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!

SWI AGM - 18TH MAY 2020

The AGM attendance form has been send to Federation Secretaries and can also be downloaded below.  If any of member wishes to attend the AGM please complete the form and send the completed form to adminsec@theswi.org.uk or by post addressed to Admin Secretary by 30th March 2020. Please note no expenses will be paid for attendance or refreshments provided. Please also note that Membership numbers must be provided. If no membership number is provided on the form the person will not be able to attend the AGM.  Once we have details of numbers etc paperwork will be sent following the closing date of Monday 30th March. Proxy voting forms will also be sent if a member cannot attend, together with agenda and resolutions to be adopted, following the closing date of 30th March.

AGM Attendance Form



Welcome to the new-look Women Together magazine It's full of insider news, great features and useful tips - the February issue is now available.

If you don't currently receive the magazine but would like to order your copy for £2 plus P&P or subscribe to keep up to date with SWI news and enjoy reading a variety of features please contact us on 0131 225 1724 or email: subscriptions@theswi.org.uk

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

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



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.


The honour is all mine...

 National President Linda Retson reflects on the changing of the year and big changes afoot for SWI in this decade...

 Before Christmas I had a very busy schedule, with meetings in November where we said “goodbye” to many Central Councillors who have given their time over the last three years, serving on the various standing committees. I would like to record my personal thanks to everyone for their dedication and friendship over that time and wish you well in whatever route you take through SWI.

 Anne Kerr and I attended a Women in Agriculture event at Ingliston, where we had a promotional stand. Many attendees showed great interest in what we do and the speakers on the event’s theme – ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’ – were very enjoyable.

December was certainly party time when I celebrated with my own Institute, then Lochgilphead, Bridge of Weir, Kirkcolm, Cairnryan and Farnell. Anne kindly attended Houston’s celebration as I had to be in London that day to rub shoulders with royalty (see left)!

After a hectic day in London, it was off to Stranraer for Cairnryan’s 100th the next morning. The final event for the year was Farnell Institute’s 100th birthday in Angus Federation. A lovely end to another memorable year in SWI.

January has been a quieter month so far, however we have PVG training at the end of the month and into February we will see the selection of national committee members at Federation level – your local area nomination committees will select members for these.

I hope many of you will have applied for positions on our new Board of Trustees. Applications for the national standing committees should have been sent to your Federation Secretaries and, for the Board positions, to HQ by January 31. I will be on the selection panel for the Board, along with immediate past President, Christine Hutton, and an independent advisor. The most suitable members will be selected based on skill sets and knowledge. With such a wealth of talent, skills and knowledge within our membership, I am confident we will enter a new era with a great range of women responsible for SWI’s direction in the years ahead.    

 Linda Retson President

 A snapshot of SWI life

I had a fantastic day with ACWW in London meeting Her Majesty Queen Azizah of Malaysia and many other ACWW supporters and friends.

The Queen and her family were visiting the UK on their first state visit to the country, and Queen Azizah had requested a meeting with members at the ACWW offices and those invited were asked to send in some craft items, so I was delighted to see some of my work displayed along with many beautiful items from other SWI and WI members. 

I was there with May Kidd from Angus Federation, her sister Jean Wilkie and Alison Burnett from Arran Federation – who is also Deputy World President of the ACWW – plus friends from the Women’s Institutes of Northern Ireland and England. We were all introduced to the Queen, her three daughters, daughter-in-law and sister-in-law, who were all interested in all the crafts and even bought a few items that members were willing to sell. In fact, the Queen’s sister-in-law asked if she could order 24 napkins which had been worked in Hardanger by Emily Watson from Madderty SWI. After the formalities we enjoyed tea, cake and a sing-song with the visitors, accompanied by May on her mouth organ – you can see that on our Facebook page! It was an honour for me to be part of this special day and represent SWI.



ACWW European Conference 2020

We, the Scottish Women’s Institute will have the privilege of hosting the next European Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) Conference in October 2020.

ACWW is an International Charity supported by the WI and SWI movement.  It is the largest international organisation for rural women and has a uniquely down-to-earth approach, offering mutual support, friendship and practical help to its members. 

ACWW supports various projects which supports real-life changes for women in rural communities around the world.  They are women-led, designed by women in their own communities who know best what they need, and they are funded through local women’s organisations to ensure maximum impact.

If you would like to attend, please complete the registration form fully, ensuring that you add your ACWW Membership number

Registration Form

We look forward to welcoming the ACWW members to Scotland.


The SWI 2020 Diary and Calendar can now be purchased together for £6 plus postage, normal price £10 (or £5 each).  This deal is available online at the SWI Online Shop or by calling Headquarters on 0131 225 1724.


