The Women’s Institute – Why try the WI

women's Institute logo

This week I attended my first WI meeting,  yes the Women’s Institute and it was a far cry from what I thought it would be.  There was a wide age range of women, it was welcoming, friendly and very chatty, and honestly there was a table of CAKE.

The Women’s Institute was formed in 1915 during the first world war and is the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK with approx 220,000 members.

event poster for women's institute

Each month’s meeting has a theme,  this months meeting had an American theme. There was a USA quiz, line dancing and hot dogs, and someone had made mini  ‘stetsons’ which were a feast of chocolate.

chocolate stetson hats, made with chocolate crisps and a rolos

Don’t be misled by all the fun stuff, it’s not just chatting and cake. What really surprised me was the work done to make changes in the world. Every year WI members have the chance to put forward issues as ‘resolutions’ that they want to see the national body campaign on.
“From equal pay to climate change,  from gaps in the midwifery workforce to the plight of the honey bee, WI members have embraced a diverse set of challenges and built a reputation for the WI as a practical and ambitious organisation that doesn’t shy away from tricky issues.”

Any member can suggest resolution ideas and I look forward to being part of an inspiring group of women having fun while working towards changing the world for the better.

There are over 6000 WI groups across England and Wales, find your local group here.

 

 

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Narrowboats across the Mersey, Wirral to Liverpool

narrowboats crossing the mersey

You know, I’m not an adventurous boater. I don’t want locks and challenges or the thrill of crossing an aqueduct on a narrowboat, I just want an easy life relaxing in beautiful scenery with wine.

But some people are far more daring than me and recently some members of our boat club ventured out to cross the Mersey in their narrowboats.

I thought they must be mad (although my husband would love it). The Mersey is a strong tidal VERY DEEP river and these organised trips are few & far between, they are weather dependent and led by a Pilot boat.

Setting off from the National Waterways Museum Wirral and heading off to moor up at Albert Dock in the heart of Liverpool.

Thank you to ©DougWildman for the fab photos.

narrowboats leaving waterways museum

narrowboats passing large ships

narrowboats on the mersey approaching liverpool

the liverpool skyline

approachalbdock

narrowboats entering the Albert Dock

narrowboats moored up at the Albert Dock

I do agree there could be no better place to be moored up than at the Albert Dock in the heart of the city.  They all agreed it was a fabulous experience and recommended it highly.

Is this something you would like to do?

A Cornish Mum
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Meet the Lunch Bunch, Alzheimer’s support.

alzheimer's support river cruise day trip

Recently I went to play Bingo. Yes, that’s right, Bingo,  I had been invited by Doris to meet the Lunch Bunch Alzheimer’s support & social group she runs, and it was great fun.

The Lunch Bunch are a friends meeting group, run and organised by the dedication and experience of carers and former carers within the group in Cheshire. With support from the  Council and great fund raising by the group they provide many ventures outside of their usual meeting place too.

When I met Doris the organiser I instantly saw what a lovely caring woman she is, listening to her talk with enthusiasm and passion about The Lunch Bunch and providing support for those affected by Alzheimer’s was inspiring.

When a person with dementia finds that their mental abilities are declining, they often feel vulnerable and in need of reassurance and support. The people closest to them – including their carers, friends and family – need to do everything they can to help the person to retain their sense of identity and feelings of self-worth.

There are currently 800,000 people with dementia in the UK.

There are 670,000 carers of people with dementia in the UK

Family carers of people with dementia save the UK over £8 billion a year.

Doris who set up the group said, “We’ve all been through things that Alzheimer’s can cause. It is really hard to understand if you have not experienced it.” Doris spoke of the isolation a carer may feel as they are unable to leave their loved one alone and often it is too difficult to go out together. The group was set up to support carer & cared for and to provide a social space for all to enjoy together.

