WI convert Dr Siân Whyte wants to get more women on board.
Having just celebrated the 85th birthday of Buckingham Women’s Institute, the main topic of discussion at our AGM was how to grow our numbers and look forward to the next 85 years. Despite the town’s expanding population, membership numbers have remained fairly stable and many of my own friends were either not aware of our local branch, or not sure it was relevant to them. In October 2013, tempted by a talk on the history of Stowe, I visited my first meeting. A year on, I’m now a committee member and helping plan our new recruitment drive. Despite my busy job as a full-time GP, I’ve had a very varied and enjoyable year, with monthly evening meetings with a programme of speakers, a taster class in glass making, afternoon tea at a beautiful garden, and helping to support the Relay For Life with gallons of tea and tonnes of cake. Every effort was made to work around my work commitments when planning trips or events I wanted to join. There really is something for every woman in the WI – making new friends, learning new skills and crafts, supporting the local community and charities, along with having your say on a national political forum, with the annual resolution presentation at the national conference. We also have access to the amazing Denman College, which offers day and residential courses, just for WI members. Every woman has something to give to the WI – a different experience or viewpoint, a talent to share or just a favourite recipe – we do like our cake! We would love to grow our branch. Whatever your age or background, young or old, working, full-time mum or retired, why not give us a try? You’ll find a warm welcome on the third Wednesday of every month (except December and January due to pantomime) at 7.30pm in Buckingham Community Centre. We’ll be hosting a bottle tombola and hamper raffle at the Charity Fair in the Community Centre on Saturday, December 13, during and after the Christmas Parade, so why not come and say hello and pick up the 2015 meeting programme?