April 2018 – British Traditions

It’s been a scorching start to the week and West Ealing WI are really looking forward to showing off our West London tans! Next Tuesday we are going to enjoy another one of our social meetings, with a bit of a competitive twist. We are celebrating the great British tradition of the board game! The Committee will be providing the family classics plus a few of our own favourites. You are welcome to bring along a game of your own, especially if you have something interesting to teach us, but remember it needs to be achievable in an hour or less, and nothing too naughty! We will be serving a few light refreshments alongside the usual Bake Off offerings.

Based on your feedback we know that you enjoy these social meetings, as they are a great chance to get know your fellow members in a more informal atmosphere. So, in the spirit of our resolution to alleviate loneliness, this would be a great meeting if you would like to bring a friend! The usual visitors fee will apply, and it’s still ladies only, but if there is someone you’ve been trying to persuade to join, or perhaps someone that needs a bit of company, why not invite them?

We think this is going to be a super fun meeting! We can’t wait to learn lots of different games and see a few new faces!

Ealing Women’s Refuge – Cleaning products

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We would like to thank everyone for their kind Easter gifts. Everyone at the refuge had a lovely holiday thanks to all of your thoughtful donations. We have once again been asked for practical items, specifically cleaning products. When Emma and Amy visited the refuge the support team explained that creating a clean and tidy space is an important part of maintaining routine and wellbeing amongst the women at the refuge. It would be fantastic if you could bring along cleaning products, as well as sponges, cloths and other cleaning paraphernalia.  

Bake Off – Traditional

For the April Bake Off we would like to see your favourite traditional cakes and bakes! Whether you are dusting off your Delia or checking your Mary Berry show us your old reliable Victoria sponges, lemon drizzles, and tea time biscuits! If you have any local traditional bakes or grandma’s recipes we’d love to try them. Remember your receipts and hand them to Amy to be reimbursed.

 

 

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March Meeting 2018 – The Arts

The snow has finally melted, the daffodils are recovering, and with all the spring colour around we are really looking forward to our March meeting which will focus on The Arts!

Rob Smith will be giving a presentation on the female portraits painted by the artist John Singer Sargent. Rob studied art history at Birbeck College and is now a tour guide with Footprints of London, a group of guides offering slightly off the beaten track walks and tours in London.

Rob will be explaining the history of the paintings, the work of John Singer Sargent, but most importantly the fascinating lives of the women who sat for the portraits, many of whom had connections with early 20th century politics.

For the second part of the evening, we are once again very excited to be hosting some local lady artists. It will be a great opportunity to peruse their work and purchase anything you like, so don’t forget your purse!

Jessica Rose – has a collection of paintings and hand-pulled prints of local scenes and London landmarks.
Brenda Evlin – creates unique vibrant observations of gardens and country critters.
Rosanna Henderson  – makes indoor and outdoor mosaics, combining stained glass and decorative items.
Anna Cortada  – creates natural pieces full of vibrant colours taking influence from nature.

Ealing Women’s Refuge – Easter Treats

This month Ealing Women’s Refuge has asked for Easter treats to enjoy over the holidays. As the Refuge is trying to promote healthy eating it would be fantastic to have a selection of toys, games and magazines as well as chocolate! Please bring along treats for babies, young children, teenagers and the ladies staying at the refuge. Some ideas could include a pamper product, a kids magazine or activity book, a game, outdoor toys or an easy crafting kit.

Bake Off – Artistic Flare 

We absolutely loved all of your spicy bakes at the last meeting, and it showed us how creative our members are. So for this month why not show us your artistic flare? Whether it’s elaborate decorations, fancy icing, bright colours, patterns or just getting some younger family members involved with the silver balls and sprinkles, we’d love to see your artistic bakes. Please remember your receipts and give them to Amy so that you can be reimbursed for ingredients.

