NWR's Interview on Woman's Hour

NatalieP1 

On Friday 28th February 2020 our National Organiser Natalie Punter and Trustee Jo Thomson were interviewed by Jenni Murray in the BBC Studios London.

So after many years of being a "Best Kept Secret" with recommendations passed around by word of mouth, we've been given nationwide publicity. 

It was a wonderful and inspiring interview capturing the ethos of NWR. 

Listen to the interview by clicking on the link http://tiny.cc/n3kpk

Jo Thomson Reports on Her Experience

"On Thursday, 27th February, Natalie and I discovered that we were to be on Woman's Hour on the following day.  This invitation had been sparked, I think, by the extensive interview in the Guardian on Thursday with Maureen Nicol.  We were contacted on Thursday afternoon by a BBC producer who gave us some idea of what we might be asked, and we duly presented ourselves at Broadcasting House on Friday morning. 

We thought we might be nervous, or perhaps find that we had nothing to say, but we were shepherded up to the Green Room and had our photographs taken, as well as chatting to others who would also be included in the programme, so that there wasn't really time to think about how we were feeling. 

One of those we chatted to was Helen Lewis, author of "Difficult Women", on the subject of feminism, who was most interesting, and she in turn was intrigued by NWR.  In due course we were taken up to the recording area where we waited for the previous item to finish, and then it was our turn to be ushered into the studio in front of Jenni Murray.  She very kindly put us at our ease immediately with that lovely warm tone of voice, and we found that we had plenty to say, managing to cover all the topics we had meant to mention.  It was all over in no time, and almost as soon as we left we started receiving congratulatory messages from all and sundry, which was very gratifying.  We certainly very much enjoyed it, and hope it benefits NWR too."

 

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Liz Valette
Think that is Trustee Jo Thomson sheltering from the rain under the umbrella
Sunday, 01 March 2020 14:27
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The North East Region Diamond Day Celebrations

The North East Region Diamond Day Celebrations

The function took place at the Priory Street Centre York where almost 100 members attended

In the morning we heard about the history of diamonds and were able to see some beautiful examples.

At lunchtime a lovely meal was provided by the venue. After that, via the live link, it was good to actually see and hear from our founder Maureen Nicol.

In the afternoon we had a fabulous talk about Rebel Women, we heard about some specific women from the 19th century to the current day who were pioneers in their different ways. The talk was illustrated by some wonderful clothes from the time.

During the event members participated in quizzes and the day ended with tea and cake!

 

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CAT Radio: Kate Blakemore chats to Jill from the National Women’s Register

For the last 7 years Judy Challinor and I, along with other local members, have represented NWR at Nantwich’s Societies spectacular – an annual showcase for local groups, societies and charities. Each year a local radio broadcaster CAT Radio have been there providing background music. Last July I took the plunge and spoke to their presenter about appearing on the station to publicise NWR. The result can be heard by pressing on the link below. A recording from 6th December.

I confess to being somewhat nervous but Kate Blakemore put me at my ease and away we went. I was expecting to just chat for 10 minutes or so but I was there for the whole hour show! I urge people to give it a go and become a radio presenter – even if it is for just an hour!

Here is the link : 

http://thisisthecat.com/the-motherwell-show-kate-blakemore-chats-to-jill-from-the-national-womens-register/

Jill Lucas

Joint Area Organiser for the Midlands 01 Region

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Scrapbook Project

NWR 2020 Scrapbook Project

**Notice***  WE ARE PAUSING THE SCRAPBOOKS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.  THE CO-ORDINATORS HAVE BEEN INFORMED AND WILL BE IN TOUCH WITH GROUPS TO ADVISE WHEN WE CAN CONTINUE.

pause the scrapbooks until further notice and that co-ordinators have been informed and will be in touch when we can continue.

pause the scrapbooks until further notice and that co-ordinators have been informed and will be in touch when we can continue.

The Scrapbook project is part of the Diamond Anniversary celebrations. Please find some information which may answer any questions you may have. 

NWR groups have been divided into 8 regions; Central, Eastern, Midlands, North East, North West, Scotland, South East and South West plus the independent members. Each Region has a Regional Co-ordinator who will be responsible for all the groups in their area. 

