Friendship is an undervalued resource. The consistent message…is that friends make your life better.’ – Dr. Karen A. Roberto, Executive Director at the Institute for Society, Culture and Environment at Virginia Tech.

The impact of friendship on health and wellbeing has been well documented in scientific research, increasing longevity by between 22% and 50% as well as increasing the likelihood of healthy lifestyle choices. There are also real psychological benefits to a strong friendship network. Having supportive friendships is strongly correlated with life satisfaction and, according to psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, from Ohio State University’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, functions as a ‘wonderful anti-depressant’.Strikingly, friendships have an even greater impact than familial and romantic relationships.

Friendship is also at the centre of the work we do at WIN. Our grassroots groups are founded on the conviction, borne out by our members, that connection and solidarity between women will transcends cultural and religious differences, and help challenge prejudice. The following quotations from our groups, and from our Chair and CEO, give greater insight on the role of friendship at WIN.

Lady Gilda Levy – WIN Chair and Co-Founder

“Friendship is the very essence of what WIN is about. It comes from the heart and the soul and enriches all our lives.”

Marion Waruguru – WIN CEO

“Friendship is sharing and learning our rich cultural and religious perspectives together through WIN’s activities.”

Lucy Calcott – Chair of East Sussex WIN

“When four of us met in Margaret’s garden 9 years ago at the start of our East Sussex WIN group, we knew it was going to be something special. We were four women of different ages and backgrounds, Church of England, Baha’i, Muslim, and Roman Catholic. Since then our group has grown and flourished. We are interested in each other, concerned about each other when life gets difficult and always look forward to being together. Essentially we love each other and the differences between us are an enrichment not a barrier. It’s a connection that is very precious and gives me hope.”

Dr. Sudarshan Kapur MBE – Chair of Gants Hill WIN

“We are building a better and more inclusive society because of understanding and respecting different faiths and cultures. Breaking all the barriers and creating Unity, Peace and Harmony since joining WIN.”

Averil Pooten Watan – Co-Chair Forest WIN

“For me, Forest WIN has always been a safe space to meet with like minded women who share the same values – kindness, compassion, service of others. It is a friendship group where I feel genuine encouragement and support. Sharing and learning from the wisdom of others, in particular those who have experienced different lived experiences, has given me a deeper understanding of myself and also my community. I truly value all the friendships and partnerships made through Forest WIN and look forward to learning and sharing more with each other and new members that wish to join.”


Giles, L. et al. (2005). Effect of social networks on 10 year survival in very old Australians: the Australian longitudinal study of aging. Journal Of Epidemiology &Amp; Community Health59(7), 574-579.

Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB (2010) Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLoS Med7(7)

Parker Pope, T. (2009). What Are Friends For? A Longer Life (Published 2009). Retrieved 25 July 2022, from

Sohn, E. (2016). More and more research shows friends are good for your health. Retrieved 25 July 2022, from