Suffragette Banner – 100 Banners Project 

We had an absolutely fantastic time marching with our banner and then joining the other groups at the Albert Hall on International Women’s Day. Please find President Steph’s blog about the story of our banner here. We are really pleased to announce that our banner has been selected to go on display at the Albert Hall! Unfortunately, unless you are attending an event, the Albert Hall’s exhibition spaces are only open at certain times. You will be able to view our banner on 1st April, 21st April and 22ndApril,  find out more information here

International Women’s Day and the #100banners project

In late 2017 West Ealing WI had a really exciting opportunity to be involved in the 100 Banners project run by Digital Drama & funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The brief was to create a banner to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, which first gave (some!) women the right to vote. The idea was to create something either representing our group, or honouring a historical figure that inspired us, or highlighting an issue that affects women today. Janet was really keen to tell us about some research she’d been doing on Marion Wallace Dunlop. I’d never actually heard of her before as she’s not one of the more well known figures, but as soon as we’d learned about Marion there was no question that she would be the woman we’d want to focus on! Marion Wallace Dunlop lived in Monpelier Road in Ealing and was arrested in 1909 for damage she’d caused at the House of Commons. She was taken to Holloway Prison where she demanded to be treated as a political prisoner and when this was not acceded to she refused to eat, making her the first suffragette to go on hunger strike. Authorities were concerned she would die and become a martyr for the cause of women’s suffrage so she was released after having not eaten for 91 hours. This strategy was adopted by other suffragettes and later went on to influence other political protests such as those led by Gandhi against British rule in India.

The banner was designed in some ways to reflect our own. When we made the West Ealing WI banner in 2012, different members worked on individual letters. The banner is a product of as many people as possible, incorporating different colours, styles and techniques. This means it is inclusive, showcases our different skills and personalities, and that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts, showing what we can achieve collectively.

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WEWI displaying their banner at the Women’s March on London 2017.

We ran a couple of workshops on Saturday & Sunday mornings as well as taking the banner to February’s craft club meeting at the Star & Anchor where we made significant progress on a truly intimidating amount of blanket stitch. As well as Marion’s name, we chose to depict the food that she threw out of the window while on hunger strike – a fried fish, three bananas, four slices of bread and a cup of hot milk – and as a replica of the badge that was given to suffragettes who had spent time in prison.

 

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The banner was finally completed at 7am on the morning of the women’s march on Sunday 4th March, although we were still attaching tassels on the train!

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President Steph attaching the tassels to the banner as we get the tube to the start of the march

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Our group and the finished banner

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Hanging out with other groups from Middlesex Federation

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The bold lettering on our banner makes us easy to pick out of a crowd!

As well as Sunday’s March we were invited to attend a special evet at the Royal Albert Hall on International Women’s Day itself, Thursday 8th March. This was to take a photo of all 100 banners in the project together, as the Royal Albert Hall had hosted a number of suffragette meetings as the movement was growing.

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Elaine, Steph and Helen ready to display our banner

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The group shot – we’re about halfway up on the right!

Luckily we had a few extra people on the day – although only two people from each group were meant to attend, Elaine & Emma also came along to watch it all happen, and ended up helping out when other Middlesex WIs Hanwell & Gothic Valley both needed an extra pair of hands! We also got to meet some of the staff from Gunnersbury Park Museum who had a number of banners that they’d made in collaboration with local schools, including another one about Marion Wallace Dunlop!

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Suzanne Keyte, talking about the suffragette meetings held at the Royal Albert Hall

We were invited inside the hall to listen to two talks about the history of the suffrage movement. The first was by Suzanne Ketye, Royal Albert Hall archivist and West Ealing WI member, who’s recently published a book chronicling the timeline of the suffragette struggle, and talked about the suffrgatte’s relationship with the hall. The second was by Elizabeth Crawford, a historian who was the historical consultant for the 100 Banners project. Elizabeth is also working on a book about the artists of the sufragette movement, including Marion Wallace Dunlop who was instrumental in supporting and leading other women in the creation of their own protest banners. This wasn’t a fact we’d come across during our own research, but learning it makes our tribute to her feel all the more necessary and appropriate. Elizabeth also shared this quote from the newspaper The Morning Leader, in June 1908, about the protests:

‘They have recreated the beauty of blown silk and tossing embroidery. The procession was like a medieval festival, vivid with simple grandeur, alive with an ancient dignity.’

