Middlesborough’s “In The Pink” Local Conference - October 2018

"Live, Love, Laugh - inspirational wellness in the pink"!

3 great speakers, 7 groups, a big pot of tea, and oodles of freshly baked cakes – conference here we come!

With lots of homemade cake as usual and representatives from 7 different groups, from Morpeth, Northumberland down to Horbury and Ossett, West Yorkshire the Middlesborough Day Conference sounds like it was a roaring success!

Thank you, Andrea and the rest of the Middlesbrough organisers, for the great work you did as volunteers.

And thank you to our delegates for making the day a success. This conference is an amazing example of the NWR ethos - you get out tenfold what you put in!  

 

“In the Pink” – Building a conference!

By Andréa Bowness-Etur – Local Organiser, Middlesborough

Where to start? Let’s start at the end - “In the Pink” was a wonderful day – with great speakers, thoroughly enjoyed by all the delegates (many of whom were dressed in pink!) who all left with great smiles on their faces! (You’ll find out why in a moment!)

Middlesbrough was a very small and new group when we held our first conference back in 2015. It was hard work and a huge learning curve, but it was also a roaring success. I was committed to doing another day conference as soon as we could! Fast forward to 2017…

I think we have all been affected by cancer in some way. Middlesborough NWR is no different and in one meeting in 2017 we discovered we had a member who had been diagnosed herself and another caring for a loved one with this awful disease. We felt it was time to start planning, and that a health and well-being theme was the way forward.

So, we thought, let’s hold it in October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We decided to include as many different aspects of health and wellbeing as possible, from physical to mental, in order to capture the interest of members and friends alike. I posted a request for speakers to The Inspire Network - a network for self-employed women in the North East. (Oh, the powers of social media!).

We are lucky to have an excellent comfortable venue which is easy to get to so everyone felt relaxed! – talk about “Location, Location, Location!”. We were positively inundated with ideas and eventually our group decided on three great, inspiring speakers each with a different take on health and wellbeing - from stress management, clean-eating, gut-health and nutrition - even laughter yoga!

So the day rolled round and 30 delegates from groups as far afield as Morpeth in the North, to Harrogate in the South arrived – much to our delight!

Before we introduced our speakers we held a fun quiz and raffle, with two top prizes provided by our speakers, raising all-important extra funds for future meetings, and our next conference!

And so to the main event – our amazing speakers - Liz Cairns, a holistic practitioner and self-management consultant; Claire Robinson, a clean-eating expert (whose mother is going through cancer treatment), and a Self-Discovery Coach for Women who told us all about self-care and self-esteem.

First up was Liz Cairns of Inspire Holistics who spoke about stress management and holistic health. She spoke about the stigma surrounding mental health issues and the importance of self-care and told us never to think you are being selfish by taking care of yourself. You can't care for others properly unless you are fit and well yourself....

Claire Robinson spoke about gut health, amongst several other interesting and important points surrounding nutrition and toxic ingredients and products. (I’m not sure she’d have approved of our trestle table heaving with sugary cakes and treats!)

We finished the day with “Laughing Yoga” – led by the wonderful Jan Turner! It really ended the day on a natural high - our theme was, after all, "Live, Love, Laugh - inspirational wellness in the pink"!

Our speakers were all so different but very educational and their message was clear - look after yourself, you only have one body and prevention is better than cure.

Would you believe that we did not suffer any hiccups this time around! It's always a bit worrying running up to an event - have we chosen the right speakers? Will they do a good job? Will they show up? LOL. It's impossible to please all of the people, all of the time but we had a good go at it and received a lot of messages of thanks after the event. it's very satisfying to know you have brought happiness and a fun filled day out to so many - and a nice big glass of wine was a wonderful treat in the evening! It's a good feeling to have done something so positive! I look forward to the next conference!

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And the award goes to...

NWR has a habit of setting thoughts and ideas in motion...

Trentham

In June 2014 the Trentham group looked at the significance and value of war memorials, including their local one.

