Essex Federation covers a huge geographical area, from the more industrial south, along the beautiful coastline and into the more rural villages in the north of the county. We are the largest Federation with approximately 9,000 members in 214 Institutes
Our WI Office is in Hatfield Peverel, easily accessible from the A12, not far from our County City of Chelmsford. Stansted Airport is on the western border.
WI meetings usually follow a pattern, meeting either in the morning, afternoon or evening with a Speaker or Demonstrator, followed by refreshments with time to socialize. Information on forthcoming events within the WI are discussed as well as news from headquarters on national events, current campaign issues, competitions and items relating to activities within Essex. Many WIs also meet during the month for more specialist activities often a book or lunch club, rambling or craft group or a choir or drama section.
The Aim of the WI is:
To offer opportunities for all women to enjoy friendship, to learn, to widen their horizons and together to influence local, national and international affairs.
About the Women’s Institute:
The Women’s Institute started in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada in 1897 as a ‘self help’ group for farmer’s wives. Adelaide Hoodless’s youngest child had died from drinking contaminated milk and she was determined that it shouldn’t happen to other children. She set up the Women’s Institute with the aim of educating and supporting its members which is a tradition the WI upholds to-day. Since its inception the WI has been non-sectarian and non-party political. However, as the largest women’s organisation in the country, we are a force to be reckoned with and continually campaign for changes and improvements to the position of women and that of their families. We pride ourselves on the fact that all members pay the same subscription and are equal in all ways.
Mrs Alfred Watt brought the idea of WI to Great Britain in 1915 and the first meeting was held on September 16th in Lanfairpwll on the Isle of Anglesey. Subscription to the WI was set at 2/- (10 pence).
The organisation spread quickly throughout England and Wales and The Federation of Essex Women’s Institutes, FEWI, was formed in 1917 and now has 200 plus WIs with some 8,500 plus members. Both Scotland and Northern Ireland have similar organisations in The Scottish Rural Women’s Institute and the Northern Ireland WI.
We are a limited company with Charitable status and are governed by our written Constitution. The Board of Trustees, consists of 14 WI members who are elected by the membership biennially. It is their responsibility to oversee the day-to-day running of the organisation. This committee is headed by the Federation Chairman, Jan Curtis.