Yesterday we were also told that our banner has been selected to go on display at the Royal Albert Hall in the Amphi Corridor as part of the Women and the Hall exhibition. This is a massive privilege and an honour! You’ll be able to see the banner on display if you attend any events at the hall for as long as the exhibition runs, up until the 26th April, or there are some open days when you can get in for free. You can also see more in this London Live report from yesterday’s event, and we’re also hoping to feature in the next issue of WI life.

It has been a joy to work on this with you over the past few months and I look forward to our next heroically overambitious project! Thank you so much to Janet (particularly for the idea that sparked it all!), Vicki, Fiona, Pauline, Nilam, Emma, Elaine, Helen, Angela, Cathy, Kathleen, Gill, Katherine, Wendy and Amy, you have all been magnificent.

February Meeting 2018 – Women’s History

In this historic year for women’s history we are very excited about our February meeting. Former tv producer and historian Rebecca Rideal will be giving us a talk on the trailblazing women of 17th century London who paved a way for women’s voices in culture, politics and society. Rebecca’s work focuses on the cultural impact of women throughout history, her most recent book, 1666: Plague, War and Hellfire is a vivid account of a dramatic year in British history. Rebecca is a champion of women’s history and in her writing for The History Vault, The Guardian and The New Statesman she has argued for the continuing importance of women’s voices in British history and academic debate. We are looking forward to what promises to be a unique and informative talk.

Women’s Refuge Donations

This month the Ealing Women’s Refuge have asked for children’s clothes and nappies. The refuge has asked for new or as good as new children’s clothes for toddlers up to tweens for both genders. The children often arrive at the refuge with only one set of clothes and need everything from play clothes to nightwear. During a recent visit Emma and Amy met some of the children living at the refuge and they told us all about their favourite films and tv shows so any clothes with characters on would definitely be welcome! The Refuge also always needs nappies of all sizes.

Bake Off – Something Spicy

We’ve had some fantastic cakes and bakes at our recent meetings and we are so pleased our members and visitors are embracing the Bake Off spirit! This month we are looking for something spicy, whether you’re ready to be liberal with the chilli, or creative with ginger, bring along a bake with a flavoursome kick! It can be savoury or sweet, biscuit, pie or cake, and if you bring along your receipts we can reimburse for the cost of ingredients.

You voted! WI Resolutions

West Ealing WI voted on the resolution short list and chose Mental Health Matters. We look forward to hearing the final two resolutions voted for by WIs across the country that will be taken to our AGM to decide on our campaigns for next year. Mental Health and wellbeing is an issue that WEWI feel strongly about and hope to find ways to promote mental health awareness this year. This video from the organisation Mind shares some experiences of young people with mental health issues https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_y97VF5UJcc If you have any suggestions for how we can promote and support mental health wellbeing for women and in our local community get in touch.

Craft Project – Suffragette Banner

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In honour of the centenary of women’s first right to vote West Ealing WI are making a Suffragette Banner! Find out more about the project here. After a brilliant suggestion from WEWI member Janet, our banner is going to be focused around Marion Wallace Dunlop. Marion Wallace Dunlop was the first Suffragette to go on hunger strike and lived on Montpelier Road in Ealing. The Banner will be at Craft Club this evening, Tuesday 20th February, 7.30pm at the Star and Anchor Pub. We will be organising additional workshops to put the finishing touches to the banner, including a fish, slice of toast and bunch of bananas that Marion infamously threw from a window! If you’d like to help with the banner get in touch westealingwi@gmail.com

January Meeting 2018 – Fitness with Chiswick Scottish Country Dancers

Happy New Year from West Ealing WI! We’re so excited to start the year, find out what WEWI are getting up to in 2018!

