After 25 years of dormancy, the Women’s Institute is being revived for a new generation of women in Oundle. Its first meeting was held on 19 February, and attracted more than 40 women to join the group.
The previous Oundle branch ran for nearly 30 years from 1963 to 1992, when it folded.
The Women’s Institute is a community-based organisation for women, initially established in 1915, and it has become the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK.
A “new wave” of Women’s Institute branches have shed their slightly dated outlook and are encouraging and attracting women of all ages to attend with a new range of organised activities.
While traditional “vintage” interests such as needlework, jam-making and healthy living recipes are promoted, new activities include organised talks from scientists and historians.
For instance, the Cambridge Federation of Women’s Institute members knitted and crocheted “neurons”, which were combined together to make a giant brain sculpture in order to raise awareness for brain science and mental health.
The Oundle branch is led by the newly appointed president, Naomi Murphy, with Tina Browne, Secretary and Chris Stewart, Treasurer.
Naomi Murphy said: “There was a real show of commitment from a number of women who’ve all been busy trying to get the branch off the ground.
“The committee really want to work to make the branch a group that is welcoming and inclusive of all women. There were lots of very vibrant women drawn from all ages, backgrounds and interests, so I am confident that the branch is going to have a lot of energy and something to appeal to all.”
The April meeting was the first Oundle WI speaker event, featuring conservationist Dr Nick Askew on British birds and bird calls, which was extremely popular.
Meetings are held at The Hub, Fletton House, on the fourth Wednesday of each month from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.