They have all been issued with A3 paper and an art carrier for safekeeping the pages in. Each co-ordinator will be responsible for planning a 'route' for the scrapbooks between the groups in their area. The plan is that your group will have two weeks in which to complete your entry.  Ideally, the scrapbooks will be handed over in person from group to group, where possible, to encourage a feeling of interconnection and of being part of a National Organisation.  If not, other ways of forwarding will be worked out. 

Please be patient with your co-ordinators who will begin to notify groups of when they will receive the scrapbooks shortly. The number of groups in each region ranges from 32 to 76 so it may be some time before it reaches your group. 

What happens when the 'scrapbook' reaches your group? You may already be aware that they are not actual books but sheets of A3 paper which will be combined and bound to form books.  

  • In your turn, the A2 art carrier containing the blank sheets and any completed sheets will be delivered to you.
  • Each group should take 2 sheets of the same colour paper and complete it in PORTRAIT style.
  • The content is entirely up to your group but try and aim for 50% images and 50% words.... Possibly a link with 1960 and now......Be creative and make it look attractive........ include e.g. reports, poems, photos, anything you feel reflects your group (but not just 'we did this', 'we did that'). You can choose your own font, size for words and colour of words.
  • For ideas see the NWR Pinterest site at…                                                 

 https://www.pinterest.co.uk/nwrorguk/nwr-uk-2020-scrapbook-project 

  • The only stipulation is that a one-and-a-half-inch border MUST be left at the edge to be bound. The other three sides should have a 1-inch border, or slightly less as long as nothing overhangs the paper. 
  • The pages will be in the form of a double page spread and only one side of each piece is to be used. To use both sides could cause a problem with glue seepage etc. When the scrapbooks are ready for binding and completion, the blank sides will be clipped together in some way, but this is not something the groups need to concern themselves with. 
  • Please ensure your group name is included somewhere on the pages.
  • Also, in the A2 carrier will be some A3 plastic wallets. Once your pages are completed, please place them with blank sides together and put them behind previously completed pages. This will enable other groups to have a look without needing to take them out of the wallet and risking tearing them. 
  • Your co-ordinator will tell you who the 'scrapbook' is to be passed on to.

It is anticipated that the project is completed by the end of 2020 and will be available to view at the 2021 Conference. Ultimately it will be presented to The Women's Library, where our archives are stored.

We hope you will all enjoy filling in your pages and look forward to seeing what NWR means to you!

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Poring over the Past – NWR at the Women’s Library

Poring over the Past – NWR at the Women’s Library

This week our chair of trustees, Josephine Burt, along with National Organiser Natalie Punter and Mary Stott Award winner (and former National Organiser) Antoinette Ferraro visited the Women's Library at the London School of Economics (LSE). This library holds records of the women’s’ movement in 19th and 20th centuries including the NHR/NWR archives.  Here's what she had to say.

Antoinette, Natalie and I recently spent a wonderfully interesting day at The Women’s Library (part of the British Library and currently housed at the London School Of Economics, LSE, in Central London) looking at 60 years of NWR heritage.

The Women's Library houses England’s primary library and museum resource on women, women’s issues and history, and the women’s movement from, primarily, the 19th and 20th centuries. The main collection dates back to the mid-1920s, though the core collection was formed from a library established by Ruth Cavendish Bentinck in 1909. These archives moved to LSE, as part of the British Library collection, in 2013.

We had the opportunity to view photos and marketing materials dating back to the early 60s even the official annual reports and financial returns, though we decided to leave those for another day!

It was lovely to see photos of the women who set up and ran the organisation from 1980 - having read the book that details our first twenty years 1960-1980 (“The Lively-Minded Women” by Betty Jerman published in 1980) and it was great to see the original materials upon which it was based. Antoinette was delighted to find some photos of the National Group in the 1980's which included her.

Some of the publicity materials looked very dated, as they would, but the Golden Anniversary literature (from 2010) looked fresh and vibrant. We also found a hidden gem – a poster from the 1960s – which we are thinking of rejuvenating for our anniversary! (watch this space).  It was sobering and yet reassuring to find that the problems and issues we have today have been there over the years and are really a feature of informal organisations such as ours.

I felt very nostalgic when I found some local press cuttings from Leighton Buzzard from the 1980's and recognised the names of friends I met through NWR. I’d like to thank our members and LOs for keeping such excellent records of our history and I think we owe it to the next generation of NWR to ensure we continue to send in materials from the last 10 years and onwards.