At our January meeting, Tuesday 23rd January 7.30 pm at Northfields Community Centre, to get us in the mood for Burns’ Night the Chiswick Scottish Dance Club will be doing a short performance and guiding us through a few steps. Don’t worry if you aren’t too flight of foot as it promises to be a fun filled evening with a mix of demonstrations and a chance to join in. Why not come along and have a go at a jig, reel or hornpipe!

Membership

We would very much like to welcome back our members and hope that a few more of you will join us this year. The membership fee for 2018 is £41 which is less than £4 per meeting! Please note our visitor fee has increased to £5 for 2018.

However, membership gets you access to so much more than just the meetings, you can join us at the Pub Quiz, Craft Club, Book Club and get first dibs on our excellent Culture Club. You get to have your say on how WEWI is run and what the WI campaigns for each year. You get a lovely WI Life magazine each month which is full of interesting information, recipes and so much more! Furthermore, you get to be part of an organisation which has over 100 years of history of amazing women, life changing campaigns, fantastic friendships and great new experiences!

So how do you join? Well if you are new member fill out a WI Membership form 2018, and email it back or bring it to the next meeting. If you’re an existing member we will just ask you to confirm your details are still correct when you renew.

You can join (or renew) your membership by paying £41 one of the following ways:

  • Cheque (payable to West Ealing WI)
  • Bank transfer (contact us for details)
  • PayPal (there will be a transaction fee of £1.85)

Refuge Donations

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Ealing Women’s Refuge had a fantastic Christmas thanks to all of your wonderful donations. The Refuge has just opened a new relaxation hut for the women to spend some quiet time in to focus on their wellbeing. They would like donations for the relaxation hut but have asked that the items are new rather than used or second hand, so that it feels extra special for the ladies when they exercise or have some chill out time. They would specifically like new yoga mats, throws, cushions, yoga or gentle exercise dvds, fairy lights, battery operated candles, relaxing music or meditation music. We understand that at this time of year not everyone can contribute new items, but don’t worry we will have plenty of other collections and fundraising activities throughout 2018.

Bake off – Scottish Treats

In honour of Burns’ Night and our Scottish Country Dancers we would like people to bring Scottish themed bakes! Whether you make shortbread, ginger cake, tablet, oat cakes or something with a wee dram of whisky it would be fantastic to show our dancers that the Sassenachs can whip up some Highland fare.

Resolutions – time to vote!

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NFWI AGM 2017

The Resolutions short list for 2018 has been released and it’s time for WEWI to have their say. Here is the short list

  1. Positive body image in a digital age
  2. Stop female genital mutilation
  3. Raising awareness of modern slavery in the UK
  4. Mental health matters
  5. Healthier Mouth, Healthier Body
    You can find out more about all the shortlisted resolutions at https://www.thewi.org.uk/campaigns/news-and-events/current-news-and-events/resolutions-2017

Please note that only members can vote for resolutions. Cast your vote easily in a couple of minutes by heading to our online survey Vote Here!

Owl and Pussy Cat Social – 30th January

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WEWI ladies enjoying a bevvie

As there is a 5th Tuesday in the month we are starting the year as we mean to go on by heading to the pub for a members social! This time we are venturing to pastures new and will be visiting alternative local Micro Pub The Owl and the Pussycat on Northfields Avenue. Fear not if you’re not a massive beer fan, they also serve wine and prosecco! If you’d like to join us for a beverage let us know by emailing westealingwi@gmail.com so we can book a big enough table.

Craft Project – Suffragette Banner

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Modern Suffragettes with our current WEWI banner!

In honour of the centenary of women’s first right to vote West Ealing WI will be making a Suffragette Banner! Find out more about the project here. After a brilliant suggestion from WEWI member Janet, our banner is going to be focused around Marion Wallace Dunlop. Marion Wallace Dunlop was the first Suffragette to go on hunger strike and lived on Montpelier Road in Ealing. We’re going to be holding a couple of workshops to help make the banner, dates tbc. Craft club will be busily designing and creating the banner this month so if you are interested pop along to the next Craft Club on 16th January at the Star and Anchor or if you want to lend a hand putting it all together let us know at the next meeting!

