ACWW Works to Eliminate Violence against Women

Between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25th November) and Human Rights Day (10th December), the international initiative ‘Orange the World’ seeks to promote positive action towards ending gender-based violence. ACWW fully supports this initiative, and in particular the theme ‘Leave no-one behind’.

Violence against women affects communities in every country of the world, and in every generation. The impact is not just the physical and psychological damage done to woman, but also weakening of communities. Gender-based violence retards development of safe, peaceful, healthy and productive nations. 

You may have noticed that ACWW have ‘Oranged’ their website and social media channels in support of this campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the issue. Please do share this as widely as possible, and if you are doing so on social media, use the following hashtags: #16days #orangetheworld #weareacww. And don’t forget to ‘orange’ your profile pictures.

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Try Something New at a Denman Day School!

Did you know that you can stay at Denman on a B&B basis? Why not use it as a base for some exploring around the Oxfordshire countryside, and take in a Denman Day School course while you’re at it!

Courses available include:

178.751 Italian Fun in the Kitchen: Family Day School
15 February 2018
Mariella Bliss
M+1 Child £90 | NM+1 Child £100
M+2 Children £130 | NM+2 Children £140
167.537 Leatherwork
12 January 2018
Heather Summer
M £105 | NM £125
178.534 Circle Dance
11 January 2018
Lilly Sell
M £85 | NM £105
178.539 Pasta and Sauces
9 January 2018
Mariella Bliss
M £105 | NM £125
178.579 Tiffany Style Stained Glass for Beginners
15 January 2018
Karen Jones
M £115 | NM £135
178.709 iPad for Beginners
7 February 2018
David Yallop
M £85 | NM £105
178.669 Bumper Craft Takeaway
29 January 2018
Natalie Green
M £105 | NM £125
178.696 Pattern Cutting: All Skirts
10 February 2018
Christine Eady
M £105 | NM £125
178.706 DNA Testing & Family History
10 February 2018
Jessica Feinstein
M £105 | NM £125
178.703 Creative Paper Cutting
9 February 2018
Christine Green
M £85 | NM £105
178.713 Silver Clay Jewellery
14 Februrary 2018
Louise Simmonds
M £105 | NM £125
178.796 Could You Teach Your Craft?
23 February 2018
Melanie Blaikie
M £85 | NM £105
178.796 Willow Structures for the Garden
23 February 2018
Norah Kennedy
M £105 | NM £125

And don’t forget that 24th November is the deadline for applying for 2017 Denman bursaries. I know one lucky Cornwall Federation member was the recipient of a 2016 bursary, so why not try your luck?

The bursaries listed below are all for first timers – WI members who have not attended a residential course at Denman before.

Beryl Allan Bursaries
• Five course bursaries for £300
• Four course bursaries for £250

Freda Barnicoat Bursaries
• Four course bursaries for £250

These bursaries are available for the 2017/18 programme year, to be used on open residential courses taking place before 30 September 2018. Only one bursary may be applied for per individual. A bursary cannot be awarded to anyone who has been awarded a Denman bursary in the past three years. Denman bursaries are open to WI members only, for residential open courses and cannot be applied to a course arranged via a Federation or a small group booking. Denman bursaries cannot be applied to courses already booked.

To apply for any of the Denman bursaries, please send a short letter in support of your application to:

Karen Hodge, Finance
Marcham, Oxon, OX13 6NW

or email:

In your letter or email please give the following details:
• Your full name, contact details, WI and Federation.
• The name of the bursary you would like to apply for.
• Whether you have received a bursary from Denman in the past.
• The number and title of the course you would like to attend if your application for a bursary is successful, plus a second and third choice.

The closing date for applications is Friday 24th November 2017. Successful applicants will be contacted in writing by Friday 8 December 2017.

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House of Commons Debates Loneliness

Yesterday, the House of Commons included a debate about tackling the issue of loneliness in our communities. You can read the full text of the debate here. You can even see the full video of the debate as it happened here.

The late Jo Cox set up a commission on loneliness before her death, and that commission, now called the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, is co-chaired by MPs Rachel Reeves and Seema Kennedy. 


During yesterday’s debate, Rachel said:

Young or old, loneliness does not discriminate, and that is the guiding light of the commission’s work. Over the last year, we have shone a spotlight on some of the different groups who experience loneliness. Loneliness can often be triggered by moments of transition in our lives, whether it is losing our job, going to university, having a child for the first time or bereavement. All those things can be transition points for loneliness.

As we all know, loneliness is bad for our mental health, but it is bad for our physical health as well. Research suggests that loneliness is worse for us than obesity, in terms of mortality, and that being acutely lonely is as bad for someone’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Just last month, Helen Stokes-Lampard, head of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said that loneliness can be as bad for someone’s health as a chronic long-term condition.

