Stokie WI at “crisis point”

Stoke Newington Womens' Institute decorate trees for International Women's Day

Stoke Newington Womens' Institute decorate trees for International Women's Day - Credit: Archant

Stoke Newington Women’s Institute is on its last legs its organisers have warned, if no one comes forward to take over the helm.

The old-fashioned women’s organisation was set up four years ago in Stoke Newington by Angela Rangecroft, who saw the potential to take the traditional countryside women’s organisation into the modern day capital.

Many women flocked to the meetings to engage in topical discussions with MP Diane Abbott about the prison system, to meet over food tasting evenings and make giant knitted scarves and pompoms to wrap around trees to mark International Women’s Day.

When she moved to Norfolk two years later she passed over the mantle of Presidency to Kate Azurdia, who along with Secretary Claire-Louise Hardie have seen the group flourish.

But the pair don’t feel they can dedicate enough time to the organisation, and are ready to step down.

They have warned that the group is in “crisis” unless willing women can take on their responsibility.

“Unless we get some people to help us run the programme of events it might have to be suspended, we just need to share the workload,” said Ms Azurdia who works for a brand consultancy and lives in Abney Gardens.

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“We need a bigger force of women, it takes a lot to organise the programme and the behind the scenes stuff that no one sees, it would be great to have some new blood who could bring new speakers in to the mix.”

This month a contestant Tilly from The Great British Sewing Bee came to talk to the group, next month a social media expert will share tips about Twitter, and in November a salmon smoker will teach the ladies how to smoke salmon in time for Christmas.

“I’ve learned loads from running it, it’s been incredible to meet with so many people from different backgrounds, careers and stages in life, I’ve made some great friends and learned so much from our speakers, and I’m caring about the community more than ever before,” said Ms Azurdia.

“The overarching thing is that no one wants it to shut down, it’s just a call out for people to help for people to be on board,” she added.

“It’s really an important part of the community.”

The group meets on the second Monday of every month, for more information see, or email