November Meeting 2017 – Christmas Crafts

 

It’s that time of year again, West Ealing WI are dusting off the baubles, digging out the tinsel, and generally feeling thoroughly festive. The November Christmas Crafting meeting, Tuesday 28th November, is always a firm favourite amongst members and visitors alike. This year we are excited to announce that we will be making Mexican Mandalas. Mandalas have traditionally been created for celebration, or to bless and protect the home. So we think they will be just perfect for a unique fun festive decoration! As all materials will be provided, we ask that visitors pay £5 for this meeting, also could everyone please bring a pair of scissors.

 

Why not join us for a lovely creative Christmassy evening, sample a seasonal beverage and a mince pie (or two)?

Christmas Bake Off

Tis the season to be jolly, be merry and eat cake! Obviously our Bake Off theme this month is Festive. So bring along your favourite Christmas cake recipe, your best mince pies, or a yummy yule log? We don’t expect standards worthy of a Paul hand shake, it’s just lovely to try your creations with a cuppa (or a mug of mulled wine). Please remember your receipts and give them to Amy so that you can be reimbursed for ingredients.

Christmas Refuge Collection

WEWI has been supporting Ealing Women’s Refuge throughout 2017 and at our November meeting we would like donations for Christmas. As the speaker from the Refuge explained at our June meeting, Christmas is a very busy time for the Refuge and many women and their children have to leave their homes with nothing. Please bring along presents and festive items appropriate for the ladies at the refuge over the Christmas season, as well as children and teenagers.

October Meeting 2017 – Fashion

The leaves are falling and the autumnal chill in the air is making us reach for cosy knits, so why not come and learn about the everyday fashions of yesteryear at West Ealing WI’s October meeting?

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Historian Bethan Bide will be talking to us about 1940s & 50s suburban London fashion, and in particular the everyday dress that women wore during World War Two. Bethan is Lecturer in Fashion Visual Cultures at Middlesex University, she has worked closely with the fashion collections at the Museum of London and also contributed to the Imperial War Museum’s 2015–2017 “Fashion on the Ration” exhibition. Bethan’s talk on wartime fashions will be followed by a Dress Detective workshop, WEWI will have the chance to examine some vintage clothes, accessories and fashion items to work out who would’ve worn what and why!

It’s going to be a thoroughly fashionable evening so we would like to encourage members and visitors to dress the part. Whether it’s full fancy dress or just your favourite retro accessory we encourage everyone to join in and turn up in their best vintage outfits. If anyone is stuck for costume, Julia is offering WEWI Members the use of her vintage collection for free which is Size 6-16 in decades of 1940-80! Email West Ealing WI to find out what might suit you from Julia’s collection.

Bake Off – Traditional

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This week Bake Off revisited ‘forgotten bakes’ and as WEWI are similarly exploring past fashions at our October meeting the theme will be ‘Traditional’. It’s time to dig out grandma’s recipes, dust off Mrs Beeton, and remember that local traditional favourite. Bring along a seed cake, prep a parkin, or make a madeira! Please keep your receipts and WEWI can reimburse ingredients.

A spooky social at The Dodo – Tuesday 31st October, 7.30pm

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WEWI are heading to one of our favourite social haunts on Halloween! Our Dodo socials have proved very popular, they are a great chance to get to know each other and relax with a beverage. The Dodo serves beer, prosecco, wine and soft drinks as well as bar snacks. Halloween fancy dress, tricks and treats welcome! Let us know if you are planning to come along so that we can book a space.

What have WEWI been up to? Summer 2017

West Ealing WI have had a fun filled busy summer so here is an update on what we’ve been up to!

July Meeting ‘The Arts’

At our July meeting ‘The Arts’ we enjoyed a really interesting presentation from Carrie Reichardt a West London mosaic artist. Carrie had some of her work displayed at the Disobedient Objects exhibition at the V&A in 2014, and the V&A has blog posts on the Tiki Love Truck and the ceramic panels that hung outside the museum. Carrie also mentioned one of her frequent collaborators is ATM, a street artist who paints pictures of endangered birds around London – here’s a great article about his work around Ealing’s South Acton estate.

