April – May 2023

Please see our home page for details of our monthly meetings

The April meeting was another amazing turnout of guests and members. Bella gave an amazing presentation about her journey towards developing her sustainable fashion business. I feel that it is quite fitting that I am writing and publishing this on Saturday 22nd April which marks the official Earth Day although every day is Earth day really). From her childhood in Tel Aviv, learning to cook with her family, moving to London to study fashion design, time spent in New York working with labels such as Alexander Wang and threeASFOUR, and back to London to achieve an MA in Apllied Psychology in Fashion and in 2018 start tending an allotment plot. I was particularly excited to welcome Bella, since hearing her on LBC with James O’Brien two years ago. She was discussing her first published book ‘Grow, Cook, Dye, Wear’. I knew that she would be perfect to talk to us because she is a successful business woman who is championing sustainability, which is a major focus for the Women’s Institute through several of our national campaigns. Bella narrated the story of her allotment, that it was overgrown with couch grass and brambles. How she found a little history of the plot – as a nursery for school children to learn about plants before her, and tended by a three time widower named Jackson prior to them. Bella described the beauty of the soil in her plot and the abundance of life living in it. She talked about her process as a circular economy and her love of clothes – the beauty of finding a garment that is special and meaningful, made to last instead of being thrown away. The five main crops she grows and uses to dye and develop delicious recipes are onions, nettles, rhubarb, blackberry and red cabbage. Her recipes are all plant based too which continues the concept of sustainability. This meeting is definitely going into the top five of my favourite meetings.

Looking forward to May, we will be holding our AGM and celebrating another birthday with cake and a quiz.

Group News

Groups are open to members only.  If you want to become a member and access any of our interest groups please email debeauvoirwi@gmail.com.

NEW GROUP ALERT! Culture Club – At the next meeting there will be a sign up sheet for interest in our new culture group.  The idea is to start with outings to local cinemas to see a film and grow from here.

The book for April was ‘Bad Blood’, by Lorna Sage. The book group meet on the third Tuesday of every month, which was on the 18th this month.  Please see the group page for details of previous reads.

The BST Walking group will be strolling around Abney Park Cemetery on Friday the 28th of April.  Please see the group page to see past walks.

Knitting and Stitching continue to meet on a semi regular basis. They are working on a yarn bomb project for the King’s Coronation in May (pics to come). Please email for date and time of next session.

Members of the fitness group have been meeting for a few months now to improve fitness and enjoy each other’s company.  Please visit the group page here for more information.

DBWI Campaign News

Nothing new to report yet.

Community News

On Saturday 6th of May, St Peter’s Church will be screening the Coronation of King Charles the 3rd and on Sunday the 7th the celebratory concert.  These events are free but require attendees to book a ticket.  Click this link to the church website

St Peter’s Church, De Beauvoir are continuing to provide a safe and warm place to go on Wednesdays, between 12pm and 4.30pm. Anyone is invited to attend for bingo, crafts (volunteers required), soup and other refreshments, and a film for the little ones in the afternoon. please email simonperfect@stpeterdebeauvoir.org.uk if you are available to volunteer.

We are still accepting donations of toiletries and children’s toys for Solace. Email us to find out where to bring any donations you can provide.

National Federation Public Affairs News

(The following is a selection of what is going on nationally and the information is copied directly from a Public Affairs Digest email):

To support members in learning more about the resolution that will be voted upon at the Annual Meeting, the NFWI held a webinar on Wednesday 12 April. Members heard from Kirsty Davies from the charity Surfers Against Sewage.  The recording is now available to view here.  It is intended as a supplementary opportunity to meetings and events organised by federations and WIs in advance of the Annual Meeting.

Women’s Aid: #SaveOurServices

Frontline specialist domestic abuse services provide lifesaving services for survivors and their children, but they are chronically underfunded. In particular, we’ve seen the cost of living crisis disproportionately impact survivors and specialist services with 67 per cent of member services telling Women’s Aid they might have to close if they don’t receive urgent funding. We need to ensure enough funding is available to support them.

Women Count Panel event 12 May

For democracy to be effective and vibrant and function well, it’s vital that there’s equal representation of women, in all their diversity, in parliament. But, whilst women are 51 per cent of the population, they only account for 3 per cent of MPs and our democracy is being undermined by a lack of representation.

On Friday 12 May, Centenary Action will be hosting an online panel event as part of the Women Count campaign. The cross-party panel of MPs will set out their ideas for how to achieve equal representation. You will have the chance to ask them questions and contribute your own ideas on how to get more women elected. If you are interested in attending you can book a place here

Other News

The Lady Denman Cup annual writing competition is open for entries here. WI members are invited to write a letter explaining how the WI has influenced or impacted them as an individual, and how it has helped them become the woman they are today. Members should consider how their letter would inspire other women and girls and encourage them to join the WI. Entries must be no more than 500 words; the letter can either be left open or addressed to a particular individual.

Deaf Awareness week is between Tuesday 2nd and Monday 8th of May

The 8th of May is also World Ovarian Cancer Day

We look forward to seeing you at our 4th May meeting. As always stay well and safe. Many blessings to you all.


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