The women, who work for the largest housing association in the East of England, joined the long-standing institution in their ethos to unite women, build friendships and create a sense of belonging.
In true WI style, there was tea, cake and laughter at the Norwich headquarters (31 King Street) as the women formally registered as members, created a committee, and elected president Tracey Drake (Marketing Communications Business Partner).
Tracey said: “It is absolutely fantastic to see so many professional women coming together and forming our own WI. I’m proud to say I work for a company which has created this opportunity for their staff and can’t wait to get started.”
The inaugural meeting, which saw women from across the group aged between 19 to 71 coming together, was hosted by Margaret Collingwood, Head of the Norfolk WI.
She said: “It was wonderful to be part of this inspiring initiative. Forming a new WI is always exciting, but a workplace WI is a new venture for the Norfolk Federation; one we embrace wholeheartedly. We look forward to hearing about their plans for the next few months and to watching them grow and develop into the WI that suits their needs as working women. We wish Girls at 31 WI every success in the future.”
Norfolk’s first ever workplace WI has been formed to bring women closer together, develop friendships, and collaborate through a range of activities to improve wellbeing. ‘Girls at 31’ was formed based on an idea developed by Deputy CEO, Helen Walsham and MD of Flagship Homes, Marie-Claire Delbrouque and reflects the Group’s commitment to supporting and empowering women in the workplace.
Helen said: “We are always looking for ways to enhance employee wellbeing and engagement in the workplace and the WI will do just that. I am thrilled to see our women coming together, with equality, a sense of belonging and most importantly to have fun.”
The ‘Girls at 31’ will join the other 5,000 WI members across Norfolk and create their own programme for the next year. This will include sessions on professional development, motivational speakers, clothes swaps, wellbeing evenings, walking clubs, events and lots more.