Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Malago WI!

We hope you've had a good rest so far. Wasn't the snow beautiful?

Just a couple of reminders:
  • The next Malago WI social takes place on Wednesday 30 December, 8pm at the Tobacco Factory. Come along, get out of the house, tell everyone what you got for Christmas. It'd be lovely to see you.
  • If you haven't already signed up at November's meeting, email jointhewi@gmail.com to register your interest in becoming a member for 2010. Please state clearly your name and whether you were a 2009 member or not.
  • There will be 2 meetings in January - 6 January is Bollywood night, and 27 January is badge-making and New Year resolutions (where we'll share skills in helping each other to achieve our goals).
Have a good break, and we hope to see you soon.

After three! Should auld acquaintance be forgot...
Malago WI x

Monday, 23 November 2009

November rain

Malago WI,

It's raining, it's pouring, it's really very boring. Your humble correspondent is obviously in need of the creative writing expertise lined up for our November meeting: on Wednesday 25 November, Glenn Carmichael will be inspiring us to dig deep for inspiration and get scribbling, with a friendly introduction to writing creatively. Same time, same place - don't forget your quills and parchment.

If you weren't at our first birthday party, you missed a corker. Toasts were made, candles were blown out, and 'Happy Birthday' was sung (probably one too many times, if we're honest). We hope you all enjoyed it, and that you liked your present. If you weren't at the meeting, or aren't yet a member, birthday aprons will be available to buy at the meetings, along with the beautiful photographic book - the perfect record of our first year.

There was a bit of formal business to take care of at the party, which also happened to be our AGM. (The minutes are available to view on this here very site.) The headlines are that we waved adieu and un grand merci to our outgoing committee (Karen, Kirstie, Carrie, Emma, Odette, Jen and Jill) and 'allo 'allo to the new (Ruth, Moira, Lloyda, Hannah and Lizzie).

Coming up: there are still places available on the cupcake decorating workshop, on Saturday 5 December, just in time for Christmas. Sign up for your place at the November meeting.

Oh, and last but not least, congratulations to Karen and her family on their new addition - a baby girl (and possible WI president in the making?). We hope to meet her soon.

Don't forget your pen and paper, and we'll see you on Wednesday.

Malago WI AGM 28/10/09 Minutes

chair: Karen Bowers (KB)

minutes: Odette McBride (OM)

Register/welcome: Ruth and Emma, and Angie Last (AL) on raffle! £4 suggested donation at register / 1 pound for raffle ticket. Welcome drinks provided

Karen Bowers (KB):

Committee: KB thanks to outgoing members (Emma Squire, Jen Gills (JG), Carrie Fletcher, Jill Reekes, OM) and name those staying (AL, Lottie Storey (LS), Alice Hendy (AH). Introduced new committee members; Moira/Lizzie/Ruth and Lloyda/Hannah – stated that full introductions/roles will be at a future meeting. Call out for more committee members. Explanation of Presidency arrangements given; As no one had expressed an interest in becoming the new President, KB to take maternity leave. LS to assume role with support from AH and AL for the duration. Members gave this arrangement support by show of hands.

Documentation: KB outlined the documentation compiled as a record of the year; AH has produced a Photobook, which was passed around during the meeting and could be purchased as a momento. Website printed as record of meetings. Press cuttings compiled. Members should review and raise discrepancies as appropriate.

Financial statement – JG outlined the financial status. Currently £1600 credit, although warning issued re loss of 2/3 of subscription fee to Federation and National WI next year. Statement open to review and yet to be signed off.

Committee’s Annual report & president’s address – KB.

Birthday cards from other WI’s were read out.

Thoughts on the year; Arts Trail, high point and mid point re serving tea and cakes. Started with Best of Bedminster 2008 and reflected how far we have come since. When 7 members met Daphne Vises to 87 attending the September knitting meeting. 62 members and the likelihood of having to cap the membership. KB expressed how proud she was of the achievements that had been made. Thanks made to members and committee and her hopes that we can build on a great start. Mention of our contribution to Tesco’s pulling out of the Ashton Gate Stadium development, which highlights how powerful we can be when we act together in our community.

Offer of ‘exchange’ from Wrington WI to experience established WI (90th birthday) in rural setting.

2010 membership – KB. Likelihood of capping membership to 75. Members will be given the opportunity to rejoin at the November meeting as well as non-members. Those who cannot attend the meeting were encouraged to contact committee members to register their interest in advance.

