Breathing life into a favourite from yesteryear

CWA's renaissance continues as membership climbs for second year

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NEW GENERATION: Rachel Whiting, the CEO of RDA Australia, is also a member of the Country Women's Association.

NEW GENERATION: Rachel Whiting, the CEO of RDA Australia, is also a member of the Country Women's Association.

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Membership is on the rise for the second consecutive year.

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THE renaissance of the Country Women's Association is continuing, with the organisation recording its second annual rise in membership after years of decline.

At the end of September 2019, membership numbers in NSW stood at 8441 spread across 378 branches, an increase of about 300 members.

Seven new branches were formed in the last 12 months, including some which gather in the evening to accommodate women who cannot make it to daytime meetings.

Chief executive officer of the CWA in NSW, Danica Leys, says the increase in membership has been pleasing to see.

Jane Lieschke is a member of the CWA's Galore branch, but she was the driving force behind the establishment of a new one at Uranquinty.

Jane Lieschke is a member of the CWA's Galore branch, but she was the driving force behind the establishment of a new one at Uranquinty.

"It's just a nice, positive reinforcement for us as an organisation that we're focusing on the things our members want us to focus on, and I think we've been really conscious - in the last two years particularly - of talking more to media and to the general public about all the great things that CWA does," Ms Leys said.

"I think that increased awareness is translating into increased membership as well."

Rachel Whiting has been a member of the CWA's Uranquinty evening branch since it was formed two years ago. She is also the publicity officer for the Riverina group of branches.

Ms Whiting, 43, who is also the CEO of Regional Development Australia Riverina, decided to give the CWA a go after a campaign by Galore branch member Jane Lieschke to set up a branch around Uranquinty.

The new branch has embraced social media and a more relaxed style of meeting, but Ms Whiting said the CWA's core ideal of country women looking after country women had not changed.

"The goal, I suppose, was to really support Uranquinty, and we're doing that. We've done that. We've looked for gaps in the community," Ms Whiting said.

"We also think it would be sad if the CWA ceased to exist because it has done so many things for so long."

Reflecting on the success of branch she helped form, Mrs Lieschke believes there is a new appreciation of the role played by the CWA in regional areas.

"The CWA is just too important to country areas to lose," the 58-year-old said.

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