For those of you (individually or as a group) who would like to see the archives for yourselves NWR members are welcome to visit by appointment - see http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/collection-highlights/the-womens-library or call LSE Library 020 7955 7229

Josephine Burt, Chair of Trustees


Celebrating 60 years of the National Women’s Register and the National Housewive’s Register – 1960-2020

 National Conference 2020 – Precious Gems - A Celebration! 11th-13th September 2020

#NWRDiamondDays #NWRdiamondconf2020 #LivelyMindedWomen

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Equality and accessibility - NWR's commitment to you.

This year NWR made a commitment to our members to improve our accessibility as an organisation, including our responsibilities under the Equalities Act and financial accessibility, and to become and remain a Carbon Neutral organisation.

One initiative, launched in April, is the NWR members’ hardship fund. This is designed to ensure that members are never forced to leave NWR due to financial issues, illness etc. It also allows potential new members to receive subsidised membership, should hardship otherwise prevent them from joining.Our first hardship fund applicant came almost immediately via Susan, an LO.

Susan explained that a longstanding member, Belinda, had become seriously unwell and, when group subs renewals came around, found herself in difficulties. Her group felt — as I would — that it would be inappropriate to approach Belinda or her husband. So, what to do? Previously Belinda’s membership would have lapsed, along with that all-important connection with other women through our organisation’s local groups, regional events and conferences, regular newsletters and magazines and, of course, our very popular national conferences.

Fortunately, LO Susan knew about our new hardship fund and approached me directly. We discussed what NWR meant to Belinda and the nature of her illness. I decided to grant a three-month membership subsidy. Three months rolled by and Susan and I spoke again. Belinda had approached the group to ask about remaining a member and, to our delight, she said “Of course I want to stay!” Happy Days!

However, this isn’t about NWR or about one NWR group losing a member: it’s about making sure that women who want or need to be connected to likeminded women may do so - regardless of financial restrictions. Sitting at home today you might not consider that the loss of one member, long-term or new, matters - but it matters to them and it matters to me.

I am delighted to be with NWR to celebrate the diamond 60th anniversary and I am excited to see what we can do to involve as many women as possible in the years to come. So, as you peruse the magazine and attend your meetings, please think “What can I do, in my group or as an individual, to make sure that the objectives of NWR — to connect, to educate and intellectually stimulate women in my community — are honoured?” We all need to be thinking back over the past (nearly) 60 years and asking “What did I need?” and “What can I do now?”

Happy 59 and a halfth anniversary, and I look forward to seeing you all next year! AMH 

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South West Salisbury Visit

Ten NWR friends recently visited Salisbury and enjoyed an informative walk around the fantastic Cathedral Close on Monday morning. The tour was lead by member Liz who told us many interesting facts about many of the houses.... the history, famous visitors and residents and the ghosts!

The sun was shining for (at least part of) the day and we enjoyed a jolly lunch in the Cathedral Refectory.

What a wonderful day! Please let us know what other events NWR members are enjoying around the country!

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Diamonds Are Forever! Capturing NWR's Photographic Gems!

Diamonds Are Forever! Capturing NWR's Photographic Gems!

Get Your Cameras Out For Our NWR Competition!

NWR are pleased to announce the launch of our Photographic competition – with twelve winning images being immortalised in a commemorative calendar to be released in celebration of our diamond anniversary in 2020.

So, what do you need to do?

First of all dust off your camera, refresh your skills while you're out and about, and get your creative juices flowing!

There are four categories:

  • "I get by with a little help from my friends"
  • "The more things change, the more they stay the same
  • Women of the world; and
  • A visual interpretation of a poem/song

We can accept pictures taken on any device but all images must be available, and submitted, in colour. If you wish to use film you may but the image should be initially submitted in a high-specification digital format. All images must be scaleable to A3. You may submit multiple entries to each category. Images will be judged by a panel of professional photographer, NWR’s Membership and Communications Coordinator and the NWR magazine editor.

Photographs will be judged on composition, focus, clarity, colour depth, overall image quality, creativity and relevance to the brief/topic.

How to create a winning image?

Think about the brief. Be smart and use your imagination. De-clutter the image and focus on what your picture is about then fill the frame with it. Practice, Practice, Practice! Start taking your camera wherever you go and take photos every day – no matter how good a photographer you are we all get a little rusty.

Be original. Equipment, even on a phone, is incredible these days – the one thing you can always use to stand out is your own creativity. Put something of yourself in the image. Two photographers can shoot the same subject in the exact same conditions and produce totally different images.

