Women's Institute membership surges by more than 18,000 this year

The charity says that the increase has been particularly strong in urban areas

WI: surge in interest
WI: surge in interest

More than 18,000 women have joined the Women’s Institute since January this year, according to figures supplied by the charity.

The latest figures show 104 new groups have been set up since the start of the year, taking its total membership to 212,000 members.

The WI partly attributes the surge in membership to the economic downturn, saying that traditional skills such as cake and jam-making have gained in popularity as the economy has faltered.

Growth has been particularly strong in urban areas and there are now more than 50 WIs in London.

Last week an estimated 350 women queued outside a church hall in Bristol where the inaugural meeting of the Bromley Heath branch was being held.

The charity said that women in their 20s, 30s and 40s were increasingly keen to join.

Janice Langley, chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, said: "We believe the WI has something for everyone. Members have told us that their WI meeting is the only opportunity they have to mix with women of different ages and they have made really good friends with people whom they otherwise wouldn’t have met."

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