 

Ealing has a thriving miniature community of mosaic artists, including Sarah Stanley, Rosanna Henderson (who has a lovely video about how she got started with mosaics) and our very own Wendy Freeman! All three of them, plus various other friends of WEWI, will be part of BEAT in September.

My WI

The WI has now got a members’ only website set up, at mywi.thewi.org.uk. It’s a really useful resource full of information and WI activities, local and national. The My WI website is a great way to find out what other WIs are up to and what campaigns or events we can get involved in. Also, a few snapshots from our Campaigns meeting are dotted about the website thanks to our visit from NFWI! Here’s Julia (Joint Secretary) & Amy (Comms) having a giggle!

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August Meeting ‘Food Glorious Food’

We absolutely loved our August meeting as it was all about chocolate! Eichii from My Sweet Academy gave us a fantastic lesson on how to properly taste chocolate, including pinching our noses and voting on flavour combinations! We finished off the meeting with a lollipop decorating competition. The winners, including Janet pictured below with her cat creation, received some fancy chocolates to take home. Eichii was a great teacher and we all left the meeting with new knowledge and a tasty treat. We are thinking of organising a group trip to take one of Eichii’s classes soon!

 

Extra Curricula Activities

We’ve had some excellent successes with the pub quiz this summer with two podium places! The winnings, a couple of bottles of wine, have oiled the cogs and spurred on our success… we promise! Book Club has enjoyed some riveting reads including The Olive Grove by Deborah Rohan, La Cucina by Lily Prior, and the weighty tome 11.22.63 by Stephen King.

In August, WEWI members also enjoyed another Social at the The Dodo. We’ve been visiting The Dodo since landlady Lucy Do spoke to us in April, we love our new alternative local and the resident pub dog Bo! We recommend Socials, Book Club, Pub Quiz and Craft Club to members who want to get to know each other in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, let us know if you’re interested in coming along!

Brentford Festival

Despite the drizzle West Ealing WI had a storming success at Brentford Festival. Our combined homemade cake and tomobola stall has raised over £650 for Ealing Women’s Refuge. Dozens of members ‘womaned’ the stall, donated prizes and made us cakes. We want to say a massive thank you to visitors and members who helped, and to everyone who bought a tomobola ticket or slice of cake! Even the Mayor sampled some of our delicious bakes. It was a really fun day out, and we even did an impromptu performance of Jerusalem with the brass band. Not only was Brentford Festival a fantastic fundraiser, it was a great way to spread the word about WEWI, so we hope to see a few new members and visitors soon.

Charity of the Year – Ealing Women’s Refuge

Brentford Festival was of course in aid of our charity of 2017, Ealing Women’s Refuge. The money we raised will go towards child care costs so that the women at the refuge can have time to attend counselling, workshops and training. This important local issue has inspired the WEWI membership who have not only donated their time and cake, but also each month whatever items have been requested by the refuge staff. Ranging from beauty products, to cleaning essentials, to towels and bedding, these donations have helped the women and children at the refuge have a more comfortable experience during a very difficult time. Each meeting the tables have been heaving with contributions, and we hope that the generosity of our members and visitors will continue into the winter and Christmas period.

What’s next? September AGM

It’s that time of year again, as the kids go back to school, the leaves fall and the nights draw in, West Ealing WI has our Annual General Meeting. A delightfully democratic occasion, during which we review what we’ve done this year, vote in the Committee and President and celebrate everything we have achieved. This year, after the official business, inspired by the popularity of the pub quiz, WEWI will be getting their thinking caps and enjoying a sociable evening of quizzical games! More on that to come…. In the meantime we are on the search for a new Committee Member. If you’re a crafty creative, events organiser, admin whizz, or PR pro we’d love you to join the team! Any fully paid up member can join the Committee and we would love a new pair of helping hands. Let us know if you are interested before the September AGM.

