Welcome to the Scottish Women’s Institutes. Scotland’s leading member based organisation created by women in 1917, designed to bring women together, with a vision to welcome every woman in Scotland to join us.

We are here to educate, to share, to campaign, to learn, to socialise, to build a community and of course, to have fun.

From life skills and arts and crafts to raising awareness of current affairs affecting women and helping inform government issues, the SWI is proud of its heritage and our future vision.

Be part of the SWI. Join us to learn how to make that perfect scone… and a bit more too!

Inspired by the Daily Mail Recipes? Then join the SWI!

The Scottish Daily Mail is sharing recipes from the Scottish Women’s Institutes’ latest cook book this week – and today we reveal details of an exclusive offer to join the SWI online for half price.

If you’ve enjoyed the recipe selection, why not consider joining this progressive, energised and welcoming organisation?

Join the SWI and you will be joining one of Scotland’s largest member organisations for women, with 700 Institutes and 14,000 members, stretching from Shetland to the Borders.

Women get together in rural communities and urban areas to be educated and energised through a mutual interest in learning new things, socialising and having fun.

We’re focusing on the culinary skills of the SWI our recipe collection, but as well as having excellent bakers and cooks, the organisation has many handcraft gurus and creative creative crafters.

Even if baking and handcrafts are not your forte, there’s lots more going on at meetings, like upcycling, liqueur making, drumming workshops, yoga and mindfulness sessions.

National chairman Linda Retson says: “For over 100 years the SWI has offered inspiration, information sharing and friendship among women.

“It’s a great chance for women to take time out for themselves to meet up in the company of friends, to try new things and share experiences, and enjoy fun and friendship along the way.

“The SWI is an open and progressive organisation and new members will receive a warm welcome at any of our 700 Institutes located all over Scotland.”

So if you fancy joining inspiring and creative women, take advantage of the Scottish Daily Mail’s half price online membership offer. For just £22.50, online joiners will receive a year’s subscription of Women Together magazine and a membership number to show at their nearest or preferred Institute. The SWI website’s handy Institute Finder shows locations of Institutes across Scotland – from the Scottish Borders to Shetlands.

To qualify for half price membership, valid for one year, visit https://www.theswi.org.uk/join-the-swi.html and enter the code SDMHPM at the check out.

Offer expires on March 23. Ts and Cs apply.

 Half Price Online Membership Offer Terms and Conditions

This offer is only available to new online joiners and not to existing members.

This offer represents a saving of 50% on the annual online membership of £45.

This offer applies to the first 12 months of the membership. After 12 months the payment amount will revert to the standard rate.

New online joiners should be aware that they will have to pay a local levy at the Institute they join.

This promotion applies to individual membership paid online.

Closing date is midnight on 23 March 2019.

Please email  hello@theswi.org.uk  or call 0131 225 1724 with any queries concerning the membership details of this offer.


The SWI Bear

We would like to introduce OB – Office Bear. The bear was made by a former National Judge who gifted it to the SWI along with  other craft work. As the bear has been in Headquarters reception for a while, we thought he deserved a name and would like members to help us out. If you would like to enter, please email your suggestion to educ.int@theswi.org.uk. The competition will run until 28th February and the National Chairman will pick the winner out of a hat. The competition is open to everyone with no age limits and the prize is a SWI Goodie Bag.


Subscribe to the SWI monthly magazine for only £2.00 per issue
Like to receive your copy? Call us on 0131 225 1724 or email to find out more and to be added to our subscription list.
Click here to subscribe >

  • Keep up to date with all latest SWI news from around the country
  • Never miss an issue!

Learn about events, competitions, interesting features, Federation and Institute updates, Headquarter news plus browse our images showcasing monthly activities.

In this month's magazine

Highlights from the February issue include:

  • Para athelete Kayleigh Haggo goes for gold
  • Members become stars of the small screen
  • Lifting the lid on Raynaud’s Disease
  • The Batch Lady cooks up a storm
  • Win skincare collection
  • Gourmet Pet Treats a hit with cats, dogs – and horses!

 Plus letters, local and national news, reviews, puzzles

Order your copy, for £2 plus P&P, from subscriptions@theswi.org.uk

We welcome all members to contribute with their own images, articles and news. Simply email magazine@theswi.org.uk.

