A view of Stoke Gabriel Creek

About the WI

The Women’s Institute (WI) was formed in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the organisation’s aims have broadened and the WI is now the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK. The WI celebrated its centenary in 2015 at which time it had 212,000 members and over 6300 WI’s. The WI play a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.

Arts, sports, leisure and science.

From competitions, astronomy, earthquakes, writing, photography and drama to walking, dancing, and circus skills, the WI has something for everybody.

Floral art and gardening

The WI offers a wide variety of opportunities for members to develop their floral art skills.

Food and cooking

The WI is synonymous with good food and its preparation and these traditions of healthy well made food and preserves continue in a wide range of activities.


Craft has always played an important role within the WI. Members are offered a wide range of craft opportunities, to develop their existing skills and learn new ones.

Introducing WI Campaigns

The WI has a long history of campaigning on a wide range of issues. WI campaigns are about changing things for the better and tackling the issues that matter to members.  Members are at the heart of the WI and they play a central role in bringing issues onto the WI’s national agenda through our public affairs and campaigning.  From equal pay to climate change, from gaps in the midwifery workforce to the plight of the honey bee, WI members have embraced a diverse set of challenges and built a reputation for the WI as a practical and ambitious organisation that doesn’t shy away from tricky issues.  Our resolutions and mandates process means every campaign starts within our membership.

Denman College

Denman College is the WI’s own Residential and Day Adult Education College near Oxford.  It is a graceful Georgian house, set in 17 acres of beautiful grounds, named after the first NFWI Chairman, Lady Denman.  Over the years, most of the money needed to buy, develop and maintain the College has been raised by the members. Denman College offers first class tutors, day schools and taster days. Residential courses last 2, 3 or 4 days, with top class teaching facilities and small classes. It offers 4 star hotel accommodation with excellent food and service.