Welcome to Harwell WI.
Our monthly face to face meetings will resume when Harwell Village Hall has reopened and it is safe to meet in Cherry Hall. Until then, we have Zoom meetings with speakers.
Members receive the Harwell WI Snapshot with news and other items while we are unable to meet up. We have had Zoom meetings since August 2020, see previous events in the Programme page for more details. There is a phone cascade to keep in touch with members during periods of lockdown.
In normal times, we meet on the second Wednesday of every month (except August) at 7.30 pm in the Cherry Hall at Harwell Village Hall, High Street, Harwell OX11 0EX. You can be sure of a warm welcome.
There has been a thriving WI in Harwell since 1921 and it is as relevant today as it was when it was launched. The Centenary of Harwell WI has been celebrated in 2021. We have planted 100 nerine bulbs in the Village Hall garden and 100 fritillary bulbs at Harwell Rec to mark the occasion. Our WI started on 21 May 1921. We currently have 51 members of all ages and backgrounds.
Membership was due on 1st April 2021 and costs £33 with the Harwell WI discount (£44 at full price).
For that you get:
- Membership of Harwell WI with a year’s programme of events bursting with ideas
- Belonging to the largest women’s voluntary organisation in the UK
- The opportunity to learn, develop and pass on new skills as well as making friends and having fun
- Supporting the local community
- Eight issues a year of the WI membership magazine WI Life
- Ten issues of Oxfordshire Inspires, the WI magazine for Oxfordshire including Zoom events
- Having your voice heard: making a real impact on local, national and international issues
- Each year resolutions on national issues are discussed and voted on in every WI in the country. The resolutions are usually presented to the Government, so the WI is a force to be taken seriously
- Social groups within Harwell WI including monthly Walk&Talk and weekly Knit and Natter on Zoom.
- Denman at Home See current listing for Denman lectures including history, yoga, cookery and sewing classes.
- Oxfordshire WI Events See current listing of talks from Oxfordshire WI.
Harwell WI Centenary 1921-2021
We managed to mark the centenary event as best we could. Although the Centenary bunting outside Cherry Hall was temporary we do all have our wonderful mugs handcrafted by Terry Doughty, a potter, who lives in the village. Many thanks again to Terry for making these wonderful mementos which we can all treasure.
We used the mugs at the Centenary Coffee Morning on Zoom and many WI members met face to face for the first time since last summer at our Centenary Garden Party on 7 July in a member’s garden.
Since the first lockdown on 23 March 2020 until the end of 2020:
WI committee is very aware that a core element of WI is the monthly meetings, and we are missing out on socialising with one another at these. Friendship and community are vital components of who we are as a group. An alternative is to invite our speakers to give their talks via Zoom. Many of us have been on a learning curve with Zoom since lockdown. With Zoom we can see members’ faces and have meetings for those who have already embraced Zoom for their exercise classes and to communicate with their families. Members have been encouraged to join Zoom meetings with practical help.
Harwell WI has hosted five Zoom WI meetings in 2020 with speakers starting in August 2020 including a quiz. In August David Marsh on Walks from Harwell, September Al Sylvester on Antartica, October Jane Thick on Women in Paintings, November Nasio Trust in Abingdon and Kenya, December Trivial Pursuit Quiz with Jan Fox-Davies, January Jenny Mallin on Memsahibs in India, February Lynda Swan on The Microbiome: the missing link to gut health, brain health and metabolic disease.
Snapshot, our monthly members newsletter, continued in lockdown from April onwards including photos, quizzes and links to websites to entertain.
Restrictions on meeting up meant that we had to rearrange two celebrations. Two picnics were held in the Harwell Recreation ground. One to celebrate 105 years of WI and the other was instead of a planned meal at the Hart of Harwell for members.
On 8 May VE Day Harwell WI decorated Harwell Village Hall with pennants. Members contributed their VE Day memories.
Birthday cards were given, and a Christmas card was delivered to every member.
The monthly Walk & Talk group walked when allowed, weekly Knit and Natter met and knitted on Zoom.
A phone cascade to members during each of the lockdowns started.
On 9 Dec 4pm Harwell WI Afternoon Tea was organised with a teabag and poem delivered to every member.
We planted 100 nerine bulbs in the Village Hall garden and 100 fritillary bulbs in the Rec for Harwell WI Centenary in 2021. We used the WI Bulb Scheme to buy the bulbs.
Three bags of sanitary products donated by members were taken to SOFEA food bank in Didcot to be distributed to women’s groups.
Members have access to Oxfordshire WI Zoom events with speakers and Denman Zoom lectures, yoga, cooking and sewing classes.
We have access to unlimited time on Zoom for WI Committee meetings and Members meetings so are not constrained by the 40-minute limit for Zoom meetings.
The committee have had monthly meetings on Zoom which has helped enormously to organise these actions.
The WI is here to inspire you. The WI is all about inspiring women. It’s a rich source of experiences, knowledge and skills passed down through generations and updated every day. We play a unique role in village life.
The WI is everything you want it to be. Women of all ages are offered opportunities. For some women it’s to make new friends in the village, for others it’s to catch up with existing friends, to learn, to widen their horizons and take part in issues which matter to us and the community.
The WI is what you make of it. We offer women the chance to join and be involved in the way that suits them. It’s all there for members to take part in as little or as much as they like.
Our main focus is on monthly meetings, but you will see us involved in many varied village events including a WI float at the Harwell Feast each year. WI cakes from those members who bake are requested for village events.
Harwell WI at Harwell Feast 2019, “Strictly Come Dancing”.