The group is very friendly and sociable. Getting out and about together is one of their main aims during the spring and summer months, something many carers could not do alone. It is the unique spirit of the Lunch Bunch that has enabled them to develop and flourish. There is no pressure to join in as the enjoyment can be felt just by being there.

Recent activities have included: Sing-a-long of old songs, light exercise and Zumba, trips to Boundary Mill, Bowling and The Chocolate House. The group have also taken part in pottery with Paul at Norton Priory.

If you’re a carer of a loved one suffering from Dementia and are looking for support please contact  Alzheimer’s.org.uk and they will provide information on groups in your area.

NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens announced £5m extra funding for GPs to increase identification of people with dementia.

Sir Jackie Stewart has just launched a new charity Race against dementia to fund breakthrough and innovative dementia research.

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Beating PTSD, from Afghanistan to Archery

How many times have we heard exercise is good for the mind as well as the body.  That’s all well but what if you want to exercise but you’re not into running, going the gym or don’t quite feel bendy enough for yoga.

Well, I’ve found a fab solution for all ages that is engaging, fun and helps build more than just muscle, ARCHERY!

archery

A new club is up and running in Cheshire, Kyujutsu Archery runs from 12pm on Sunday’s at Brookvale Recreation Centre starting with taster sessions/beginners and leading through to experienced club members.

The club has been set up by Richie and Chris. Richie a veteran became involved with archery after being  injured in Afghanistan and diagnosed with PTSD.  Richie and his family initially received help and support from Combat Stress,  and then Richie was offered an Archery instructors course by Help for Heroes. He now runs the non profit club which is open to  all ages and abilities.

It’s definitely a family run club for families, Secretary Sarah is Richie’s wife and her  brother Instructor Chris was already trained in Archery. Sarah told me the club specialises in being ‘inclusive’ additional needs or disabilities are not barriers and the club adapts to its members, members do not adapt to the club.

There are lots more sessions in the pipeline, outdoors over the summer, after school club, and sessions suitable for those on the Autism spectrum.

One of the youngest members, who informed me he will be nine at the end of June, was preparing for a grading assessment whilst I was there.

archery

I believe he passed and received a certificate later that afternoon.

archery

Archery builds on skills including:

Strength
Physical fitness
Gross motor skills
Stamina
Reflexes
Hand/eye coordination

All of these skills including intense concentration have helped Richie rebuild his life and cope with PTSD. He now has a focus, a family business he loves and a club that is growing weekly.  You can see Richie’s story here on Forces TV.

Why not give it a try.

Diary of an imperfect mum
“Mrs.AOK,
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Why do I seem to be the only Mum of a teen who says no.

I started writing this at midnight, knowing my teen was home safe and tucked up in bed. When I say tucked up I actually mean eating leftover meatballs and pasta, but he’s home.

He finished high school on Friday and in celebration the whole school year arranged to meet at the park on the edge of the conservation area near where we live, but not at lunch time when they finished school, it was planned for the evening starting at 7pm.

My teen wanted to go, I didn’t want him to go.

I am trying my best to give him more freedom, he is nearly 16 after all, but I didn’t think hanging out in the park till MIDNIGHT sounded good and I knew some of his year group would be drinking alcohol.

Sometimes it’s so hard making decisions as a Mum of a teen. I’ve been to pick him up from parties and watched as a hoard of young teens trundle off down the road walking home through parks, over fields, past the canal, and some of them have been drinking. I’ve said no he can’t walk home late at night. Am I old fashioned, don’t other parents worry?  I wonder  is it because I’m an older Mum, I had my boy at 40.

Of course I’m not the only parent at the pick up but we are getting to be few and far between, what would you do?

As for Friday, well we came to a compromise, he went to the park and we picked him up just after 10.30pm, they all had a great time, and we even gave a couple of his friends a lift home.  And well done to the boy who didn’t spill a drop from his can of cider in the car.

ps….It’s the Prom next week and I’ve heard last years kids had an after party till 8am.  Help me,  SEND WINE!

 

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