If you don't currently receive the magazine but would like to subscribe to keep up to date with SWI news and enjoy reading a variety of features please contact subscriptions@theswi.org.uk


Advertise in Women Together

Reach around 17,000 women throughout Scotland by advertising in  Women Together, the monthly magazine of the SWI.
Reasonable rates and special discounts.

Why Advertise?
The SWI has around 16,000 members throughout Scotland. Most are 50+, often with rural backgrounds and interests. However, an increasing number of younger, urban based women, are now joining the organisation.

To reflect the needs of a new, younger readership, the magazine has recently been relaunched in a new A4 format with features on Beauty, Fashion, Food and Drink and Women’s Issues, as well as national updates and news from groups around the country.
Our advertising rates have been frozen at A5 prices until May 2016. So, you get twice the size for the same price!

Contact magazine@theswi.org.uk for further information and a complimentary copy of the magazine.

Full page £347; half page £174; quarter page £100; eighth page £65 (not inc VAT).
If you are an SWI member or a registered charity you receive 20% discount.
Reduced rates for serial ads and a free editorial with 3 consecutive ads.

Women Together Wants Your Features!

We welcome contributions from external writers.

We’re looking for features on a wide range of subjects including crafts, food and drink, women’s issues, travel, health, lifestyle and general interest. If you can supply high resolution, good quality photographs as well that would be a bonus! Length should be between 600 and 1200 words – and currently we’re particularly looking for longer articles. Fee negotiable.

Please send all copy to The Editor, magazine@theswi.org.uk, or SWI, 42 Heriot Row, Edinburgh EH3 6ES. Copy deadlines are the 26th of each month, eg 26 January for the March issue (out end of February).


Material submitted should be original. Although great care is taken with everything submitted, Women Together is not responsible for any loss or damage which may occur.


I sincerenly hope you have all kept free from the nasty viruses that seem to be around the country. Unfortunately, both I and many members of my family have struggled for quite a few weeks now to shake them off. 

However, nothing dampened our spirits when we travelled to Center Parks for a few days away over the New Year Period. It is such a fun place to visit with something for all ages.

It seems strange to be reporting in February about events that took place before Christmas but that is due to the timing for sending in our magazine reports. I attended A 90th birthday party for Rattray & District, my own Institute, at the beginning of December. 

It was an honour to be a guest and share so many memories with my fellow members. Whitburn Institute’s 90th was also in December and it was such a fun evening. Some of us were even up dancing to the wonderful music provided by a very talented singer.

Christmas got off to a good start with a visit to the Royal Scots Club in Edinburgh with a friend, my mother and her friend to enjoy a Christmas lunch followed by entertainment by the Military Wives Choir. The choir was excellent.

It was a treat for my mother, who just turned 89, and her friend who celebrated her 90th birthday at the beginning of December. Neither of them had been across the Queensway Crossing nor had they travelled on a tram, so a great time was had by all.

I was invited to attend the Feed the Minds Carol Concert which was held in the magnificent Grayfriars Kirk in Edinburgh. Readings were given by Monic Lennon MSP for Central Scotland, Rev Colin Sinclair, who is the minister for Palmerston Place Church in Edinburgh and who will take on the year-long role of ambassador for the Church of Scotland in May, and myself. 

There were performances from the Edinburgh Telephone Choir, which also led the carols. It was a superb evening where we also enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies. I was particularly pleased to have the company of our new Education & International Secretary, Carrie Preston, and her friend at the event. All proceeds from the concert will support the work of Feed the Minds, which as you all know is SWI’s chosen charity this year.

Due to the nasty virus I was very disappointed that I was unable to attend Dunlop Institute’s 100thbirthday but I believe they had a wonderful evening. I also missed out on viewing a prospective venue for the ACWW European Area Conference which SWI will be hosting in the Autumn of 2020. I hope to be able to give you further details on this after out next committee meeting.

Looking ahead, SWI will be represented at Creative Crafts in Glasgow on the weekend beginning 8 March, so if you are attending, please look out for our stand.  This event takes place on the same weekend as the Country Dance Weekend, which will again to be held at Fisher’s Hotel in Pitlochry. I will have to shake the dust off my dancing shoes as they have not been out since last year’s weekend!

The National Curling Competition will also take place in March at Curl Aberdeen where we hope to welcome many teams.

I am sure over the winter months many members will have been working on items for the various shows this year. Please remember to have a look at the Royal Highland Show Schedule too – the theme this year is Christmas. Just think how nice it would be to have all your Christmas items ready in good time!