Marilyn Vigurs, from the Trentham Group tells us more:

"We thought it would be interesting to research the seventeen names listed on the memorial from the First World War. Eventually we tracked down information for all but one of the men, but we could NOT stop there. Ten of us formed ourselves into the Trentham World War One Project group and set about finding out more about who lived in this community 100 years ago and how they coped with the dark days of the war.

Over the past three years, we have used our subsequent researches to make four films, engage with local schools, organise two Heritage Open Days, run community events, mount exhibitions and lead heritage walks. We also undertook all our own fundraising. It seems as though our efforts have NOT gone unnoticed. In September 2018, we won the community group of the year in the Our Heroes awards run by our local newspaper.

That NWR meeting back in 2014 took us on quite a journey. We would NOT have missed the experience, but we will NOT be doing anything similar anytime soon!"

The photo shows five members of the project group receiving the award.

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Conference Report - The Audacity to Dream

 

The Audacity to Dream - SW04 Area Day Conference

Salisbury. Saturday October 6th 2018

After weeks of wonderful, sunny early autumn weather 120 NWR members from far and wide arrived at Sarum Academy, Salisbury in pouring rain. What a good thing we had a bucket for the umbrellas!! Good humour was the order of the day however and the rain failed to dampen spirits!

The day, ‘The Audacity to Dream’, was planned with the 70th Birthday of the NHS in mind and with such a vast brief we honed in on a few unusual and perhaps lesser known aspects!

The proceedings began with 2 presentations of Singing for Health and Well Being. Liv Mclennan brought a few of her local ‘singing for lung health’ group along and soon had the entire auditorium on their feet making amazing faces and other contortions and then singing….even those who thought they couldn’t!!

This was followed by Kate Edgar who runs several local choirs. She spoke of the health benefits of singing and camaraderie and general ‘happiness’ factor and then members of her ‘Amici ‘ choir gave a rendition( with actions)of Tuxedo Junction and soon, once again the audience were on their feet singing their hearts out. What a lot of smiley faces…

NWK 7081

Then came our main speaker, the Right Honourable Ann Widdecombe (just call me Ann!) who spoke on ‘NHS - Dream or Nightmare’. Her presentation was amusing and much laughter filled the hall. It was also serious and thought provoking and a salutary warning that the NHS has to change dramatically to survive. Nye Bevan did not, and indeed could not, envisage or foresee the future back in 1948. The advances in medical science, the increase in average life expectancy and the growth in population and immigration all play their part in making the original ‘Dream’ into today’s unwieldy and underfunded ‘Nightmare’. Ann said she had no magic formula but felt strongly that an open discussion involving all political parties alongside professionals in the medical field must take place to come to any workable solution. Each political party in power has to stop passing the buck and blaming the next. There was ample question time and as usual NWR ladies were not backward in coming forward!

Then before a wonderful lunch, Laura Drysdale from the Restoration Trust gave a fascinating insight into The Human Henge Project which took place last year using the Stonehenge Landscape with English Heritage with a group of people with mental health problems. A few of the participants came along and read poems and one lady played a penny whistle for us! Part of the presentation was by Yvette Staelens who managed the Human Henge project and she presented a very moving and emotional and insightful audio visual record of the project.

After lunch everyone repaired to their chosen workshop on various aspects of health and well being after which each group reported back to a plenary session with a question or statement to ponder.

Then our Trustee Josephine Burt introduced our brand new Patron, Marion Molteno (incidentally she was a speaker at our last SW04 conference!) Marion introduced herself and asked that as Patron she might be involved as much as possible with area and national events in the future. She is a super, approachable, kind person with a wealth of experience and knowledge, so I urge all members to include her in NWR activities and to make her welcome.

We finished our day with more music, this time the glorious voce of Katie Ereira . Katie is hoping to gain a place at the Welsh Conservatoire next year and we wish he well. Her voice is truly ethereal and I think many attendees were close to tears as she filled the auditorium with 3 songs including Abba’s ‘I Have a Dream’ which seemed totally appropriate to the title of our day. Katie’s mum is one of our Salisbury NWR members.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of our day. The Dream Team of Organisers was, and still is, well pleased!! The one common thread that came from all ideas and views expressed in the varied presentations is that we must all take some responsibility for our own health. The NHS turns up trumps in an emergency situation but has to deal with far too many unnecessary and avoidable pressures on its time, expertise and funds.

