There was a time when the Women’s Institute seemed to be in decline.
With it’s traditional image of jam and Jerusalem, younger women with busy working lives were put off joining what was seen as an ageing organisation.
And yet the indomitable spirit of the WI members has remained steadfast and it is enjoying a growth period.
And nowhere is this more evident than in Worksop, where a new group was launched in January this year.
Worksop Wonders WI has already more than doubled its numbers and has a full programme of events lined up into next year.
President Pam Pullman said the idea for a new group came from the Worksop Afternoon WI, which thought an evening group was needed to attract younger women who work during the day.
Pam said: “We were told we needed to have 10 members to form a new group.”
“We got eight and decided to go ahead with the first meeting anyway, and now we have 20.”
“We range in age from 20s to 70s and it’s a lovely atmosphere, everyone mixes well together.”
They meet at The Crossing on the second Wednesday of the month at 7pm.
Viv Rhodes, of Whitwell, went along to find out more and ended up becoming membership secretary.
She said: “I think the WI has a new image and is attracting younger women, particularly those who want to learn crafts like knitting and crochet.”
They had a craft evening in March, when they learnt how to make cards under the guidance of secretary Alison Clark and assistant secretary Anne Sneath.
Anne, of Retford, said: “We made penny sliders, which have a moving part on and are really easy to make.”
Anne has been involved with other WIs over the years and is on the agricultural sub-committee at county level. Worksop Wonders is part of the Notts Federation and a member of the Sherwood and Ryton Group of WIs.
She said: “You can get as much or as little out of the WI as you want. You can just go along to the monthly meetings or you can get involved with committees.”
“There are also lots of activities put on within the group like archery, gliding and go-karting which you can get involved in.”
Vera Goodall, of Worksop, works alongside Pam as a volunteer at the Cancer Research charity shop.
Vera said: “I can’t go to the afternoon WI because I am working that day so I decided to give the evening one a go and they are a brilliant group of ladies. We get on really well because we’re all new and getting involved in everything together.”
The WI first began nationally back in 1915 and was as much about educating its members - many of whom had left school at 13 - as it was about entertaining them.
Over the years it has been involved in many campaigns and this year’s is to lobby for more midwives.
Worksop Wonders’ upcoming programme includes a talk from George Buchanan of Hodsock Priory in October, a trip out in August, a Jubilee competition and advice on pet grooming.
Pam said: “It’s about a bit of fun, a bit of education, a nice cup of tea and a chat.”
For more information about joining call Pam on 479261.