What to expect

Time and place

We meet on the 3rd Monday of the month at The Town Hall, St. George’s Street, Hebden Bridge, HX7 7BY.

Meetings usually take place in the Waterfront Hall on the lower ground floor (go down the little steps, through the cafe and turn left). On very rare occasions we meet upstairs in The Terrace Room but this will always be clearly labelled in the programme.

Doors open at 7pm-ish to start the meeting at 7:30pm sharp. Please arrive early for your first meeting to sign in and have a chat.

Meetings finish at around 9pm, although we sometimes go on until 9.30pm.

Cost

Meetings are free for Hebden Bridge WI members. Visitors are welcome to attend for £4 although if you attend for more than two meetings, we will ask that you join (£39 per annum, subs due in January and it’s pro-rata if you’ve never been a member of a WI before) .

Most months we also play Stand Up Sit Down Bingo to raise money for our Charity Of The Year, which costs a further £1 but is entirely voluntary.

Occasionally a speaker will bring items to sell but this will always be mentioned beforehand in the President’s monthly email invite and on the programme page.

Accessibility

The venue is fully wheelchair accessible and there are two disabled parking bays directly outside. The hall is on the lower ground hall but there is a lift to the right of the steps. The disabled toilet is situated directly opposite the lift and doesn’t require a key.

Meetings are usually conducted without a microphone as the acoustics in the space are fairly good. However, there is a sound system and we can arrange to use this if required.

Please contact us to discuss any access requirements or concerns you may have and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

Structure of the meetings

Our secretary and treasurer (or other members of the committee) will be on the front desk ready to welcome you. They will take your details and payment and give you a name sticker to wear (we all wear name badges). You can also sign up for our email list.

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Polly our Vice President (left) and Caroline, our previous Treasurer (right)

We currently have around 60 members and there will usually be between 20-40 members at any given meeting. We welcome women of any age, ethnicity, sexuality , physical ability or jam-making skill. Trans-women are also very welcome. Many women assume that they’re too young for the WI and are surprised to discover that the majority of HBWI members are between 30-50, with some older members.

You’ll often find us sitting at round tables but if it’s a more formal presentation, we might have rows of chairs. Just sit wherever feels comfortable to you. We know it can be a bit nerve wracking the first time you come, but we promise people will be welcoming.

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Chatting before the meeting

We are a very informal WI. We do not sing Jerusalem at the start of meetings , there is the possibility of swearing (especially if the coin tossing in the bingo goes awry) and a good third of the group will probably be doing some kind of textile craft, so feel free to bring your knitting.

We start at 7.30pm with our President relaying the news and admin, which usually takes about 10-20 minutes. Then we have a quick round of Stand Up Sit Down Bingo or another quick game before going on to the main speaker or activity.

Depending on what we’re doing, we’ll either grab tea and cake at the beginning of the meeting or we’ll have a more formal tea break halfway through.

Tea and cake

Ah yes, the all-important tea and cake – so important, it gets its own section!

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Karen’s delicious meringues

We provide tea, instant coffee, herbal tea and juice. We do not currently charge for refreshments but welcome donations, which cover the annual refreshment expenses, with any extra going to our charity of the year.

Hot water is in the urns in the kitchenette, which is situated to the right as you come into the hall. Mugs are in two large boxes and will either be in the kitchenette or out on the table. You can bring your own mug if you wish but if you use a Town Hall mug, please wash & dry it and replace it in the box. We get fined if we leave dirty mugs but more importantly, we hate to make Joe The Caretaker sad because he’s very good to us.

We have a cake rota with three different members volunteering to provide cake every month. We are not snobby about our cakes – if you’ve signed up for the cake rota and find you don’t have time to bake, shop bought cake or biscuits are completely fine. Occasionally a member will bring cheese & crackers instead of cake, which is always popular.

Please feel free to help yourself to tea, coffee and cake when you arrive, although if you’re very early the tea trolley might not have arrived yet. And if you’re not sure where things are, just ask someone – we’re a friendly bunch and will be happy to help.

Interested?

..why not pop over to see the programme page and see what’s coming up next.

We hope to see you soon!

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