Where & when do you meet?
Can I visit a meeting before joining?
Yes, you are very welcome to come along as a visitor; there’s no need to let us know in advance – we’d love to meet you. Your first visit is on us, thereafter we ask for a donation – ultimately we’d love it if you’d then become a Stone Rangers member!
What are your members like?
We are a lively and very mixed group who range in age from 30 to 70+ and include teachers, medics, professionals, retirees and students. What we all have in common is that we want to meet other women, learn new things and support each other, our community and local causes.
What happens at your meetings?
Most people arrive a little earlier and get a glass of wine or a cup of tea from the bar. The food at the Heathcote is great and some people come straight from work and eat there too.
We open the doors to our meeting from 7:15pm to allow people to choose a seat and mingle. We usually have cakes to sell & raffle tickets to buy for our nominated charity and members will often bring along something for the foodbank we support.
The meeting will open with a welcome from our Co-Presidents, Christine and Jane, who’ll give an update on WI news from ourselves, plus anything we’ve been sent from our federation and NFWI.
We then have our main event which will either be a guest speaker or an activity. Past meetings have included talks from local historians, an international women’s day panel of a female fire fighter, a local female councillor and a magistrate telling us about their roles & our nominated charity coming in to tell us what they do and how we can make a difference. There’s always a chance for questions and we often have quite lively debates! Our activities have included soap making, quizzes, music bingo and beeswax food wrap making among many others.
The meeting comes to a close with the drawing of the raffle and a final address from the Co-Presidents after which people are welcome to stay and mingle if they wish.
Besides the monthly meetings, what else do you do?
In addition to our monthly meetings we have a social and activities subgroup ‘The Birds’ named in honour of Leytonstone’s famous son Alfred Hitchcock! The Birds get together for theatre trips, comedy nights, visits to restaurants and to explore the area. “The Birds” events are open to all our members, some are open to guests too, and we always welcome suggestions for social activities. Depending on the activity there may be a charge to attend.
We participate in National WI Campaigns, such as lobbying the government on climate change, representing our WI on national marches and attend NFWI events to support campaigns, such as the launch of the “In a Spin” report on microplastics in our laundry.
We fundraise, whether at our annual garden party or by arranging our own charity events and we support the local community by making face masks for Waltham Forest Council in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and attending annual community events such as the Leytonstone Get Together.
Do I have to be crafty or know how to knit/sew/crochet/bake/make jam to join?
Absolutely not! Some of our members enjoy crafting and baking, some don’t, and some really want to learn how! There is no requirement, though.
What level of commitment and involvement do you expect from members?
We understand that our members have busy lives, but Institutes thrive when every member takes full advantage of their membership. Ideally this involves attending the 11 monthly meetings, taking part in social events, joining in with the local events we are involved with and encouraging friends and family to join too! Plus, of course, any member is welcome to join the committee, the more the merrier! However, giving feedback & contributing ideas, buying raffle tickets or helping clear up at the end of our meetings are also vital and play a big part in our success.
So although nothing is expected, we think you get more out of it if you join in!
How much does it cost?
Membership for 2020 is £43 which gives you:
- access to 11 monthly meetings and to our social subgroup, The Birds
- exclusive opportunities to attend events, trips and get involved with national WI campaigns
- chances to get involved with other local organisations and charities
- Access to the members only website, My WI
- 8 copies of WI Life, the WI magazine, delivered straight to your door
- endless opportunities to learn, laugh and be part of something amazing!
To join Stone Rangers WI please contact us or come along to one of our meetings where you can join on the spot!
Can I bring a family member to a meeting?
Yes! Mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and cousins etc. Everyone is welcome as long as they are over 18 and self-identify as female.
Unfortunately, we unable to accommodate anyone under 18 years, this includes babies in arms.
Can men join/visit?
No, the Women’s Institute is only for women. Anyone self-identifying as female is very welcome to attend our monthly meetings and join as members.
We do, however from time to time have male speakers/activity leaders visit us and we also open some of our social subgroup, “The Birds“, outings to friends/family and we will stipulate when this includes men as well.
How do I join the committee?
Every January we hold our Annual General Meeting and this is when our members can put themselves forward to join the committee. You may wish to take one of the main “officer” roles (President, Secretary or Treasurer), which are required in order to operate as an institute, or a more general role.
If you’d be interested in joining, please email us or speak to a member of the current committee for more details.
How do you pick your speakers/how can I become a speaker?
Each year our Committee plan the upcoming year’s calendar using feedback and requests the members have given previously. If you would like be a speaker or have an idea for a meeting, please email us with your suggestions.
Are you a political organisation?
The National Federation of Women’s Institutes are non-party political. We are, however, sometimes involved in political campaigns.
Are you a religious organisation?
The National Federation of Women’s Institutes are a non-sectarian organisation. People of all faiths, or none, are welcome.