If you are a lady of West London, and haven’t come along to one of our meetings, events or activities why not give it a go? Keep an eye on this Blog for updates and information, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news!

July’s Meeting – The Arts with Carrie Reichardt

We are super excited to announce that our speaker for July is going to be Carrie Reichardt! Carrie is a local contemporary artist working in mosaic, ceramics and graphic design and she’ll be talking to us about her work and her inspiration. She describes herself as a renegade potter and is part of the craftivist movement, using her art for activism and protest.

Carrie’s someone we learnt about after walking past her absolutely amazing house down by Acton Green Common – you may recognise it from the photos!

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West Ealing WI Bake Off

Our theme for this month is traybakes. Whether it’s a classic flapjack, the fabulous sounding custard cream blondies or the crunchy blueberry almond bar  the traybake should be big on flavour and short on faff. Our bake off is non-competitve and purely about sharing the joy of cake. If you bring the receipts for your ingredients along, our lovely treasurer Emma can reimburse you.

Women’s Refuge Donations

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West Ealing WI has chosen the Ealing women’s refuge as our charity of 2017. Each month we will be collecting items for donation at the main meeting. Women and children at the refuge have often left home with nothing, and desperately need practical items and little luxuries. This month we are asking for cleaning products. Although we’ve got some electricals in the photo above please don’t donate anything unless it’s absolutely brand new – anything secondhand needs to be PAT tested to ensure it is safe to use and we don’t have the capacity to set this up, we were just very lucky that someone had these lying around to share. What we are looking for is washing up liquid, kitchen and bathroom spray cleaners, furinture polish, dusters, sponges and scourers, that sort of thing! Anything you can give us will be greatly appreciated.

Brentford Festival on Sunday 3rd September

As many of you will be aware WEWI was very disappointed that we were unable to attend Hanwell Carnival. Fortunately we’ve found another fund raising and cake flogging opportunity and are going to be in Blondin Park for the Brentford Festival on Sunday 3rd September.

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To make this event a success we’re looking for donations of cakes, volunteers to help run the stall, and maybe some people to ferry the cakes to the site. Our important cake rules for the day are:
* Pre-sliced if possible – we sell everything for £1 a slice and like to err on the generous side so people feel they’re getting good value
* No fresh cream or anything that needs to be refrigerated
* If you save your receipts we can reimburse you for you ingredients

We’ll have a sign up sheet for cakes and voluteers at the July and August meetings, or you can register your interest by emailing westealingwi@gmail.com.

We’re also going to be running a tombola and would greatly appreciate any prizes you can donate! You can bring these to the meeting tomorrow or on Tuesday 22nd August. Any money we raise from the day is going to go towards helping the women’s refuge – it looks like there are a few decorating and gardening projects we can get involved with which will help create a more pleasant and welcoming space.

Middlesex Newsletter and Facebook Page

The WI is more than just West Ealing. All of the WIs in our area are a part of Middlesex Federation, which runs events, trips, and charitable and educational activites for the group. You can keep up to date with what’s available via their Facebook page, and see what other WIs are up to in the monthly Middlesex News – June’s edition available here! West Ealing WI have been a bit slack in keeping Middlrsex informed of what we’re doing, so if anyone was interested in writing some updates for us we’d greatly appreciate it! Either drop an email to the usual address or grab one of the committee members (anyone with a purple lanyard) at the main meeting.

Memebrs have also expressed an interest in learning some new craft skills and Middlesex Federation runs a number of dabble days where you can try new crafts for a small fee. These are usually based at the county office on the Green in West Drayton and a list of all upcoming events is in Middlesex News. If you do join the Facbook group, Lorraine who runs the events and is Middlesex’s Craft Guru usually sends everyone an event invitation for upcoming courses to keep you up to date with what’s available.

2017 Annual Meeting & Resolutions

On Wednesday 7th June WI members from across the country descended on Liverpool for our Annual Meeting. This year former president Lorna attended on behalf of West Ealing WI and a few other groups from Middlesex Federation, and this is her report.

