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The Women’s Institute

In 2015 the Women’s Institute (WI) celebrates its centenary and during its 100 year history it has campaigned for key social changes, educated women through its own ‘Denman College’ and provided a huge variety of opportunities for women. The WI is now the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK and currently has over 210,000 members in around 6,600 WIs.

The first Women’s Institute was formed as a branch of the Farmer’s Institute in 1897 at Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada. The WI movement in Britain started in 1915, during the First World War, to encourage countrywomen to get involved in growing and preserving food to help the war-torn nation. The first  one was at Llanfair PG, on Anglesey, North Wales on September 16th 1915.

Hatch Beauchamp WI

Hatch Beauchamp WI began in May, 1926. It boasts a diverse crowd of women, young and older, who make up a lively, friendly group of about 50 members.

We extend a warm welcome to all new members who have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities locally, countywide with Somerset Federation and nationally.

Our members share skills in our craft group which meets fortnightly on a Wednesday afternoon. We have a skittles team, a keep fit set and members can take part in our group activities including competitions and quizzes. Plus there are ample opportunities to join in other events throughout the year.

Social occasions include theatre visits, outings to historic houses, organised walks, an Annual Spring Dinner and taking part in fund raising activities to name but some.

At our regular meetings (2nd Thursday of each month at 19:15 in Hatch Beauchamp village hall) we are entertained with a guest ‘speaker’. These are wide ranging – illustrated talks (‘Notes from my Exmoor Diary’, ‘Slovakia: Europe’s best kept secret’); demonstrations (Italian cooking, hearing dogs); or interactive participation (singing, Tai Chi).

In June 2013 a small group of members decorated a ‘WI’ window in Curry Mallet church as part of the Curry Mallet History weekend. Similarly some members were so inspired by our June talk ‘Behind the scenes of The Taunton Flower Show that in August HBWI entered and won 1st prize in the WI section.

HBWI provides a friendly and safe environment with regular opportunities for women to meet and enjoy the company of others.  We are so much more than ‘jam and Jerusalem’!  For more information on what the WI can offer you check out www.thewi.org.uk or contact Jacky Barnes (HBWI President) on 01823 480966 or email cliveandjackybarnes@hotmail.com.