Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Our first meet and greet - Saturday 22nd September

Well, here we are. A fledgling, newly hatched Women’s Institute group – well, not quite official yet, but we soon will be! (More on the next steps to ‘officialness’ later.)

We’re the Darling Roses WI, and we will be meeting on a Saturday at the end of each month at St John’s Church Hall in Moortown, Leeds. We’re aiming to provide all the wonderful benefits associated with Women’s Institute membership – being part of a friendly, supportive and lively group, that also just happens to provide lots of opportunities to try new things, what could be better?! But we’re also aiming to forge our own unique identity as a group and believe that we have something really exciting and special to offer.

For starters, we’ll be meeting at weekends, something which no other local group does, and it will afford us the luxury of lots of time to provide both a regular WI meeting and a more in-depth workshop activity after every meeting. We have lots of ideas on what we’d like to do already, and will also be encouraging the input of all of our new and prospective members, but first things first, let's talk about our September meeting.

When we first contacted the Women’s Institute, and tentatively suggested that maybe little old us could start a WI branch of our own, they talked us through the process, and explained that first of all we had to hold a meeting to establish interest in our group – not really an official meeting you understand, more of an informal ‘meet and greet’ that we could advertise and then find out exactly what sort of interest there was locally.

So, we found a lovely venue, we spread the word, we organised some nice, crafty activities for people to be able to dip into on the day, and then of course we baked and baked and baked in readiness (how many cakes?!), and then it was the morning of Saturday 22nd September. It was time. We felt excited, of course, but also just a little bit sick (and I don’t mean from all the cakes). What if no-one came? What if it was a complete unmitigated disaster??

Well, of course it wasn’t! (Just trying to ramp up the tension there…) No fewer than 23 ladies came along, and with us four founding members (Debbie, Jayne, Kate and Andrea) that makes 27 potential members already. Yes, we’re pleased! We sampled the cakes and drank the coffee and tea pots dry, we tried a bit of knitting or crochet or sewing or painting or whatever we fancied, and we chatted about what we can all do as a group as we go forward. Now for a peek at what we did…

Some of us sewed roses from ribbon and fabric scraps, and a few of us produced beautifully painted roses on fabric.

A shout out has to go to Kate for serving at the hatch! (We'll get her a nice tabard for next time)

And of course it was all very sociable too!

So there you go, that's our first little gathering already behind us, we can scarcely believe it. Now it's onwards and upwards to our next meeting on Saturday 27th October, same time (11am), same place (St John's Church Hall). We will be having more of a formal meeting this time to introduce ourselves and have a group discussion about our aims and plans, and also to hear a little more about the WI on a national level from Helena Harrington (the Chairman of the West Yorkshire Federation) and Edith Cheesbrough (the WI representative who has been very helpfully guiding us through the membership process). We will be having a 'vote' (just a show of hands really!) to confirm our intentions of becoming a bona fide WI branch, and then Helena will return to our November 24th meeting to officially inaugurate us (yippeee!!!) To get back to October though, after our meeting we'll be having a shared lunch (how civilised!), and then we'll be having a lovely crafty workshop, making candles from vintage tea cups. There will be a charge for the workshop which we will keep to a minimum to cover costs (£5 or under).

Come back soon and we'll tell you all about it. Bye for now!