1. What do I get for my membership fee?

Membership fees are set by the National WI.Great Bookham Belles WI is a new and growing organisation, founded in October 2014! As a member you can contribute and influence how it grows and what we can all learn, build and experience through it.Joining us entitles you to attend our meetings and sub-groups for one year. You can take part in activities, learn new crafts and skills, and practice old ones, teach others and hear interesting talks from speakers and as we are a very social group, meet like minded local women! Many of our members are very busy women and have commented that they have found our meetings to be a safe-haven from having to do anything else for a couple of hours. Each of our meetings involves a short business meeting followed by a speaker, who sometimes runs a workshop.We also have extras like our sub-groups (book clubs, Film and Theatre Club, Crafts and Laughs group, The Inn Crowd, Walking Group etc),  our  trips e.g. gin tasting, Christmas Market Shopping and our fund-raising events.You also gain membership of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes and have access to the WI Life magazine, Surrey WI News and newsletters. This wider WI membership allows us all to be a part of national WI campaigns to make a difference in society.

2. When and where do you meet?

We meet on the thirdWednesday of the month from 7.30PM to 10.00PM, usually at the wonderful venue of Manor House School, Manor House Lane, Little Bookham. Please see the calendar page of this website for information about extra events, subgroups and specific dates, times and venues.

3. Why can’t members promote their own businesses through the WI?

Women’s Institutes are charities which can support other local charities for the area of that WI which meet their charitable objectives. While the Great Bookham Belles WI can be a great place for people to network as well as make friends and learn new skills, we cannot promote or advertise any business or other venture.

Great Bookham Belles WI and the NFWI do not view promoting your business as synonymous with our supporting the community. Local business groups exist which you can use to support the community in this way. If a local business makes a contribution or supports us we will thank them for this, but cannot go further for example in advertising sales and putting links up to websites.

Many women find the WI a helpful place to feel that they can have a good experience without being bombarded with advertisements.  Although it can be tempting, the WI is not a free platform to advertise to a captive audience. We can support certain local charities but not businesses. As a charity we must be mindful of our charitable objectives and not attempt to take advantage of the WI and the membership fees paid by all of us to gain free advertising.

While the Great Bookham Belles WI encourages its members to shop locally in general, we can’t specifically put adverts out to our members for your particular business. We can accept a discount for members if you wish to offer one, and if you have something related to your business, your skills or the town to offer as a talk/workshop, please do let us know.

Please see the NFWI Constitution for further information regarding our charitable objectives. The NFWI states that these are:

“To enable women who are interested in issues associated with rural life, including arts, crafts and sciences, to improve and develop conditions of rural life, to advance their education in citizenship, in public questions both national and international, in music, drama and other cultural subjects and in all branches of agriculture, handicrafts, home economics, health and social welfare. It seeks to give women the opportunity of working together through the Women’s Institute organisation and of putting into practice those ideals for which it stands.”

We hope that if you hope to use the Great Bookham Belles WI to network, you feel able to do this by chatting with like-minded people at our meetings, and we hope that local business owners know that we wish them well. We appreciate that it is hard to run a business or start your own venture and we can understand how tempting it might be to see a large number of local women and think of the money they could bring you, especially when all it would take would be a few lines of text and the click of a button. Many women in the Great Bookham Belles WI also have businesses, other ventures and hectic work and home lives and find it useful to switch-off from work mode at meetings. We hope that you can understand and share our charitable objectives too.

4. How do I join?

Before you join you are welcome to attend one of our meetings as a visitor as long as you email us in advance to check availability.

Great Bookham Belles WI started with 100 members, due to the amazing and overwhelming interest.  Because we had so many people wanting to join at the beginning of 2015 we increased our membership to 120 members, the maximum amount of people our venue can take. Even so we now have a full membership and a fairly lengthy waiting list.

If you would like to be added to our waiting list please email us direct.   In the meantime you are welcome to attend up to 3 of our meetings at a nominal charge of £5.00 per meeting, again please email us.

Alternatively please contact the following WI Groups that meet locally; all would be pleased to welcome new members and visitors may go along to a meeting first before they join:

The Bookhams WI

Fetcham Village WI

Mole Valley WI

Bookham Butterflies WI

Bookham Bees WI

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