role where you need to be welcoming, make new comers feel at ease and introduce them to other members. It has really pushed my confidence but I am so pleased I took the plunge and challenged myself. I still find chairing the meetings scary but not as much as this time last year.
As with any group of women there have been the odd little drama here and there but overall I think the group is going really well and growing.
To anyone thinking of starting their own WI I would say go for it. You are well supported by your local WI federation and have nothing to lose.
It seems that just was we thought we had found our feet, a meeting was to come along and test us.
The group takes turn to provide the cakes for the meetings. This month was my turn. This is Mary Berrys Orange Layer Cake. I busted a gut making this between work, school run, cooking the tea and the meeting.
And this is what happened to my cake as I got to the church hall. Oops.
It seemed the night could only get worse and with no sign of our speaker we turned to our smart phones for an emergency quiz.
One of the first pieces of advice I was given by our WI adviser was "always have a quiz on hand". We did have one on hand but after pulling this out of the bag after a speaker was ill this wasn't replaced.
Thanks to the invention of smart phones we were able to download a quiz there and then.