THE Scottish Women’s Rural Institutes has taken the controversial decision to drop the ‘Rural’ in a desperate bid to attract urban members.
Since 1917 women in the Scottish countryside have been coming together to bake, sew and knit in what is affectionately referred to as the ‘Rural’.
But now the groups are to be rebranded, much to the disappointment of some members, and will become known as simply the Scottish Women’s Institutes.
The shake-up will also see the moto change from ‘For Home & Country’ to ‘Women Together’ and the luckenbooth brooch logo be revamped.
The body claim the changes will help draw a new generation but some members have spoken out amid fears of ‘alienating’ the traditionalists among them.
The ‘Rural’ has been a much loved part of country living for ladies in Scotland for decades however recently membership has been falling at the rate of about 1,000 a year.
In 1980 there were 30,000 ladies signed up – a number that has fallen to less than 18,500 today.
Christine Hutton, chairman of the organisation, said: “We are aware that many non-members who live in cities and towns feel we are not open to them; just to rural, country people and this could not be further from the truth.
“We may be dropping the word ‘rural’ from our name, but I am sure generations of women will continue to refer to us as The Rural and we welcome this.”
She added: “It has been estimated that if we continue a membership decline similar to that which we have experienced in recent years, our organisation may simply cease to exist.”
The transition might not be an easy one however.
Branch member Susanne Marshall said: “It stinks. Simples. And can I say, I think anywhere in Scotland is rural. You do not have to go far, even from central Glasgow or Edinburgh, to find fields and tractors.”
Jay Hutchison said: “A name change and logo change will not attract new members but has alienated and angered our longer serving members.”
While another member Jane Oswald Russell added: I’m not impressed. Not by any of it.”