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 - Easter Public Holidays

Headquarters will be closed on Friday 19th and Monday 22nd April and will re-open at 9am on Tuesday 23rd April.

Magazine and PR Correspondence

We are in the process of changing our PR company and magazine provider. All the emails/photos/information sent to the following email addresses - magazine@theswi.org.uk or editor@theswi.org.uk, will be received at Headquarters, any queries can also be sent to us using these email addresses.   Emails will be forwarded to our new PR company, Connect Communications. We would appreciate it if you could bear with us during this period of transition.  Many Thanks.


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.


Highlights from the April issue include:

  • Rt Rev Susan Brown, Church of Scotland Moderator
  • Win a break to the Four Seasons Hotel, Loch Earn
  • William, the globetrotting teddy bear
  • SWI membership perks
  • Quitting the Big Smoke for the Northern Lights
  • Rural mental health
  • Tried & tested: The Colliston Institute review shower gels

 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 mentioned last month that a corn dolly class would be arranged to assist us in making items for the ACWW European Conference in 2020. The date has now been arranged for Saturday 24 August 2019 at Headquarters from 10.30am-3.30pm.

There will be 20 places available and a small charge will be made to cover the tutor’s expenses.  The class will be taken by our own Elaine Lindsay who you may remember was featured in the March edition of Women Together.

This will be an opportunity to learn a new craft and at the same time help with producing little gifts for our European visitors.  If you are interested, or know of anyone who might be, please email me for further details at chairman@theswi.org.uk.  We plan to have a day in April next year to make the tartan corsages, also mentioned last time. 

I’d also like to remind you about the Get Creative Festival. Information about this event, which will be an ideal opportunity to promote Scottish Women’s Institutes, was sent to Federations recently.  The Executive agreed in November that Federations would take part in this event but, alas, to date I have only had details from three Federations.

It was my intention to make a list of all events that were being held over Scotland and then get in touch with both the BBC and Get Creative to advise them of what SWI members were doing in the hope that we would get some good publicity.  Please encourage your Federation to organise an event and if the information has been lost along the way, please get in touch.

Information was also sent out to Federations regarding the ‘Tommy’ glass statue that we want to present to a member who sends in the most deserving story relating to the war. To date we have not received an entry. There must be someone within our membership who has a story to share, so please do get in touch.

And now for some good news! After a very slow start, we eventually received 93 recipes for the Hamlyn’s competition and the results will be announced very soon.  Hamlyn’s have been great supporters of our organization both with running this competition and giving prizes and samples for use at Gardening Scotland over the last few years.  We are very grateful to them for this.

Anne Kerr, Carrie Preston and I travelled to Aberdeen last week to further discuss the H&H Conference.  We met with Aberdeenshire Federation Chairman Fiona Henderson and two of her members: everything is well in hand for what we hope will be a very enjoyable few days.

There is a great line up of speakers – all very varied – and the entertainment on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings should provide something for all.  The Beach Ballroom is a superb venue with nice bright rooms for the displays of work, so please consider entering and showing the people of Aberdeen and further afield how talented our members are.

If you look at Facebook you will now be very familiar with our new mascot, The SWI Bear.  He now has a name – Fergus.  I was so glad Carrie made me pick a name out of the box as there were so many fantastic names suggested that it would have been impossible to make a decision.

I have tonight, just returned from a very enjoyable day among many friends at Lanarkshire Federation Show where I was given the honour of presenting their trophies.  As you will see on page 15, Fergus joined me too.

I have had many conversations and emails saying how much members are enjoying the anticipation of seeing what he is going to get up to next!  We are pleased that he’s providing a bit of light-hearted fun in the midst of the day-to-day running of the organisation.

When I attended my own Institute meeting this month, I was delighted to see our youngest member, Katy Scott, at the meeting along with her new baby boy, Felix. Katy’s mum, Lesley Howkins, reminded me that she brought Katy along to the SWI when she was a baby too.  How time flies!

There are many shows on the horizon: special events, Country Dance Weekend, Creative Crafts to name a few and I look forward to reporting on these events next time.

Meet Your Office Bearers

The Office Bearers were appointed 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.