Annual General Meeting – May 2017- 100 years of WI

The AGM was not all business!  We started off the proceedings with a game – What’s in your handbag  We each were given a list of items which scored points, and the person with the most points won the prize  the listed items included the basics such as lipsticks and train tickets but also had items such as Swiss Army knives!

We had a review of the previous year and a review of the accounts.  Helena Harrington from West Yorkshire Federation was in attendance.

We had a very interesting talk entitled ‘100 years of WI’ given by Gill Brown.  It was full of interesting facts and photographs telling us the history of the WI.  Gill informed us about the most influential women, why the WI started and how it had had a big revival in recent years.

She told us about how the groups differ to suit the community of women that attend and informed us that there are WI groups in some prisons.  However the groups differ , the focus of each group is around having fun, meeting people, gaining new skills and new experiences.

The evening ended with new members being voted onto our committee and the usual beverages and cake.



Invite: Mindfulness in March

Hi everyone,

This month HBWI member Sarah Long will be teaching us about Mental Health First Aid and mindfulness – with the aid of chocolate! I know Sarah has been working hard on her presentation and I’m sure it’s going to be interesting.

We will also have photographer Sarah Mason at this month’s meeting. She will be taking photographs so we can make a much-needed publicity leaflet. If you don’t want your photograph used in this way, please let Sarah or one of the committee know on the night.

The meeting is on Monday 16th March. As usual, the doors open at 7-ish for a 7.30pm start and guests are welcome to attend for £3.

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Invite: Recipes of Resistance

Hi everyone,

The next HBWI meeting is on Monday 16th February and doors open at 7-ish for a 7.30pm start. Guests welcome for £3.

Hilly Fletcher of The Halifax Friends Of Palestine is our guest this month with a varied and delicious presentation about the work they do with Jameela’s Kitchen, a women’s co-operative in Gaza. We’ll get to watch authentic Palestinian dishes being assembled and then get to taste them, which I’m sure will be popular.

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West Yorkshire Federation AGM


The great news is that the West Yorkshire Federation has welcomed 4 new WIs in the last 12 months and made a surplus in the financial stakes, which is a relief after the organisation hit a deficit the previous year.  There was the sad news that 3 WIs in the area have been suspended, but despite this membership has increased making an overall positive report for our area.  The Women’s Institute will celebrate its centenary in 2015 and there was an emphasis on keeping the organisation moving forward to celebrate another 100 years.

Ruth Bond addresses the AGM

Ruth Bond, Chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes spoke to the audience giving us an insight to the varied work she undertakes on behalf of the WI and reminding us that the decision makers in the UK often look to the organisation for our opinion on a number of matters.  This highlighted how important it is to vote for our resolutions and pay attention to the issues that become mandates.  In the last 12 months Ruth has travelled to Malawai to report on infant mortality rates, given talks on the WI’s stance on climtae change in Holland, Sweden and Poland, and is being asked to attend numerous renewable energy events, which is a WI mandate from 1977.

Ruth Bond in the audience

The National Federation has a number of ideas of how to celebrate the centenary of the Women’s Institute.  There’s going to be competitions, exhibitions and lovely gifts as well as a few amendments to the Consititution to help keep the organisation up to date and celebrate success in the 21st Century.  Ruth Bond is a great advocate of the modern WI and wants to see young and old members working together to create an exciting place for women to meet.

Cheryl Cooper and Bridget Croft, book sellers extraordinaire

Hebden Bridge WI did their bit to raise funds for the West Yorkshire Federation by running the book stall on the day.  Our book swap would have had a field day, with paperbacks for 50p and hardbacks for £1.  It was difficult to resist the temptation, and we all went home with a stack of new books to enjoy.

Written and posted by Amy

Annual General Madness

3 WI enthusiasts; Ruth Bond, Amy Leader and Helena Harrington (L to R)

We were absolutely delighted to welcome Helena Harrington, President of the West Yorkshire Federation of Women’s Institutes and Ruth Bond, the Chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes to our first AGM.  No pressure then.

We celebrated everything we have achieved in the past 12 months (you can read the annual report below), announced the 2012 committee and Amy Leader was relected as President.  We then moved swiftly on and introduced Julie Cunningham from HIPP, who told us about her business, handed out kits and prepared the crocheters in the group to pass on top tips to the rest of the group.

