From April, Sibford WI will cease to exist in its present form because our membership is now too low to be viable. Three years ago we had almost 30 members, but numbers have gradually declined due to house moves, frailty or family health problems. All genuine reasons.
We have tried very hard to attract new members by placing notices in the Sibford Scene, the most recent by Jan Warner in October 2015 pointing out that we are not all ‘Jam & Jerusalem’ and inviting guests to meetings to see for themselves. Some have taken up the offer and enjoyed the meetings but were unable to commit to regular attendance.
Normally a WI folds due to lack of essential officers such as President, Secretary or Treasurer. Sibford WI is in the unique position of having all three, but we are all getting older and there are no younger members to succeed us. This is a very sad situation, especially as Sibford WI was due to celebrate its 88th anniversary this November.
So, what is the way forward? Rather than close completely, it is hoped an ‘enlargement’ can be formed with Hook Norton WI, which would make it easier to restart Sibford WI at any time in the future. There are nine paid-up members in Sibford WI, two of whom have dual membership with Hook Norton WI. For an ‘enlargement’ to take place, official procedures have to be followed and a secret ballot held by all paid-up members of both Institutes. Oxfordshire Federation Women’s Institute Advisor, Jane Finnerty, will oversee the voting, which will take place at a Special Meeting of Hook Norton WI on 19 April. If passed, the membership of the remaining Sibford members will be transferred to Hook Norton WI.
Whatever the outcome, Sibford WI will continue its 2016 arranged programme to conclusion in August. We meet for our AGM on Tuesday 12 April.
Glennis Hardman, President, Sibford WI