2017 Annual Meeting

WIAM2017-0Filling up the Liverpool Echo Arena.

The meeting opened with the usual rousing Jerusalem and a welcome from the Mayor of Liverpool. Janice Langley emphasised her commitment to reducing the gap between NFWI and the membership in her final Chair’s Address and it was good to be reminded of the work undertaken of the last few years by the board to meet the members. She was excited to announce the new online membership space, My WI, and was positive and cautiously optimistic about Denman. The Treasurer described the finances as “a good foundation garment: holding everything together and pointing in the right
direction”.

The first resolution to be discussed was loneliness. The proposer called for us to work to embed strategies with local service providers and raise awareness of the impact. Marcus Rand from the Campaig to End Loneliness said that loneliness has such an observable impact on health and wellbeing, increasing likelihood of mortality by 26%, that
if it were visible we’d have taken action by now. The rebuttal suggested that loneliness is part of the human condition and cannot be treated directly, instead the causes need investigation. The response from the floor was mixed. There were moving stories from
women who had faced the common situations that can cause loneliness who were significantly helped by joining the WI. There were also strong arguments against this resolution particularly around the wording and the identification of lonely people and this was reflected in what turned out to be a close vote.

We had an inspiring talk from the founder of Green & Black’s chocolate who thanked us for being part of her success: the WI, Oxfam and Christian Aid were the first organisations to back the Fairtrade initiative. One of the villages supplying G&B cocoa now has 80% of its children achieving secondary education, up from zero before Fairtrade so how we shop really can make a difference.

WIAM2017-3NFWI Public Affairs stand

After lunch and the announcement of the 2017-2019 NFWI board we returned to the resolutions: microplastic fibres in our oceans. Dr Natalie Weldon became everyone’s new hero with her fantastic talk about her research in the Clyde on the impacts of marine micro plastic pollution. Domestic washing fibres are the largest source of pollution, making up to 30% of the stomach volume of surveyed langoustine. Natalie said that this problem can be tackled at home through extra washing machine filters and wearing natural fibres, and through political lobbying for better filtration at water treatment facilities, and commercial lobbying for plastics with quicker degradation. There wasn’t a rebuttal and the comments from the floor were wholeheartedly in favour of the resolution. There was an excitement in
the room about being a leader of the campaign, but also caution that we don’t cause more problems in fixing the problem. Bamboo was cited as a natural fibre that actually uses a high amount of energy and water to produce and is therefore not a sustainable alternative.

Susie Dent of Countdown Dictionary Corner provided 
entertainment with talk of malaphors, incorrect metaphors such as “we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it”, and eggcorns, misheard words and phrases that replace their originals. “Trending towards” is currently replacing the original “tending towards”. If you’re worried about the degradation of the English language, Susie instead thinks it is incredibly exciting and gave examples that this has been happening for centuries.

Having a boogie!

The Retros played out the meeting, having entertained the WI at Denman College, they had the WI ladies dancing in the aisles and I left the meeting with a huge smile on my face!

Thanks for attending on our behalf, Lorna! The NFWI have put up some videos from the day covering many of the discussion – the morning session is below, and you can find the afternoon session here.


Resolutions

As Lorna said above, both of this year’s resolutions passed!  They are:

Alleviating loneliness
This meeting calls on every WI and the NFWI to work alongside health and social care providers and their local communities to raise awareness of the causes and impacts of loneliness, thus ensuring better identification of lonely people in order to be able to offer them the appropriate support and assistance.
North Cave WI, East Yorkshire Federation
The resolution was passed with 69.3% of the vote.

Plastic soup: Keep microplastic fibres out of our oceans
Microplastic fibres are shed from synthetic clothing with every wash and are the main contributors to microplastic contamination of the oceans. The NFWI calls on Government and industry to research and develop innovative solutions to this problem in order to stop the accumulation of microplastic fibres in our oceans.
Ashley Green WI, Buckinghamshire Federation
The resolution was passed with 98.9% of the vote.

We’d love any thoughts you have on what we as a WI can do around these resolutions to bring about positive change in our community!