100 years of the Women’s Institute (WI)

September 16th 2015 marked the momentous achievement of 100 years of the WI. Much had been organised to celebrate the anniversary including a Centennial Fair in Harrogate, which took place from the 3rd to the 6th of September. The Fair was one of the main celebratory events and saw 13,880 visitors attend during the 4 days.

B&BF Helpline Advisors Cate Astbury and Kath Forshaw attended the prestigious event. Their role was to talk to people who visited the bladderproblem.co.uk stand by:

  • Engaging and educating women of all ages on overactive bladder, normalising the condition and breaking the taboo and associated embarrassment.
  • Encouraging women to be open and seek GP help if they believe they may be suffering from the condition
  • Providing relevant materials direct to the target audience and raising awareness of the condition
  • Driving people to bladderproblem.co.uk or encouraging them to call the B&BF helpline if they require advice/guidance

Cate recalls ‘On Saturday we talked to a high number of mainly women and a few men regarding their bladder problems. I was privileged to work with Dr Dawn Harper (Embarrassing Bodies) who was also giving advice and handing out leaflets.  The stand was also visited by Carol Smillie who has set up a business with Annabel Croft manufacturing underwear for women with bladder problems called Diary Dolls. Carol also mentioned during her talk that she had suffered bladder problems.

On the whole attendees accepted the leaflets that we gave them and many said they would take them home and read them. It is hoped that more women will seek help once they have read the information leaflets.  The only negatives were that some women almost seemed offended that we were offering leaflets about OAB as many of them obviously believed that it is an “old persons problem” a myth that we were trying to discourage.

Kath said “An offer I could not refuse… two days on a stand at the Women’s Institute Centennial Conference at Harrogate, representing the B&BF and raising awareness about bladder problems and encouraging women to seek treatment and further advice.

I was initially apprehensive about what approach to take and concerned that women would shy away from being associated with an embarrassing problem. The stand had been organised and set up in a very professional manner by Astellas and was eye catching and informative, a variety of leaflets were made available including the B&BF ‘Pathway to success’ booklet.

On the two days I attended there was a doctor and pharmacist from Astellas present who took part in answering questions and several marketing representatives who just gave out leaflets. The interest was huge and we were inundated with questions about a wide range of problems. It wasn’t possible of course to give any in -depth consultation but I directed hundreds of women to our website and Helpline and more than 750 leaflets were given out on the first day.

Altogether it was an exhausting but very positive experience. “