Test those little grey cells with Helston WI

Join Helston WI for a quiz on 24th February.

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The Royal School of Needlework (RSN) is delighted to announce a very exciting year ahead with many new launches and activities in the pipeline. To start the year off with a bang we have launched a new video which opens the doors to the RSN.

You may wish to visit one of the RSN’s bi-annual exhibitions at Hampton Court Palace: ‘Embellishment in Fashion’ until 23 March, followed by ‘Animals in Embroidery’ which opens on 16 April (pre-booking essential). Group Tour bookings are welcomed.

The RNS’s Embroidery Studio works on bespoke commissions (from working an historic QPR football badge for a birthday present to a large wall hanging for a stately home) as well as restoration and conservation of family heirlooms, Christening robe and wedding veil repairs.

To learn of further new developments, you can sign up here to the RSN’s monthly eNewsletter and you will be kept up to date with the latest news.

If your WI would like to receive some RSN Embroidery Class brochures please contact Bryna Black, RSN Marketing Manager, on bryna.black@royal-needlework.org.uk.

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Giving up Plastic for Lent?

Here’s a challenge for WIs and WI members. Why not try giving up plastic for Lent? Or for the month of April? Or any period of time you’d like – start today!

It’s been very interesting to hear this week’s pledge “to end the scourge of plastic” – eliminating all avoidable plastic waste by 2042, extending the charge for plastic bags, and urging supermarkets to have plastic free aisles. We have all been deeply stirred by The Blue Planet. Let’s hope the Government’s 25 year plan for the environment becomes a reality.

On this subject, a question has been raised: Wouldn’t it help to focus people’s minds on how much we use plastic if we try and give it up as much as we can for a while? The results could well be shocking and make us all take a hard look at our relations with plastic. And we should advertise what we have found. We thought that sounded a very good idea! So how about, for example, giving it up for Lent? Or for the month of April? Or any time you choose?

This might be something that catches your imagination too. We cannot give up all plastic –but we can do what we can to avoid it and give up as much of this “avoidable plastic” as possible for a while– think of all that throw-away single-use stuff that fills our shopping bags. So we can try just buying fruit, veg, meat that is not in plastic packaging. Forget single use plastic water bottles and use refillable ones, etc.

That would be a good exercise in itself. Or we can go further. We could collect the plastic that we have been unable to avoid buying and then challenge the shops that we bought it from – what are they doing about it? Particularly if you do this as a WI or in a group, you could invite the manager of your local supermarket to witness the pile of unavoidable plastic – or write to them and ask for a response! And tell your local paper and radio station too: This has high news value.

So why not have a go at giving up avoidable plastic? And let us know how you get on.

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Ukulele Taster Day

There may have been some confusion over the date of our upcoming Ukulele Taster Day. To clarify, the event will be held on Friday 16th March at Chy Noweth an Conteth from 10:30am until 2:30pm.

If you’ve ever wanted to play the ukulele, here’s your chance! Bring your own ukulele if you have one, but there will be plenty available to borrow on the day. Coffee, biscuits and a light lunch will be provided. It is always worth ringing the office to see if there is still space available even after the closing date (3rd February).

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New 50p Coin to Mark Women Gaining the Right to Vote

Several limited edition coins are to be released by the Royal Mint this year to commemorate important dates and events in the UK’s history, including one celebrating 100 years since women won the right to vote.

Speaking ahead of the coins’ release, Dr Kevin Clancy, director of the Royal Mint Museum, said 2018 is “an important year for the Royal Mint. This year marks 100 years since women won the right to vote in the UK – it came just after WWI and extended the right for women over the age of 30 to vote.”

The coin will have the words “1918 Representation of the People Act” engraved on the front, as well as an image of a woman holding a ballot card.

The Act was granted royal assent in February 1918 and the first elections were held later in December.

So check your change and see if you’ll be lucky enough to get one of the new coins!

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Small Actions Can Have BIG Impact!

Just before Christmas, fishermen caught an 80lb porbeagle shark a few miles off Land’s End, which was slowly being strangled by plastic strapping which had wrapped itself around it and tightened as the animal grew. The fisherman removed the plastic and freed the shark, which hopefully will survive (see The Cornishman from 28th December).  Every day our marine life is threatened in this way by plastic pollution of some kind.

At my grand-daughter’s after school club, a group of Year 6 pupils were discussing plastic pollution with their teacher. Someone pointed out that their school milk (yes, some primary schools do still provide school milk!) was delivered in un-recyclable, individually portioned tetra packs, each with its own plastic straw.

Following their discussion, the eight pupils from the after-school club wrote letters to the CEO of the Lincoln based company that organizes deliveries of milk to schools across England and Wales.

The following week, the school’s milk supply was delivered in the same tetrapacks, but without the straws.

The week after that, the milk was delivered in larger, recyclable plastic bottles which could be decanted into cups.  That week the delivery was also accompanied by a letter to the children from the CEO of the company concerned, explaining that he had himself been concerned about plastic pollution for some time, and that their letters had given him the push he needed to change the packaging not only for their small rural primary school, but also for other schools across England and Wales.

This is a very big win for a very small school – and some very young activists. It epitomises the working of EPR, or Extended Producer Responsibility, whereby companies who make a mess take responsibility, either voluntarily or through legislation, for cleaning it up. Some of the most polluting companies, such as Coca-Cola, have been the most resistant to EPR, and will often spend sums on dodging the issues which would solve them if spent properly. But sometimes, as this story illustrates, consumers have only to show that they care to make a huge difference.