How? By inserting your interpretation and your perspective. Shoot what you love. Use The Golden Triangle or rule of thirds – nature is based upon these magical mathematical rules and they will elevate your work too. Don’t centre your subject (usually). Use space.

Simplify and exaggerate – you may wish to use contrasting colours, juxtaposition with other objects, even shutter speed to give a well-defined image/scene. Create depth and use leading lines to draw the viewer in and create a journey through the image.

Lighting is everything! Never shoot into the sun/ in the middle of the day unless you REALLY know what you’re doing. Understand the “temperature” of the light. Use the golden hours at sunrise and sunset – the light is beautiful. Edit yourself ruthlessly!

Closing date 31/07/20. Terms and conditions apply. Full competition rules will eventually be available on the website.

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Marie Morrison
Camera out and ready to go !
Friday, 21 June 2019 20:00
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Horbury and Ossett's Great British Bake Off!

Horbury and Ossett's Great British Bake Off!

Horbury and Ossett NWR recently welcomed 2018 Great British Bake-Off Contestant Karen Wright to a special meeting.

We were delighted to welcome Karen Wright, contestant in this year’s Great British Bake-Off to our recent meeting. Karen grew up not far away in Featherstone, West Yorkshire. Her entertaining talk came about thanks to a family connection and with the series aired and winner announced she was now able to speak freely.

Karen describes herself as a self-taught baker and stalker of French patisserie window displays. From the thousands who applied Karen really didn’t expect to get selected for the final twelve. She gave us an insight into the application process. The first stage was a lengthy form with questions about baking experience, including everything from hot water crust pastry to bread. She set about teaching herself to do those things she couldn’t do. After sending in the application a researcher rang for a lengthy chat, including technical questions about baking. This lead to a regional selection day. For this Karen had to make two things in advance. It was for this she realised that you needed to go in with confidence regardless of nerves underneath. After all they were looking for a mix of people who could bake and appear on television. A few days later she heard she had been chosen for a further selection day in London. It was on the train to London that she first recognised Kim Joy from the earlier regional selection. In the end Yorkshire was well represented in the programme.

 

Once selected contestants received lots of information on what would be required at each stage of filming. This gave them time to practice ideas. Filming took place on two long intensive days over weekends during the summer. All the contestants were excited to meet up and finally get into the tent for the first time. The tent is actually full of film crews following each contestant. Two days filming is all edited down to an hour’s programme.

 

What was perhaps most inspiring was how Karen had seen it as a personal challenge, showing her that she could achieve much more than she imagined. She brought along her designs and photos of her cakes showing us her innate creativity. Karen is not sure where it will all lead, but she is already in demand for talks and demonstrations locally and has set up her own website. She will be appearing next year at the well-known Wakefield Rhubarb Festival in February. She is more than anything keen to inspire others young and old to try something new. Maybe we all need to follow her lead and pick a personal challenge for 2019 and reach outside our comfort zone!

 

We had decided in advance that those who wanted would be asked to make three scones to a recipe of our choosing. Our competition for the evening was not against the clock, but there was still a bit of pressure to come up with presentable scones for the evening. We had a good selection of both savoury and sweet ones and it showed how creative you can be, even with the humble scone. Karen was happy to judge our efforts.

Our member Thérése Manship was the winner. Here’s her winning recipe:

Christmas Scones

 

·         2 medium eggs

·         1 tsp vanilla extract

·         500g (18oz) plain flour

·         25g (1oz) baking power  

·         75g (3oz) golden caster sugar

·         finely grated zest of 1 orange

·         finely grated zest of 1 lemon

·         125g (4 ½ oz) unsalted butter chilled and diced

·         200g mixed fruit

·         Buttermilk, see recipe.

1. Whisk the eggs with the vanilla in a small bowl. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor and add the sugar and zest. Add the butter and whiz to crumbs, then add the egg mixture and just enough buttermilk to bring the mixture together. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in the dried fruit. You can always add a little more buttermilk if the mixture appears dry and crumbly, but take care not to overdo it otherwise the scones will spread. 

2. Roll the dough out 2cm (¾ in) thick on a lightly floured worksurface and cut out scones using a 6.5 cm (2 ¾ in) cutter. Space well apart on one or two non-stick baking sheets and leave to rest for 20 minutes. 


3. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6, then brush the top of the scones with milk and bake for 17-22 minutes until golden (the lower tray may take a little longer than the top). 

The runner-up Angela Beardshall made cheese, pumpkin and poppy seeds scones with a rhubarb and ginger chutney.

We'd like to thank Karen for a most entertaining night!

You can find out more about Karen and future events, or contact her via her website:
www.karenwrightbakes.co.uk

You can also follow her on Instagram or Twitter @karenwrightbake

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Hello from Wisbech!

Hello from Wisbech!

Newcomer Marian Stokes started her recruitment drive for the National Housewives Register by knocking on doors round the village in the Cambridgeshire fens she'd moved to from Greater Manchester. It was 1976.

Today Marian remains a keen and active member of the Wisbech NWR group she founded back then – and of both its offshoot book discussion groups. (The image shows founder member Marian Stokes and Marie O'Flaherty in glad rags at our 90th birthday party for the Queen.)

She said: 'I'd belonged to the then-NHR in Saddleworth, and was keen to promote the advantages of being a member. I can't believe how much energy and enthusiasm I had.'

Rosy Elliott (who celebrated her retirement three years ago with an NWR group visit to the town's historic Elgoods Brewery) said: 'I'd just had my first baby in 1976 and was struggling with being homebound when this stranger - Marian - knocked at the door.

'NHR was an intellectually stimulating lifesaver where I met wonderful friends. When I rejoined not long before I retired, some familiar faces were still around but I've also met many lovely new ones. I hope it carries on for another 42 years!'

In the past few years the Wisbech group has had a go at rolling and eating sushi, painting Chinese style, potato-printing and making cheese; watched Victoria Wood as diarist Nella Last after taking part in an NWR appeal for May 12 journal entries on Mass Observation's 80th anniversary; had talks from a ballet costumier, metal detectorists' club, local family history expert, cat behaviourist; made dishes for any number of pot-luck meals served indoors and out, and had passionate discussions – yet miraculously avoided ever falling out with each other.

Comparatively new member, Jill Clayton, still wonders at this. She said: 'My main memory on joining was of being made so welcome.This was so different from organisations where you were scrutinised to see if your face fit, if you wore the right clothes or went to the right places on holiday. Some members have been in the group from the beginning. We must be doing something right!'

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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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Last few places for 'Audacity to Dream' regional conference

This day conference in Salisbury is organised by the SW04 NWR area and offers a mix of keynote speeches and though-provoking afternoon workshops celebrating 70 years of the NHS.  There will be coffee on arrival and a delicious buffet lunch with wine and fruit juice included. There are just a few places left, so please do book soon.

Venue: Sarum Academy, Salisbury

Date: 6th October 2018

For bookings and further information please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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Egg-citing news for NWR!

Eggheads Team

As you know, we tried to get a team onto the Eggheads TV quiz last year, but didn’t get through to filming. Well, NWR members are nothing if not tenacious, and I am DELIGHTED to tell you that as I type this our team of ‘Lively Minded Women’ are at the TV studios in Glasgow being filmed for the latest series of Eggheads.

We don’t yet know when it will be broadcast, but I’ll let you know as soon as we know the date. Please don’t ask us for any more details as we are legally bound not to give away any more information. But to say I am EGG-cited is an understatement (sorry, couldn’t help myself...)

Here’s a little more about the team of six (five of them will be filmed):

Susan has been a member of NWR for 22 years. She first joined when she moved to Cambridge as it was a good way to meet new people. Susan is 63 years old, and is a part time visitor guide at Kings College. She enjoys gardening, quizzes, and vintage cinema and really enjoys the variety of topics discussed at the Cambridge group NWR meetings.

Valerie lives with her husband, Dave, daughter Beth, and two cats, Smudge and Shaggy, in Luton. Valerie also has a son, Alexander, and three grandchildren. She has been married nearly 40 years and will be celebrating her Ruby anniversary next month in Jersey. Valerie works in administration and as an invigilator, but her social life is very important, and she enjoys a number of activities with NWR as a member of the Luton and South Beds Villages Group.

Isabelle lives in Dunfermline, Fife, with her husband and adult son and is a member of Dunfermline NWR. Whilst her career in Higher Education as an Effective Learning Advisor was enormously satisfying, recent early retirement has given Isabelle the opportunity to enjoy more time outdoors, walking and gardening.