Meet Your Office Bearers

The office bearers were appointed following the central council in May 2017.

Linda Retson National Chairman

Anne Kerr Senior Vice Chairman

Anne Howat Junior Vice Chairman

Molly Sangster Honorary National Treasurer



SWI Policy Statements

The SWI has produced the following policy statements:

Portion Food Sizes

Reduction in Sugar Content

Use of Plastics

Feed the Mind



Perth SWI Junior Dippers

Perth SWI has launched a ‘Junior Dippers’ club for girls in P4-S4.

Building links with their local communities has never been more important, and in an effort to do just that, Perth has launched a ‘Junior Dippers’ club for girls in P4-S4. The first couple of sessions have been a huge hit, and over the next few months there will be more with baking, knitting, crafting, crochet, art and floristry all on the agenda.

It’s only £10 for an annual junior membership, and £2 per class to cover expenses. Classes run from 10.30am – 3pm and parents are encouraged to drop the kids off with a packed lunch and head for a coffee or do some shopping in town before coming back for them later.

I chatted with Linda Retson, who pitched the idea to the local federation, and is also the SWI national chairman, and she’s keen to see it succeed;

“The pilot scheme in Perth is one of the first of it’s kind, with a similar idea in Caithness having already taken off. We had 15 girls take part in our first session, and are keen to hear from many others who’d like to come along or register their interest. The idea behind ‘Junior Dippers’ is to give younger girls the opportunity to dip in and out of different crafts and skills, and give members a chance to pass on their expertise and share their passions.”


Lots of fun for all ages

I chatted with Linda Retson, who pitched the idea to the local federation, and is also the SWI national chairman, and she’s keen to see it succeed;

“The pilot scheme in Perth is one of the first of it’s kind, with a similar idea in Caithness having already taken off. We had 15 girls take part in our first session, and are keen to hear from many others who’d like to come along or register their interest. The idea behind ‘Junior Dippers’ is to give younger girls the opportunity to dip in and out of different crafts and skills, and give members a chance to pass on their expertise and share their passions.”

At the moment the group takes place at The Hub, on King Street in Perth, although an alternative venue may be sought if numbers increase, and they hope to introduce sport and outings later in the year. The next planned dates in 2018 are 26th May, 25th Aug, 24th Nov (which will be a special Christmas crafts theme with a show and tell to SWI members!), and depending on interest more dates may be added.

If you know a young girl who’d love to learn some new skills then get in touch or register your interest by contacting Heather on pandkfedsec@outlook.com

(An extract from Small City Big Personality, Perthshire’s online magazine. By Rhona Maxwell)


The SWI Cookbook is jam packed with recipes guaranteed to fulfil all tastes!


From simple starters and scrumptious soups through to mouth-watering main courses and delightful deserts, the cookbook has been created by members, professional chefs and celebrity chefs including:

  • Neil Forbes
  • Lady Claire Macdonald OBE
  • Nick Nairn
  • Tony Singh

Indulge in a mix of traditional and contemporary dishes and try out new meals for you and your family and friends.

The perfect gift to yourself, or to your friends and family! 


The SWI Online Members Area is now ready for you.

If you are already a member and registered to the website, simply login using your unique username and password. Or if you are a SWI member, but not registered to the website as yet, you can do that just now, it only takes a few minutes. Register here >

The Members Area is here to add content to and we encourage our members to contribute. Simply submit to hello@theswi.org.uk 


Why Join? Well, why not?

  • Be part of a nationwide group of women all with the same vision and passion for sharing and learning skills
  • Learn a new craft or skill in a sociable and welcoming environment local to you
  • Meet women with similar interests on a regular basis
  • Take part in social events and arts and craft competitions
  • Campaign on issues that matter to you and your community 



Only £45 one off initial fee for all new members who join online. And you will receive a free copy of our magazine each month*


Every week, every month and every year, we have a wide range of exciting events and activites that take place throughout Scotland.
These can be arranged at National level, Federation level or locally at Institute level.

View our Events Diary for a list of our forthcoming events >

Also keep up-to-date on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter !

Find Your Local Institute

We would love to welcome new members to any of our institutes so you can come along, enjoy the atmosphere, discover more about what we do, then select the institute that suits you best. You can join an institute for a small fee (approx £20-£35) per year and enjoy all the benefits of being a member.