A worldwide campaign by Greenpeace and other organisations has pushed Coca-Cola towards developing a new sustainability plan, which is under discussion at this moment.  The company is in a position to set standards for the whole industry and, with continued pressure from people like us, they might just do it.

 So instead of just being annoyed if your local restaurant uses plastic straws, or you find polystyrene piled up outside your local fast food shop – pay them a visit or write them a letter and see what happens.

Click here if you’d like to add your name to the Greenpeace petition calling on Coca-Cola to reduce the amount of single-use plastic they produce – you may find yourself pushing at an open door.

Perhaps you’d like to watch this video, entitled ‘Can One Straw Change the World?’ by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff. Rachel is the Executive Director of US-based 5 Gyres Institute, the ocean conservation non-profit that first discovered plastic microbeads in 2012 and campaigned for a successful federal ban in 2015.

– Pippa Stilwell
CFWI Climate Ambassador

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The Great British Spring Clean

The Great British Spring Clean is a campaign with a simple aim: to bring people across the country together to clear up the litter that blights our towns, villages, countryside and beaches.

This campaign is an initiative put forward by Keep Britain Tidy, an organisation that should be dear to the hearts of all WI members. Its establishment grew out of a WI resolution passed at the 1954 Annual Meeting which called for a national anti-litter campaign.

On the weekend of 2nd-4th March, The Great British Spring Clean aims to inspire 500,000 people to get outdoors, get active and help clear up the rubbish that lies around us. Join the growing army of #LitterHeroes who have had enough of other people’s litter and are willing to do something about it.

Together we can make a difference and clean up the environment on our doorstep.

Why not organise a litter clean for your WI? Go out and hit your local beach, park or village centre and make a difference!

You can register on The Great British Spring Clean website as well as download posters and other materials to promote your event.

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‘Gardening Challenges’ at Marazion Community Centre

If, in the hustle and bustle of Christmas, you missed the deadline to book your place on our ‘Gardening Challenges’ day, don’t worry! It’s proving to be a popular event, but space is still available. 

The day will be held on Saturday 20th January  from 10:30am until 3:30pm at Marazion Community Centre. 

Lottie Allen, Head Gardener at St Michael’s Mount, will speak to us about the Mount’s  beautiful gardens and the seemingly impossible task of  gardening in those conditions. This should be particularly helpful for those of us who try to garden near the sea! A further delight will be a talk from Ian Wright MCIHort, Consultancy Manager (Garden Specialist), National Trust, South West Region, on “Plant Conservation: Can We Meet the Challenge?”.

You are welcome to bring along some samples from your own garden and learn how to present them should you wish to enter your local show. Members of the committee from the West Cornwall Show will be there to explain and assist as you set up your entry.

A light lunch of soup, a roll and a piece of cake will be available to buy on the day.

Friends and family are also welcome. Those of you who have been there before will know there’s ample parking available at Marazion Community Centre, so why not fill up a car!?

If you’d like to book a space, please contact the office Monday through Thursday on (01872) 272843.

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‘Cornwall in Colour’ at Cornish Studies Library

To celebrate St Piran’s Day a new exhibition, ‘Cornwall in Colour’, will be launched at the Cornish Studies Library on Saturday 3rd March, with family crafts from 10am-2pm. The exhibition will feature a selection of historic images newly colourised by Joshua Barrett, who will be giving a talk about the process of digitally colourising images on Tuesday 20th March at 2pm. The exhibition will run until Saturday 14th April during the Library’s opening hours (except for Thursday 22nd March).

The Cornish Studies Library is located in the Cornwall Centre on Alma Place in central Redruth. It is close to local bus and rail links and there is a public car park behind.

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Show the Love 2018!

This February, the WI will be taking part in Show the Love again. Hundreds of members and WIs took part in 2017, so let’s make 2018 even bigger!

Have a look at this video showing some of the ways WIs made and displayed their green hearts last year. And bonus points if you can spot the work of a Cornwall WI!

Show the Love revolves around community-based climate change action around Valentine’s Day. To start a conversation about climate change you could make and share a green heart with your local MP or neighbour, hold a green heart themed meeting with a speaker to talk on the issue or join forces with other community groups and organise a public event in your local area.

The Show the Love resources, which include the community pack and new craft and baking guides, are available to download from the NFWI website or My WI.

The community pack outlines three ways you can get involved:
1. Notice the changes around you – keep an eye out for early signs of spring in your neighbourhood and fill out the activity sheet
2. Make a green heart and wear it with pride – share your heart with the hashtag #showthelove
3. Bring people together – hold a green heart themed meeting.

You can show the love even further by making the seeded green heart and attaching it to the postcard that will be in your February WI Life. Leave the heart somewhere in your community, such as your local bus stop or cafe, for someone to find or send directly to your local MP.

The NFWI Public Affairs Department is on hand to help members with Show the Love activities so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need any advice on organising an event, gaining media coverage or engaging your MP. And don’t forget to take lots of pictures to send to CFWI and WI Life following your activities! We’d love to include your stories and photos here on our website and in County News!

NFWI Public Affairs Contact: Sophie at s.page-publicaffairs@nfwi.org.uk or 020 7371 9300 ext. 212.

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