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!


Hamlyns of Scotland has teamed up with the SWI to help them discover some tasty afternoon treats to feature in their new receipe leaflet which they will use at shows and events next year.  They would like to hear about SWI members' favourite sweet or savoury treats – biscuits, cakes, breads, scones or anything else that you enjoy making. The only stipulation is that they must include oats or oatmeal.  Every SWI member whose recipe is included in the leaflet will win a Hamlyns Perfect Porridge Pack.

The closing date for entries is Friday 15 February. The winning recipes will be selected by Hamlyns of Scotland, and the winners will be informed by Friday 1 March.

Details of how to enter can be found in the leaftlet or Hamlyns' website:

 Hamlyns/SWI Recipe Competition



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 December issue include:

  • Allan Stewart – there’s nothing like a (panto) dame
  • Model members turn on M&Co style
  • Stylish coasters to make
  • Prosecco reviewed
  • Cocktail recipes to toast the festivities
  • Win a retro Emma Bridgewater Radio
  • Cairngorm reindeer’s busy season
  • Wartime tapestry set for restoration

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.

Chairman's Letter

AT THE end of October, I travelled to Wigtownshire with a friend to attend the Federation Show. Somewhere on route we didn’t quite follow the car sat nav and ended up taking five hours to do a three-and-a-half hour journey! However, it was a lovely day and we can now say we have been through the Galloway Forest!

This was another first for me as I had not visited this area before. I certainly was not disappointed. The ladies gave us a very warm welcome and we enjoyed viewing all the wonderful exhibits. My favourite article was the beautiful patchwork horse – see the photograph on this page - made by Elaine Milven. Patchwork is one of my favourite hobbies so I appreciate all the work that went into this exhibit.

The following day was not quite such a long journey as I attended a 90th birthday, together with some of my own Federation members, at Cleish Institute’s lunch. They are very fortunate that they have a great mix of young and young at heart members who all enjoy similar activities – and you can read more about them in this edition.

I had intended to visit the ladies attending the H & H Weekend School at Peebles but alas I was not very well and decided I should have a quiet weekend. However, I believe they all had a wonderful time and from what I saw on Facebook the articles they made looked amazing. Thank you to our tutors Isobel Robertson and Helen Quartermain.

I was invited to attend a meeting at BBC Scotland in Glasgow to hear about a Get Creative Festival which will take place from 11-19 May 2019. Various organisations all over the UK will hold events to encourage people of all ages to try something new in arts and crafts. The festival was held in 2016 and 2017 and has grown each year. It is something I hope SWI will get involved in next year and more details will be given out as we receive them.

My own Institute invited Sheila Bruce from Angus Federation to show us how to make beautiful little dolls out of children’s socks. I was so pleased I was free to attend this meeting. Sheila had demonstrated the sock dolls at the Royal Highland Show but, having bought one, I then gave it away without taking note on how they were constructed. This gave me another chance to see how they were made.

This was a very busy week: the following evening I attended a Carse Group meeting in Perth & Kinross Federation and enjoyed a talk by a retired female sheriff. The next morning, I drove to Ingliston to chair a Royal Highland Show management committee meeting to make up the 2020 schedule. We were pleased to welcome Jane Plumb from Lanarkshire on to this small committee.

Next day was a Perth & Kinross Executive meeting followed by a night off at the Scottish Poultry Club Dinner at Dunblane Hydro with my family. The entertainment at this event was very different. They had a Scottish band called Whisky Kiss who entertained with both break dancers and Highland dancers performing to the Scottish music.

Next day my husband kindly drove me to Troon where I attended the Ayrshire Federation Show. This brought back many memories for me as it was one of the first shows I attended as a trainee judge many years ago. Again, a wonderful showcase for our organisation.

I saw the first signs of winter with a flurry of snow on the way home from Berwickshire Federation Show – but thankfully it was just a shower. It was so nice to be able to present a trophy gifted by member Wilma Craig for the Junior Section to her granddaughter, Lexi Craig. A lovely moment for any grandmother! Many beautiful items were on display along with articles from the Federation’s recent Evelyn Baxter Class.

Christmas is just around the corner – after all the shopping, parcel wrapping, and cooking is taken care of I hope you all have a peaceful time over the festive season. My very best wishes for good health and happiness in the year ahead.

Linda Retson

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.