Junior Dippers

Rhona Maxwell

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Sometimes I wish that there had been a kind of mummy boot camp that expectant parents could sign up for – an intensive course in everything from how to sew on a button, knit a cardi and bake a decent Victoria sponge to knocking up a homemade greeting card. As a 34 year old woman who’s never had anyone to teach me, I’m often sorely lacking in what many would consider ‘basic’ skills.

It’s possible to self – teach almost anything these days, with access to a seemingly unlimited number of ‘how to’ videos on You Tube. However sometimes there’s simply no replacement for learning by example; sitting next to someone who’s able to guide you, help as you go along, and make suggestions. Perth SWI has just launched a ‘Junior Dippers’ club for girls in P4-S4.

One organisation that knows a thing or two about that is the Scottish Women’s Institute (SWI) – it’s been around for over 100 years, and still going strong with 717 active Institutes nationally, and 53 of them right here in Perth & Kinross! Members meet regularly to connect, share, teach, learn, campaign, socialise, have fun and yes…eat cake!

Building links with their local communities has never been more important, and in an effort to do just that, Perth has just 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.

SWI Junior Dippers blue and redIt’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.”

SWI Junior Dippers purple materialAt 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


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