Mangotsfield WI’s first meeting was on the 26th of July in 1976 in St James’ Church Hall where we meet today. Well, up until March of 2020 anyway! There were 20 members present and subs were £1. How some things have changed.

Over the past 12 months or so things have of course been significantly different but traditionally we aim to provide a varied mix of speakers and events throughout the year; endeavouring to cover a wide range of topics and also include social events at times other than our schedule meeting, such as the reading group and singing for fun. It is also important, especially at the moment, to support local businesses and so some of our socials are held around the locality.

We like to remember our members on their birthday and perhaps something extra special on those ‘big’ birthdays. Prior to lockdown we provided an annual bursary to help members visit Denman College; an opportunity to experience a courses in a wide range of subjects from cookery to music and art, even a singing trip down the Thames. Although Denman, the college itself, has not survived lockdown, some of the courses continue, as pretty much everything else, via Zoom

Our current President Carol Coombs, back in 2007, was asked what her WI meant to her and replied. “When I married I became known as my husband’s wife. When I had my son I became Andrew’s mum. Within my WI I am known by my name – Carol. The WI has provided me with a purpose; at a time when my son had left home and my husband worked long hours, I found the WI a place I could go to on my own in safety, find friends, a new sense of community and a warm welcome. At my WI I have done many things, become involved, enjoyed the company of many friends, developed and new social life and reinforced my own identity.”