The Scottish Women's Institutes will be supporting Mercy Ships UK as our international charity from 1st December 2019. Any donations for the current charity, Feed the Minds, should be sent to Headquarters as soon as possible.

Mercy Ships operate the world’s largest charity hospital ship delivering free health care to some of the world's poorest people.  Further information can be found on their website:

Mercy Ships


Scottish Women’s Institutes and Netball Scotland team up to bring Walking Netball to Members

Scottish Women’s Institutes and Netball Scotland have teamed up to take Walking Netball to women across Scotland in a new initiative designed to expand pathways to sport.

The partnership will see more than 14,000 women encouraged to participate in the sport, which is set to be played in village halls and school gyms up and down the country.

Walking Netball is a slower version of the game; it is netball, but at a walking pace. The game has been designed so that anyone can play it regardless of age or fitness level.

A number of SWI members have been trained by Netball Scotland’s facilitators and can now pass on their skills and enthusiasm in their local Institutes to encourage participation and activity. The collaboration will now see members in 663 institutes across Scotland given the opportunity to participate in the gentle activity no matter their experience.

Scottish Women’s Institutes President, Linda Retson, said: “This is an exciting collaboration for us. The Walking Netball programme will join golf, bowls and curling as a key sport for Scottish Women’s Institutes and we are delighted to be working with Netball Scotland and give members a fun, friendly, sociable, safe and very exciting new activity. Getting together to have fun and exercise our bodies and minds fits perfectly with Scottish Women’s Institutes’ outlook and we believe Walking Netball will be a huge hit.”

Geraldine McGuire, Head of Development, Netball Scotland said, “The partnership between Netball Scotland and the SWI celebrates a joint vision to empower women across Scotland. Through the platform of walking netball, we will collaboratively enable women to build vibrant communities across the country where they can learn new skills, share experiences, build friendships and support networks and most importantly have fun.

As a Governing body, Netball Scotland is leading the way in Scotland in the Changing Lives Agenda. This partnership showcases our commitment to extending our reach out with the sporting sector, building networks of expert resource and knowledge which contribute to achieving Active Scotland Outcomes. Together with our partners at Age Scotland and Breathing Space we very much welcome the opportunity to expand our walking netball programme through the SWI membership.”

If members would like to participate please email educ.int@theswi.org.uk for details, marking enquiries 'NETBALL'.

Press Release

Leandra Robertson and Arlene McKay at the launch


Since the President launched Junior Dippers in Perth, several other Institutes have launched, or are in the process of launching, their own Junior Dippers Groups.  Activities include baking, knitting, crafting, crochet, art and floristry.

Junior Dippers aim to:

  • encourage girls to try a variety of skills under the auspices of the SWI
  • nurture our junior members so that in the future they may choose to become members of the adults organisation

There are currently groups in the following areas.  If there are no Junior Dippers Groups in your area and you would be interested in starting one, please contact the President.

Perth & Kinross Junior Dippers

Perth & Kinross Junior Dippers meet at the 10th Perthshire Scout Hall, Murray Place, Perth 10.30am-3.00pm and is for girls Primary 4-7 and Secondary 1-3.  Dates and further information can be found on the Perth & Kinross Federation website.

Perth & Kinross Junior Dippers

Kinross Junior Dippers

Kinross Junior Dippers meeting every second and fourth Saturday of the month at 1.00-2.30pm in the ICT Room of Kinross Library within Kinross Community Campus. For information contact swikinrossgroupsec@gmail.com

Kinross Junior Dippers Facebook

Esslemont Young Dippers, Aberdeenshire

Esslemont Young Dippers first meeting is on Saturday 28th September from 9.30am-12.30pm at the Kirk Centre, Ellon and is for ages 8-16 (P4-S4).  They will also meet on 26th October, 23rd November and 21st December.  For further information please contact pmbrown57@gmail.com or coralforgie@aol.com  

West Lothian Dippers

West Lothian Dippers is for young people aged 8-16 years.  They meet on the last Saturday of each month during school term time, except December, from 10.30am-3.00pm in the North Barn of Carmondean Community Centre, Livingston. For further information please contact  wldippers@gmail.com  or 0788 5411178,  There is a £10 annual fee plus £3 per session.  Parents are required to complete a registration form.

Fife Junior Dippers

Details to follow.






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)

SWI Policy Statements

The SWI has produced the following policy statements:

Portion Food Sizes

Reduction in Sugar Content

Use of Plastics

Feed the Mind




The SWI member area is where members can find information from committees, including minutes from meetings, event and competition information and booking forms, member offers, Federation news etc.

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 £50 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.