Sailsbury conference

Look after yourselves!

 

Vanessa Moulding

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Top tips from the Chester Team

Chester conference lunch

 

Well the dust has finally settled on the Chester Conference 2018 - and what a success it was. Huge 'thank yous' once again to all the organisers. As the baton is firmly passed on to the organisers of Plymouth 2019 we asked Penny and Jill for the five top tips for running a successful conference, and here is what they said:

  1. Have enough people on the committee to do everything so as much as possible is in house and have frequent meetings.
  2. Book relevant speakers to the theme who will give food for thought and discussion.
  3. Plan activities that are a mixture of light and serious, also active both physically and mentally.
  4. Pay lots of attention to detail, check and check again on bookings, the booking system, communications and budget, and still be prepared for criticism.
  5. Have fun and look forward to a celebratory post conference lunch with new friends made...

Judging from the photograph it certainly seems that number 5 was taken seriously!

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Rubbish visit by Harrogate NWR!

resized Harrogate NWR members and friends at Allerton Waste Recovery Park

UK households bin more than 27 million tons of rubbish each year and we are running out of space in our landfill sites. Since spring 2018, waste from homes in North Yorkshire and the city of York is not dumped, untreated, in a hole in the ground but is processed at a brand new waste recovery centre.

Many local residents, including some members of Harrogate NWR, were concerned at the thought of an industrial waste processing plant near their homes. Contractors Amey, no doubt conscious of the need to win over local sceptics, have built a visitor centre on site and welcome adult groups and school parties. We decided to visit Allerton Waste Recovery Centre and see it for ourselves.

The top half of the shiny new building is easily visible, sitting amongst the fields beside the A1 road, but as it is built inside a disused quarry much of the site is hidden. The grounds have been landscaped and the, now obsolete, landfill site that was already there has been grassed over. First impressions on arrival were that the plant was surprisingly quiet and it didn’t smell. We learnt later that the building is kept under negative pressure to stop any odours escaping.

Debbie, our guide greeted us at the visitor centre and after coffee we took our seats for her presentation, explaining the workings of plant. The facility is not a recycling centre, it handles what’s left after householders have removed the recyclables. Bin lorries from the local area empty their load directly into the plant, waste from the more distant parts of the county is brought to site in large, sealed, containers. The waste is then sorted, the first material to be removed is food waste and other organic material. This is fed into an anaerobic digester where a colony of micro-organisms feed on the waste, excreting methane gas which is used to generate electricity for use on site.

Although householders should have removed recyclable materials before putting their waste in the bin, some gets through. A combination of magnets, eddy currents, light beams and jets of air are used to recover the recyclables. Then, just to make sure that nothing useful is left in the waste there is a final check by human operators. In case we had concluded that we could forget about recycling and go back to chucking all our waste in together, Debbie emphasised that the metals, glass and paper recovered this way are dirty, broken up and less useful and valuable than the nice clean material from our recycling bins.

Once all the useful materials have been recovered from the waste, the rest is burnt at extremely high temperatures, in the “energy from waste” plant, generating enough electricity to power 40,000 homes.

After Debbie’s presentation it was time to visit the plant itself. We had been instructed to wear long trousers and sensible shoes to which we now added bright yellow hi vis waistcoats.

When we got inside the processing plant it was a little smelly, but less so than a bin lorry on a hot day. It was also very quiet as the sorting equipment was not in operation; a householder had chucked something into their bin which had jammed up one of the trommel drums which are used to screen the waste at the beginning of the processing. None the less the equipment was still impressive to see.

We invited friends and partners to join our visit which proved so popular that a second visit is planned for those who couldn’t attend the first time. There are several similar sites around the country, maybe your group would enjoy a visit to your local one.

Sue Howes

Harrogate NWR

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