Jan lives in the hills to the east of Manchester and is the Treasurer of the Mellor NWR group. She is married and enjoying retirement following a career in HR. An erstwhile equestrian, she is still very much involved with horses and has a keen interest in National Hunt racing. She enjoys walking with her two Border Collies and is an active gardener. Jan also likes to travel and indulge in the many cultural activities that the North West offers.

Anne is an Essex girl and is a retired optometrist. She loves opera, ballet, animals and amateur dramatics. She has been revising very hard for the Sport round on Eggheads by watching the World Cup and Wimbledon - this has of course been a terrible hardship for her!! Anne is a member of the Hadleigh NWR group.

Georgie is one of the 2 Essex girls in the team. She was for many years a member of Dronfield NWR in Derbyshire, but 4 years ago moved back to the village where she grew up, to look after her elderly mother. She now helps to run the local community bar, and has spent the last two weeks swotting up on US Presidents and capital cities! Georgie is a member of the Harwich and Dovercourt NWR group.

I am sure you will all join us in wishing the team the very best of luck!

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Join the fight against dementia.

A major UK study, run by scientists at King’s College London, makes it possible for members of the public to support dementia research from the comfort of their own home.

The PROTECT Study is an online project that aims to understand what happens to our brains as we age and why people develop dementia. It is gathering valuable data on how the brain changes with age and investigating which factors in mid-life affect our risk for the disease. Certain lifestyle factors such as exercise, smoking and blood pressure have been found to affect our risk of dementia, and there is increasing evidence that our genes play a role too.

Participants in PROTECT provide lifestyle information about themselves and complete online assessments to measure their abilities in areas such as memory and reasoning. By repeating these assessments each year, the PROTECT investigators will monitor how they change over the study and gather data that will help develop better approaches to prevent and treat dementia in the future. To help answer the study’s genetic questions, participants are also asked to provide a sample of their DNA through a simple at-home kit.

Prof Dag Aarsland, Chair of Old Age Psychiatry at King’s College London and a Lead Investigator for the PROTECT study, says “The great thing about online projects is that you are breaking the geographical boundaries between eager participants and research departments. PROTECT is something you can simply do from home and shape around your own lifestyle. Although the tests are not demanding in nature, their future value to researchers will be indescribable.”

Who can join the PROTECT Study?  You can take part in the project if:

  • You are aged 50 or over.
  • You live in the United Kingdom.
  • You have not been diagnosed with dementia.
  • You have access to a computer and the internet.

PROTECT is actively looking for people to take part and has an overall target of 50,000 participants across the UK. The study itself is due to last a period of 10 years, but participants can choose to stay involved for as little or as long as they like.

 

Keep updated on related research

Other than advancing dementia research, taking part in PROTECT means you would be joining a stronghold of 24,000 participants from across the UK! You would be kept updated on the project through the PROTECT newsletter, and can read up on fascinating findings from an array of scientific fields — dementia, schizophrenia, addictions, autism and more — through the King’s College London newsfeed.

You would also be the first to hear of new exciting sub-studies hosted on the PROTECT platform, and have the opportunity to take part in novel research such as the popular Brain Training programme. Although the Brain Training study has now ended, the games are still available and free to use by all PROTECT participants.

If you’ve always thought about taking part in research but felt uneasy about drug trials or the prospect of clinic visits, then this could be the study for you.

To find out more about PROTECT or to enrol in the study, please visit www.protectstudy.org.uk

Their friendly helpdesk team can be contacted via email or phone:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

0207 848 8183

PROTECT is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre

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Heather De Lacey
I signed up to this as soon as I read about it in the latest magazine. In common with lots of people I'm sure, I have come into f... Read More
Monday, 04 June 2018 14:24
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Thank you to all our volunteers!

NWRquote10

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National Conference now open to non-members

We are delighted to be able to release a few tickets for our national conference 'Nature versus Human Innovation' to non-members.  Why not bring a friend to find out more about NWR and enjoy a day of fascinating talks, stimulating discussion and engaging workshops. The main conference takes place in Chester on Saturday 23rd June, with optional events on the Friday and Sunday as well, so why not make a weekend of it?

Tickets for the Saturday conference are just £65 for non-members and all the details can be found on our booking site here

Tickets for NWR members are also still available, please do book soon as many of the workshops and wrap-around events have limited spaces and some are already booked up!

 

See you in Chester in June we hope!

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