Experimenting with our kits
Members pass on their crochet skills
Amy hopes she looks like she knows what she’s doing

The evening was topped off with a brief talk from Ruth Bond who declared the Hebden Bridge group as her dream WI.  We are all very proud that the National Chair got stuck in to crochet and cake and celebrated Hebden Bridge’s unique approach to the history and significance of Women’s Institutes.  Our next 12 months are sure to be marvellous.

Ruth Bond declares Hebden Bridge as her “dream WI”

2012 Annual Report…

The Hebden Bridge WI has just celebrated its first birthday and we’ve had an awful lot of fun together in those 12 months.
With the help of local businesses we have:
  • ·         Learnt how to make cocktails (and tested them to make sure they were OK) at Moyles
  • ·         Practised vintage hairstyles with Zeitgeist
  • ·         Participated in a tea tasting with Hebden Tea
  • ·         Learnt how to make sushi with Chipps
  • ·         Heard about the amazing work of Overgate Hospice
  • ·         Learnt how to measure our bodies for dressmaking with Jo Harris
With the help of talented members of the group we have:
  • ·         Had a brilliant photography workshop with Sarah Mason
  • ·         Learnt or taught others to knit with Helen Baron
  • ·         Perfected sewing skills with Bridget Kenningham, Sue Mellis and Helen Baron
  • ·         Learnt the 1940s stroll, the Charleston stroll and the New York stroll with Caroline Burton and Helen Baron.
  • ·         Learnt to gift wrap with myself
  • ·         Heard all about the benefits of colonic irrigation from Suzanne Winfield
Thank you to all of you that have led and participated in these meetings and create the atmosphere that means we keep turning up each month to learn new skills and meet new friends.
Thanks to everyone who has brought a fabulous selection of edible treats over the past 12 months.  Let’s face it, if we’re not sure about the meeting topic, the thought of cake swings it.
Our proudest achievement has been our collection of 60 shoes boxes full of toiletries for local women’s refuges which were delivered at the beginning of 2012.
As a group we have also assisted with the yarnstorming at Hebden Bridge Arts Festival.
The textile committee has organised 2 very successful rag markets and are currently organising the biggest to date with a 2 day event in the new town hall on 30th June and 1st July.  The rag market is our main fundraising stream and the new committee will discuss ideas on how to use this income at their first meeting.
We have other sub committees that meet regularly and irregularly.  These are the book swap, the walking group, the film lovers, the art lovers and the gardeners are just getting up and running.  All members of Hebden Bridge WI are invited to join in with any of these groups at any time by signing up at a monthly meeting or by just turning up to the committee.  We let you know about dates and times on our Facebook page and on our blog.
Amy Leader.  President of Hebden Bridge WI 2011.
Written and posted by Amy

Welcome to the HBWI blog

And it’s about time, too! This blog is still under construction, but soon it will be full of information for members and non-members alike. We’ll be adding regular meeting and group updates, pictures galore, and lots of cool links and event information and whatnot. Don’t forget to also check the WI Links to keep up to date with other WI events and groups.

We’re only two months old, but we already have 60 members. Whoa! Amy, our faithful leader, is working hard to find a local venue large enough to accommodate the group.

We’ve had two fabulous meetings so far, the first of which was a cocktail making workshop at Moyles (photos by Sarah Mason).

Apo, the charming general manager of Moyles, taught us how to make a Mojito, a Cosmopolitan, and a special Moyles Iced Tea Punch. Afterwards, we all got to try one of the delicious cocktails for free and had a great time shmoozing around the bar.

Apo having a drink with Amy Leader, founder and president of the Hebden Bridge WI.

On the left is Caroline, the treasurer. On the right is Erin, the secretary.

We’ve had many suggestions for smaller groups, which are just starting to form. We’ll provide regular updates on these so all HBWI members have a chance to join. So far we have a book group, a film group, a theatre group, a gardening group, and a coffee group.
We’ve also started swapping things!
  • Bring leftover seeds to a meeting and swap them for something you can use. 
  • Dig out some unwanted clothes to donate, or drop them into Ribbon Circus between meetings.  Members can purchase clothes for £1 per item, and the money will go to fund our WI events. 
  • Have a useful skill to swap? Bartering is a wonderful way to exchange without money. You can jot down your skills at a meeting and see if anyone is interested in trading.
So check back now and then to see what good stuff we’ve added to the blog, and if you haven’t been to a meeting yet, please come along!

Written and posted by Erin