About Us

WHAT or where is Chazey? Good question! Our WI is actually based in Caversham Heights, a rather nice residential area of the village of Caversham, which lies on the other side of the Thames from Reading in Berkshire.

The houses in Caversham Heights grew up on the hillside above the village in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the Heights is now effectively an upmarket Reading suburb, with some of the highest property prices locally.

So why are we called Chazey? Well, in 1982 our founder and first president decided local women might like a group that met in the evening - and some of the first recruits lived in or near Chazey Road, hence our name. The name also avoided any confusion with our sister institute in Caversham proper.

The response was immediate and overwhelming - shortly after our formation we had more than 100 members and a waiting list! The average age in those days was 35-plus and we are proud that we can still count some of those original founder members among our current membership.

The age range may have crept up a bit since then but there is boundless energy to be found at Chazey and we are now experiencing some of our most eventful years to date.

2018 saw us changing both the venue and timing of our meetings for the third time in our history. We began life at Mapledurham Pavilion, the village hall in our neighbouring parish, before moving to the larger Caversham Heights Methodist Hall when the pavilion started to become neglected, where we met on Tuesday evenings for the next 15 years.

But when we recently asked our members if they wished to switch to the afternoon they said yes, so we now have a brand new venue with a brand new time slot - 2.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall in nearby Albert Road on the first Friday. We love it there!

We may not be able to boast a three-figure membership any longer but our institute is full of life and new ideas and has evolved in many ways, including recently launching some specific subject groups which have proved extemely popular. See SOCIAL EVENTS

We are also lucky to have been given shifts to serve tea and cakes at the purpose-built tea kiosk in the lovely riverside gardens at Caversham Court. We do this three times a year, in a rota with other local charities, and it earns us very welcome funds, allows us to spread the word about our WI - and, of course, gives us the chance to show off our mouthwatering home-baked cakes!

We continue to welcome new members and the move to afternoons has encouraged some ex-members to come back to us. We must be one of the friendliest WIs around and visitors always receive a warm welcome. As we like to say: We may be small - but we're perfectly formed!