Olveston & Tockington Women's Institute
OLVESTON & TOCKINGTON W.I. is part of the National Federation of Women's Institutes which, with over 210,000 members and some 6,812 W.I.s, forms the largest Organisation for Women in the U.K. It was formed in 1915 to revitalise the rural communities and 2015 saw its centenary. Olveston & Tockington W.I. was formed in 1918, which makes us one of the oldest in the Country.
We belong to the National Federation of Women's Institutes and also to the Avon Federation of Women's Institutes. The Organisation has seen many changes over the years and it is interesting to see that we now have many younger W.I.s coming into being. The W.I. has definitely moved with the times. Recent campaigns have included highlighting the problem of Violence against Women, Saving the Honey Bee, the Employment of more Midwives, and Increasing Organ Donation.
The W.I. owns Denman College at Abingdon, which offers a wide-ranging set of residential and non-residential courses including Tai Chi, Body Fit Camps, Photography, Art & Craft, Languages and Writing Skills. As education has always formed a key role in the W.I., courses are also held to help members get online and learn Computer Skills, Digital Storytelling, Making the most of Webcams and how to creatively keep in touch with friends and family.
At Avon Federation level, our EGM and AGM are held at Weston-super-Mare, and feature well-known speakers such as Sharon Davis Olympic Swimmer, Pippa Greenwood TV & Radio Gardening expert, and Susan Lewis the Writer who was born in Kingswood, to name just some of the recent ones. It also highlights many important local issues such as the Bristol MS Therapy Centre at Bradley Stoke, the Hospice Movement and Keep our Libraries. The Federation is divided into several Groups and we belong to the Severn Bridge Group which consists of 7 W.I.s. The other members are Almondsbury, Lower Almondsbury, Pilning & Severn Beach, Compton, Bradley Stoke and Westbury-on-Trym.
At local level, our monthly meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month in the Parish Hall at 7.30 p.m. Invited speakers talk about a wide range of topics.
The remaining evenings are taken up by Social evenings e.g. Skittles, American Supper and an Annual Dinner at a local hostelry.
Within our Institute, there are various smaller groups which take part in such activities as Skittles, Table Tennis and Book Group. We go on trips to places like the Bristol Hippodrome, Berkeley Castle, the Theatre Royal at Bath and Tredegar House to name just a few. The picture below shows a visit to Berkeley Castle.
We raise funds for local Charities and each year a different charity is chosen.
Details of upcoming meetings are regularly published in the community magazine, Meeting Point.
The W.I. is only as good as the women who join and it has therefore always put a great importance on being a welcoming organisation. We have been told that we are a very friendly bunch and we are always pleased to greet visitors so, if you feel like coming along, we should be very happy to see you and you will be made most welcome. For any more information, please ring either Liz Belston (Secretary) on 01454 613743 or Kim Prewett (President) on 01454 614210.