Be on the lookout for free bunches of flowers to take home next week – posies are being left at public places throughout the country by members of Women’s Institute.
The Lonely Bouquet Initiative is spreading the word that the WI is alive and kicking and looking to recruit new members, says Sarajane Crookes, president South Auckland Federation.
Members have been asked to make up posies using garden or roadside flowers and attach a postcard explaining where they are from. These will be left at the doctor’s surgery, cafe, outside shops, on park benches or on buses – “…anywhere you know someone will find it and brighten their day and spread the WI word.”
It is part of National WI Awareness week, Monday 8 to Sunday 14 October. The organisation was created 97 years ago to encourage and support all women within their communities, wherever they are, whatever their need.
Sarajane told Number 8 Network the idea for the flower posies came from England. “I saw it on social media last year and thought what a great way to spread the WI word and give back. I know of one other group that did it somewhere in NZ a couple of months ago.”
There has been a decline of members in recent years. “We have around 4000 members around the country, but want younger women to join. It only costs $45 per year which includes our WI Home and Country publication.”
WI is active in cities and small communities, with groups as small as six and as large as 80-plus, with members ranging in age from under 10 to over 90.
“For many years, we have operated almost under the radar, people are sometimes surprised we are still around, but during WI Awareness Week members from across the country will be out and about in communities in a number of different ways.”
Members have donated knitting, baking, groceries, hospital dolls, emergency hospital bags and thousands of dollars each year to causes up and down the country, she said.
“The list is long. The ladies work tirelessly and have for many years given back to their communities in this way.”
The core values of WI are the same as when it was founded in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada, by Adelaide Hoodless in 1897.
“Fun, friendship and making communities a better place to live is at the heart of WI.”
For more information about Women’s Institute, contact Sarajane Crookes 021 2942180