So what can we, as WI members, do to help?

On a local level, we can try to identify people in our own communities who might be lonely. Remember, loneliness can affect people of all ages, both men and women, in all walks of life. Perhaps your WI could hold a regular coffee morning for those on their own. Or start a community lunch club?

On a national level, why not write to your MP to express your views on the issue? If you’re not sure where to find your MP’s contact details, this site should help.

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Murder in the WI!

If you fancy reading a nice little murder mystery this winter, look no further than Sharon Bill’s Fête Fatale.

A summer fête in rural Cheshire, organised by the Women’s Institute of Mossleigh, holds the promise of an idyllic day out in the best British tradition. Everyone is enjoying the festivities until a beloved neighbour is found dead among the bins and refuse of the village hall which saddens the holiday mood. However, it is only when Beth Williams (a WI member) and her twin brother Detective Chief Inspector Benedict James join forces that it becomes evident that all isn’t as innocent as it at first seemed.

This is author Sharon Bill’s first ‘Beth Williams Mystery’ and it is hoped there will be a series of the books. Sharon, like Beth, is a WI member.

If your WI has a book group, do consider this one! It might feel very familiar (except for the bit about the murder!).


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World Kindness Day

Members of Mawnan WI braving the wintery winds after the ‘Kindness’ sign was erected.

How did you celebrate World Kindness Day yesterday?

The members of Mawnan WI has a great idea. They decided to focus on people driving through their village, and asked them to be considerate and aware of other road users and pedestrians, especially children.

In the end the slogan was adapted to reflect the ethos of the day and a banner reading “Please be kind and a careful driver” was placed on the approach to Mawnan Smith.

Leading up to World Kindness Day, Mawnan WI, the Brownies and Rainbows had jointly presented cards and plants to members of the village Lunch Club.

World Kindness Day falls on 13th November every year. It is an internationally recognised day for celebrating kindness in our day to day lives and was started in the UK in 2010.

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A ‘Fungus Foray’ in Cardinham Woods!

A group of WI members from all over Cornwall met last week for a ‘fungus foray’ in Cardinham Woods. Led by experts, the women explored and learned to walk slowly and look carefully in order to track their prey!

Some of those who were on the walk requested the following pictures:

The specimens discovered on the day included:

On the Hill Climb:

On the conifer logs:

  • Trametes versicolor ‘Turkey Tail’
  • Ischnoderma benzoinum ‘Benzoin Bracket’
  • Heterobasidion annosum ‘Root Rot’

On the banks:

  • Cyphellostereum laeve ,tiny white caps on moss
  • Coltricia cinnamomea silky, hairy brown cap. Sent to Kew, rare
  • Russula melitoides brown ‘Brittle Gill’ not a common species
  • Russula cyanoxantha ‘ Charcoal Burner’
  • Peziza badia ‘Bay Cup’
  • Scleroderma citrinum ‘Common Earthball’
  • Xylaria hypoxylon ‘Candle Snuff ‘
  • Annulohypoxylon minutellum , black crust on bark
  • Cantharellus cibarius ‘Chanterelle’ very deformed
  • Amphinema byssoides white crust underneath conifer bark
  • Stereum hirsutum ‘Hairy Curtain Crust’
  • Ceratiomyxa fructiculosa a slime mould

On the Easy Walk:

  • Porphyrellus porphyrosporus ‘Dusky Bolete’ not common
  • Hypomyces chrysospermus ‘Bolete Mould’ on the above
  • Hydnum ellipsosporum ‘Hedgehog’ with ellipsoidal spores
  • Inocybe geophylla ‘White Fibrecap’
  • Hypholoma fasciculare ‘Sulphur Tuft’

Click here for more photos of the day.

(Thanks to Jane Dover, Penny Picton and Sandra Buck for taking the pictures.)

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Notice to WI Secretaries

The 2017 membership booklet

The 2018 WI membership booklets are currently being prepared and, as ever, will be packed with vouchers for discounts and offers on everything from day-to-day essentials to some of life’s little luxuries and it will again also be possible to view the offers online.

As in previous years, the distributors will deliver the booklets direct to WI Secretaries, with an expected delivery date of the first week of December.

If a delivery has been attempted whilst you’re not at home, the driver will make every effort to leave the package(s) in a safe dry place, or with a neighbour, to await your return. If this is not practicable, a card will be left asking the occupant to contact the carrier to arrange an alternative delivery time.

If you have not received your booklets by 9th December 2017, please get in touch with the office at Chy Noweth.

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Remembrance Day

The first stroke of eleven produced a magical effect.

The tram cars glided into stillness, motors ceased to cough and fume, and stopped dead, and the mighty-limbed dray horses hunched back upon their loads and stopped also, seeming to do it of their own volition.

