Since 1966, women who have felt bored and isolated in the Falkirk area have turned to the local branch of the National Women’s Register.
The group’s mission remains the same today as it was all those years ago – to connect women who are interested in everything and talk about anything.
And its aims have also remained largely unchanged in that time:
* To offer women the opportunity to take part in informal and wide-ranging discussions;
* To promote friendship, self-confidence, a better understanding of others’ points of view and to extend their knowledge;
* And to help find new friends quickly on moving to a new area, by means of the Register.
That last aim was precisely why the local organiser for the NWR Falkirk Group signed up.
Having moved to Falkirk, Alison Whitton was hoping to meet new friends.
And she has since taken over organising the local group and its 15 members.
She said: “I moved to Falkirk in 1990 and I had lived in Germany and New Zealand before that, so I didn’t know anyone.
“The group gave me a chance to meet people in an informal setting. Most of the friends I have now, I met through the NWR.
“It’s a great group of women and no topic is out of bounds, although we tend to steer away from babies and children or anything domestic – as that’s the whole point of the exercise!
“It gives us a chance to talk about a variety of subjects – it is intellectually stimulating, even when you don’t think a particular subject is of great interest to you. It’s surprising at times!”
During school term time the ladies meet every Wednesday at 7.30pm in each other’s homes to discuss pre-arranged topics. Occasional speakers and excursions are also organised.
Over the summer months, the women enjoy supper walks – a pleasant, non-demanding stroll for an hour before having dinner in a suitable pub or restaurant in the Falkirk area.
The ladies also enjoy monthly coffee or late lunch meetings on the first Monday of every month when together they agree which topics should be covered by the group and where.
With a wide variety of backgrounds, the conversation is never dull!
Alison explained: “A lot of the members have an art background but I was formerly a nuclear chemist so we all have different points of view.
“Discussions can often push you out of your comfort zone but it’s always interesting hearing other people’s points of view.
“And that helps broaden all of our horizons.”
Members pay a £20 membership fee annually to the NWR and then £1 for every meeting they are able to attend, to cover the cost of tea and biscuits in each member’s home.
But there is no hard and fast requirement for members to hold meetings in their own home.
Alison explained: “Members don’t feel obliged to host meetings.
“When I first moved here, I lived in a one-bedroom flat and there was no way I could have hosted a group.
“There are a number of reasons people may not want to throw open their home to 15 women every few weeks and the group is very understanding of that.
“So it need not be a barrier to any women who are interested in joining.”
Women of all ages with an active and enquiring mind who like to stretch the boundaries of their knowledge are welcome to join the NWR Falkirk group.
Alison added: “We all enjoy good company and are always happy to meet and make new friends.
“We are very inclusive and welcoming to newcomers – it costs nothing to give us a try to see if you enjoy it!
“Some women come along and decide it’s really not for them and that’s okay.
“But others have been members for many years and love being part of the group.
“We’ve all made a lot of good friends through the NWR and we would be delighted to welcome new members along.”
If you are interested in joining the Falkirk group or would like more information, please call Moira on 01324 626895, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/FalkirkNationalWomens Register/.
For more information on NWR, visit www.nwr.org.uk.
The next meeting of NWR Falkirk is on February 7 at 7.30pm, when the topic will be ‘guess the mystery year’.
The NWR: From 1960 to 2018
The National Women’s Register started in 1960 after a letter to The Guardian from a frustrated young housewife who was feeling isolated and bored after her busy working life turned into a life of nappies and baby talk.
She suggested some sort of register by which women could meet each other and discuss various non-domestic topics. The letter elicited more than 2,000 responses and the National House-Bound Wive’s Register was born.
This quickly became the National Housewive’s Register and has now become the National Women’s Register as the organisation moves with the times.
Today, the NWR continues to celebrate the fostering of friendships and the cultivating of minds, recognising that these are timeless, fundamental human needs. If your children have left home, you’ve retired from work, moved to a new area, or had another change in circumstances, the NWR can offer you a wide range of activities, great discussions, new horizons and fresh connections.
NWR groups exist across the UK. Meetings are very informal and you will receive a warm welcome, whatever your age or personal circumstances.
A number of NWR members volunteer to take on the role of local organiser. They are an essential element in NWR’s success, organising meetings at a local level.
Local groups are run by their members who are open-minded, friendly and interested in issues – particularly those relevant to women’s lives. They are not political, religious or judgemental.
So if you enjoy stimulating conversation while meeting new people, the NWR is for you!