New Croydon WI hopes to attract crafty ladies

Arizona library becomes community craft centre

Women's Institutes (WI) across the country are hoping to ditch their stereotypical image in the bid to attract diverse new members of all ages.

Three young mums have recently set up the Croydon WI branch and are hoping to appeal to a new generation of women who enjoy being crafty, baking and socialising with friends.

Speaking to the Croydon Advertiser, founders Amy Le Pelley, Florence Hallett and Abi Lynn - all in their mid-30s - said they wanted to be part of the WI revival.

Ms Le Pelley, the group's president, said: "The three of us have young children and although we value the support and friendship we get from the vast number of parenting groups in Croydon, especially Croydon NCT, we felt we wanted something that was about us."

She said that while people often view the WI as being about predominantly older women who live in rural communities this is not the case and membership around the UK has increased by a quarter in the past three years.

Ms Le Pelley explained: "More women are interested in learning skills such as crafting and baking thanks to television shows such as The Great British Bake Off and Kirstie's Handmade Britain."

She told the newspaper that the calendar of events will very much depend on what members want and added: "There aren’t many organisations where you can drink wine and knit at the same time if you want to. It is also important to maintain the older traditions from previous generations and pass them on to future generations".

The group is currently called Croydon's Crafty Crumpets and will be officially recognised by the Women's Institute in October.

Formed in 1915, the WI currently encompasses around 6,600 groups around the UK with over 210,000 members.

It will be celebrating its centenary in 2015, meaning now could be a great time to get involved and learn new skills.

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