Someone took off his hat, and with a nervous hesitancy the rest of the men bowed their heads also. Here and there an old soldier could be detected slipping unconsciously into the posture of ‘attention’. An elderly woman, not far away, wiped her eyes, and the man beside her looked white and stern. Everyone stood very still … The hush deepened. It had spread over the whole city and become so pronounced as to impress one with a sense of audibility. It was a silence which was almost pain … And the spirit of memory brooded over it all.

George V places a wreath at the cenotaph on 11 November 1919.

That was how the Manchester Guardian reported the first ever Two Minute Silence which took place in London at 11am on 11 November 1919.

The day was specifically dedicated by King George V on 7 November 1919 as a day of remembrance for members of the armed forces who were killed during World War I. November 11 was chosen specifically to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918; hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month”.

The poppy has been used since 1920 to commemorate soldiers who have died in war.

Inspired by the World War I poem In Flanders Fields, they were first used by the American Legion to commemorate American soldiers who died in the war. They were then adopted by military veterans’ groups in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The video below, from 1941, shows a factory where injured men from both the First and Second World Wars were working to make poppies.

Today, the WI gets involved in making poppies and helping to mark this important date.

Woodville Whirlwinds WI (Derbyshire Federation) have been busy knitting, crocheting and sewing poppies for a wonderful tribute display commemorating local fallen heroes. The display at Sharpe’s Pottery Museum in Swadlincote, Derbyshire is on until 23rd November.

Woodville Whirlwinds WI display

Herts Belles St Albans WI (Hertfordshire Federation) have created their remembrance wreath made up of 236 mixed media poppies created by members. 

Herts Belles St Albans WI wreath

A number of WIs across the country have contributed to the Wonderwool Wales poppy project. The aim of the project is to bring together textile makers to recreate the united determination of the WW1 volunteers and to mark the end of WW1. The ‘Curtain of Poppies’ includes 887,858 textile poppies, to commemorate each person from the UK who died serving their country.

Wonderwool Wales ‘Curtain of Poppies’

The Cornwall Federation of WIs will represent all its members on Sunday 12th November, by participating in the Remembrance Parade at the War Memorial on Boscawen Street in Truro at 2pm.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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WI Members Making a Difference

Be the change you want to see. That sounds like a dreadful old cliché, but it’s the way we make a difference.

WI members are that change: they collect plastic litter from our beaches, they introduce bee-friendly plants to their gardens and source them from organic growers, they buy local produce, they invite strangers to their homes and lobby their MPs to tackle climate change. Just a few individuals. Or – nearly a quarter of a million WI members nationally, thinking, talking, involving their families and friends in their discussions – footsteps travelling out.

On 12th October the Government published its Clean Growth Strategy , outlining how it hopes to meet the nation’s legally binding goal of cutting emissions to 57% below 1990 levels by 2030. The strategy, with a foreword by Theresa May, highlights a shift away from viewing a low carbon economy as a cost, to one that embraces opportunities. The NFWI campaigns team write:

The shift in viewpoint could not have happened without the collective voice and power of communities asking for action on climate change. Thank you for all your hard work promoting the campaign.

CFWI Climate Ambassador Pippa Stillwell, participating in a Plastic Free Penzance beach clean at Marazion.

The Clean Growth Strategy is not perfect, and the UK is still not on track to meet its legally binding carbon targets. For example, the government announced last month that it will end the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 and this was re-confirmed in the strategy. Why not by 2030? You could take this up with your MP.

Moreover, recent scientific reports have shown that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached record levels in 2016, and the UN has said that current pledges are insufficient to keep temperature rises below 2oC, the target marked out in the Paris Agreement. Further climate talks are taking place in Bonn between 6th and 17th November, and new commitments will be needed from all countries – the US and Syria are the only countries not signed up to the Paris Agreement.

In 2018 the NFWI will take part once again in the Climate Coalition’s Show the Love campaign, and the Campaigns Team is hoping to make an even bigger impact. Write to Sophie Page on to receive a campaigns pack.

The Climate Coalition is asking us to submit nominations for their Green Heart Hero Awards in various categories such as ‘Greenest School or Youth Project’ or ‘Best Green Community Project’. You can check out the categories and find out how to make your nomination, by clicking here.

~ Pippa Stilwell
Climate Ambassador, Cornwall Federation of WIs

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Cornish Beavers on Autumnwatch

If you missed BBC Two’s Autumnwatch this past Wednesday, you won’t have seen Gillian Burke in Ladock, learning about the wonderful Cornwall Beaver Project.

You can still catch the programme for the next month on iPlayer by clicking here. The piece about the beavers starts at about the 40:00 mark.

And in case you didn’t read the blog post we published in July about the Cornwall Beaver Project, just click here

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