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!

Headquarters - Public Holiday Monday 26th August 2019

Headquarters will be closed on Monday 26th August for the public holiday and will re-open at 9am on Tuesday 27th August.


The members of SWI have been invited to an exclusive SWI shopping evening by the John Lewis Partnership on Wednesday 23rd October 7-9pm at John Lewis & Partners, Buchanan Galleries, Glasgow.  Tickets cost £5 but can be redeemed against a £5 coupon/voucher to be spent at the event.  The cost inlcudes:

  • A complimentary drink on arrival
  • Fashion Show
  • Exclusive shopping throughout the store

Tickets can be purchased by card or BACS, by phoning Headquarters on 0131 225 1724.  Please note that you must provide your membership number and also take your card with you to the event. 

SWI Board of Trustees & Committee Application Forms

Application forms for the SWI Board of Trustees and Comittees positions have been sent to Federation Secretaries.   The forms can also be downloaded from the Members' Area of the website. 



Welcome to the new-look Women Together magazine It's full of insider news, great features and useful tips - the August 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.


It has been an emotional month of ferries, fond farewells and family milestones.   John and I have just boarded the ferry returning from Orkney after spending two enjoyable days on the island. I attended the Orkney Federation show which was held in a lovely community centre in Finstown. Fergus and I were both made very welcome! President Ann Linklater reported that entries were up on previous years and what amazing work was on show. The cream tea was delicious, too. 

No visit to Orkney would be complete without a visit to the Sheila Fleet Jewellery Gallery and Kirk Café nestled in the East Mainland. This is a new venue since my last visit to the island and is a beautifully renovated former parish church. The Fleet family opened the converted kirk in April last year beside Sheila’s home and workshop. In it are vast displays of Sheila’s beautiful jewellery and you can enjoy teas, lunch etc in the adjacent café. And, yes, I did manage to make a purchase!

I was delighted to attend Buchlyvie Institute’s centenary celebration where we enjoyed a delicious meal, entertaining speaker and great company. It was lovely to chat with many friends and meet new members.

I travelled to Prestwick on the 10th July with May Kidd and Mary Wylie from Angus Federation to attend a thanksgiving service for Margaret Lamond who sadly passed away recently. It was a beautiful service for a very well respected SWI member, with so many members from all over the country attending. We noted we are all part of a special family, there to support each other in good times or bad.

I was fortunate to be at home this month on the day that our only granddaughter “graduated” from nursery to the big school! It was a happy but also emotional morning seeing all the little ones proudly going up to be presented with their certificates and school ties. They sang “One more Step Along the Way” – I doubt if there was a granny in the room who did not have a tear in her eye!

I don’t get a great deal of time these days to do craft work but I do try to get to my quilting group when I can. We had a summer outing to Kaleidoscope, the patchwork/quilting fabric shop near Kippen. This is a fairly new outlet for them and if you are a quilter/patchworker then you really must visit. There is a nice restaurant along the road if you want to have lunch too and make a day of it.

Summer School is next on my calendar – I look forward to reporting on this next time. Look out for details of our evening with John Lewis in Glasgow to be held on 23rd October and the launch of our new sport, Walking Netball in November.

I hope you are all enjoying some sunshine over the summer.

Linda Retson President


H&H Conference - 10-12 September 2019

The H&H Conference will take place at the Beach Ballroom Aberdeen, The Theme is ‘Stepping Out’.  There is still time to register for the conference, the closing date has been extended to 16th August.

Important – Please note this information and registration forms for Federation Representatives and Visiting Members have been sent to all Federation Secretaries – please contact your Federation for more information.  Information can also be downloaded from the Event & Information section of the website.

Exhibition - The dates for the Exhibition are the afternoon of Tuesday 10th September 2019  2 – 5pm and all day Wednesday11th  September – 9 – 5pm.

Conference - The conference itself will be held on the Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th September. The Conference will be opened on Wednesday 11th September by Mr Barney Crockett, the Lord Provost of Aberdeen.  


  • Gillian Paterson – Designer & maker of historic costumes & Story Teller
  • Louise Blanchfield - Nutritional Therapist
  • Jim Hume – ‘Support in Mind’ – Scotland’s National Rural Health Forum
  • “Hats by Marjory”–‘My Journey So Far’ – Marjory Tennant, Selkirkshire Federation.  
  • Thursday – Helen McCook, Royal School of Needlework
  • Deborah Leslie – Author, Prize-winning Doric Writer & After Dinner Speaker

It would be greatly appreciated, if you are able to steward for the exhibition or the Conference the forms are available to download in the Event & Information section.

Or contact the H&H Secretary: hand.house@theswi.org.uk or 0131 225 1724


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)


The SWI shop has some fabulous new additions to our range of merchandise. Merchandise can be bought from our online shop or by calling Headquarters on 0131 225 1724.

The SWI Drawstring bags are available in red or blue.  The bags are lightweight and durable, a great way to carry everyday essentials and cost £3.60 each.

The SWI Sports caps are available in red, white or blue, they are 100% cotton with an embroidered SWI logo and cost £8.40.

Wee Fergus the Bear - you can now purchase your own Fergus, the SWI mascot, who is super soft and cuddly with his own SWI t-shirt for £9.60.

Other recent additions to the shop include a fine bone china mug, water bottle and reusable travel mug.



The article below highlights the importance of the fundraising that SWI members do for the 'Feed The Minds' and the impact on the girls/women that SWI have supported and continue to support.  Donations should be forwarded to Headquarters, with cheques payable to SWI.

Feed the Minds

Meet Your Office Bearers

The Office Bearers were appointed in May 2017.

Linda Retson National President

Anne Kerr  Vice President

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




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.