East Sussex Federation


Gill NokesEast Sussex Federation of Women’s Institutes (ESFWI) was formed in 1919 having originally been part of the Sussex Federation which was the first to be created in the country in 1917 – just slightly earlier than the National Federation.

Today we have 101 WIs across the County in both towns and villages. They each have a regular monthly meeting and many WIs have interest clubs and other activities in between. One thing is certain, wherever you live in East Sussex you are not too far from a WI.

Each WI has its own character, activities etc. and we encourage prospective members to visit several to make sure they find the one that suits them. Many of our members enjoy the WI so much that they belong to two WIs.  As a member in East Sussex you will also have access to the wide range of activities, workshops and outings arranged by ESFWI.

Our friendly office staff are happy to give information about local WIs for you to visit. In the unlikely event of you not finding a WI to suit you (wrong day or time) then why not gather a few like-minded friends, contact Hailsham HQ and we’ll talk about starting a brand new WI.

Come and join us!

Gill Nokes
County Chairman, ESFWI

Green Hearts update

These are some of the green hearts made by members who came to Hailsham to take part in the Drop In days making Green Hearts as part of the Climate Change campaign. Everyone made two or three hearts from the amazing stash of free materials supplied by members of WIST (WI Advisers) to take back and inspire their own WIs.

Green Hearts

For the past couple of years on Valentine’s Day, WI members have been busy creating green hearts to show their love and support for people, plants and places threatened by Climate Change.

We know that some of WI members already take part, but this year the WIST team are joining in. We are holding two days of drop in sessions at Hailsham ESFWI HQ early in February.

We invite you to join us in knitting, stitching, crocheting, embroidering and any other form of creativity to produce as many green hearts as we can. It’s also a chance for those of you who have never been to ESFWI HQ to come and have a look and meet other members for a natter over a needle while enjoying a little light refreshment.

We’ll have a stash of materials but please feel free to bring your own. You’ll be able to take something you have made plus some ideas back to your WI to help spur on other members to be part of the Climate Change campaign, and maybe your WI will be holding its own Green Hearts Day on 14 February.

More information on the Events page.

For the Love of

The NFWI is a founding member of The Climate Coalition (TCC), a group of over 100 organisations and over 15 million people working for action on climate change. One of the TCC core campaigns is focussed around Valentine’s Day, and is called ‘For the love of…’. This campaign aims to show people that climate change is affecting the things in their life that they love, such as chocolate, bees and beaches, and it asks millions of people to wear and share green hearts to show that they would like to see action on climate change. Last Valentine’s Day green hearts connected millions of people, and this resulted in an historic pledge from the leaders of all three main political parties to take action on climate change. This year NFWI are aiming for an even greater impact, and they would like to do so through encouraging members across the country to make, wear and share green hearts, and to hold green heart making workshops across the country.

With the WI’s reputation for crafting NFWI are hoping that WI members will host many green heart crafting sessions across the country. These sessions would allow members to come together to create hearts that can be worn on Valentine’s Day and it would also give them the opportunity to start a conversation about climate change. NFWI are encouraging anyone holding workshop sessions to invite their MP along and to invite the local press. NFWI will be offering as much support as possible to members, as well as highlighting the workshops nationally across all the TCC channels. NFWI have been talking to the National Trust and Oxfam, and both organizations have invited members to approach their properties as venues for workshops, so please do take advantage of this offer wherever possible. Many other organisations will also be encouraging their members to get involved with the sessions so please get involved locally with others as appropriate. A green heart making workshop doesn’t need to be elaborate, however, with the involvement of a range of organisations generating local and national coverage, it will show MPs that there is great support for change and that they should lobby the government to make it happen.