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News release/SH/Nov2011

The Women’s Institute has chosen Pembrokeshire College’s branch as a model for work-place WIs. The college has had a WI since March 2009 and was the first work-place WI to be set up in England and Wales. The group has 23 members and has advised other organisations on setting up a work-based group. Now the college’s group is to be featured in a forthcoming guide produced by the WI to boost membership nationally to quarter of a million.

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The WI sought answers to ‘What is the WI?’ to glean an up-to-date impression of how the WI has changed and developed since its beginnings.

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Emma James, current president of the Pembrokeshire College WI was interviewed by the organisation’s head office and her comments have also helped the WI promote the concept of having a presence in non-traditional locations that reflect the reality of women’s lives.

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‘I couldn’t get to local meetings because after a long day in work, my priority is my family in the evenings – so attending the WI in work seemed logical to me – and I then found other colleagues in the same situation’, explained Emma. Working women are a growing group within the organisation. Holding meetings and events delivered at a workplace seemed the next logical step for the organisation as it seeks to respond to women’s wishes to have a sense of community with each other in the work place. The National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI), is the largest voluntary organisation for women in the UK, currently boasting 210,000 members in England, Wales and the Islands. The WI plays a strong 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, including campaigning and being a voice for women at the highest levels, such as the high mf/

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profile campaigns that have informed governments and assisted in moulding legislation.

Picture 1: Workplace WI: Emma James, Pembrokeshire College’s current WI President lives in a rural community but found attending local meetings difficult due to work and family commitments. Picture 2: Meeting the needs of working women: Emma James, current president; Sara Jenkins, treasurer; Fiona Gray, secretary and Jo Tytler, at Pembrokeshire College.

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Sarah Hoss, PR & communications Text/talk: 07949 087 111

Marketing and PR Pembrokeshire College Twitter: @PembsCollege E-mail: marketing@pembs.ac.uk Tel: 01437 753162 Merlin’s Bridge Haverfordwest SA61 1SZ news.pembrokeshire.ac.uk

WI Opens in the Workplace  

Nice piece about opening a WI in the workplace - appeared in local press and Western Mail 2011.

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