Windmill Hill City Farm – OM talked about the importance of the farm to the local community and highlighted the financial difficulties they are facing. Identified ways that members can support the farm; use facilities, donate, become members and support the pledge scheme. Offer to register interested parties for the Pledge or provide details due to the imminent end of the scheme (31st October 2009).

Gores Marsh – AH described the event, thanked all who contributed and stated that it had raised £350 which would be spent on future meetings etc.

Future events; AL described the November meeting – Creative Writing with Glenn Carmichael. Cupcake decorating workshop available (05/1209) 16 places, costing £12.50. Traditional Bread making Workshop at the new Tobacco Factory with Mark to be confirmed. No meeting on 30th December due to Christmas period, although a social gathering at The Tobacco Factory would be held instead. 6th January would be the next meeting and involve Bollywood theme.

Daphne Vises addressed the meeting; announcing that the Avon Federation had won a national prize for largest number of new members in UK, earning a prize of £500 and came 3rd for number of new WI’s. This was Daphne’s ‘best year’. Call out for members to get involved at Federation level and encouraged us to keep recruiting. She stated that if we needed to cap numbers then interested women could be encouraged to start another WI or revive another local group that are likely to close in December. She thanked Malago WI for the regular press coverage but warned against doing a naked calendar, stating that it had been done. She advised us to get involved with the Brunel Group and ended by stating that ‘We are the best’.

PARTY! – introduced by AH including more bubbly, food, presents and games.

Raffle drawn and prizes awarded.

Birthday cakes distributed/ happy birthday sung.

Thanks given to KB for her hard work as President over the past year – Alice.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Short days, long nights... Autumn has fallen

Dear Malago-ers

To everything, there is a season, and this is fast becoming a nippy one. Still, at least you now have the wherewithal to knit yourself a Winter hat. Or at least you do if you were one of the 87 (87!) women who came together to knit away the last of that Indian summer at September's meeting. Wow! We couldn't quite believe it ourselves. We weren't expecting you all, so apologies that we ran out of tables, chairs and knitting needles. Hopefully, though, we made do and you had a lovely evening. Next time we'll be ready for you... Well done to all who completed a mini-hat - they've gone to Innocent to warm up those chilly smoothies, and pictures will be up on our Flickr site soon.

Speaking of which, October marks our first birthday, so we're celebrating with a party on Wednesday 28 October. Apologies to non-members, but as we have 'official business' to attend to, it is open to paid-up 2009 members only (who should all know about the change of venue, and have a beautiful invitation to remind them). Nibbles, birthday cake and a welcome drink will be provided, bring pocket money for the cash bar afterwards (and we are asking for a suggested donation of £4 to cover part of the party cost). If you did take an invitation but now cannot come, please let us know by emailing jointhewi@gmail.com - it'll mean we can give your place to someone else.

Some of you might have seen a handful of fellow members baring, well, not much actually, in the Evening Post last week. Our support of the Berate campaign objecting to the Tesco plans at Ashton Gate reached new highs (or lows, depending on your perspective) when we posed nude-ish behind a banner - huge thanks to the brave ladies who took part, and to Alice for taking such beautiful pictures. BBC Radio Bristol interviewed Alice and Lottie on Tuesday morning, live on the Breakfast show, which generated much debate with listeners calling-in to give their views on the subject. There is still time to object (by email, post or online - until 31 October) and we have submitted our official objection as a local, interested organisation. Keep those fingers crossed...

Coming up
Malago WI are official tea-and-cake purveyors to the opening of a new playground at Gore's Marsh, Winterstoke Road, on Sunday 25 October, between 10.30-3pm. Come down, look around, have a go on the slider (or the urn! Spare pinnies available).

Sharpen your pencils for November's creative writing session, taking place on Wednesday 25 November, usual place, usual time.

And put Saturday 5 December in your diary - we've organised a Christmas cupcake-decorating workshop to get you in the festive mood. More details and an opportunity to book your place at October's party.

We're off to practice the words to 'Happy Birthday'.
Until we meet again,

Malago WI objection submitted to Council planners

Dear Mr Stone

I write on behalf of the members of Malago Women's Institute to object to the proposed superstore development at Ashton Gate stadium (application number: 09/03208/P.

Our organisation objects to the application for the following reasons:
1. The detrimental effect a superstore would have on the local area has already been identified by the assessment made by Bristol City Council planning committee (report DPDS Ref DAM/C10133). The report identified no need for the store, a likely decline in the quality of [Bedminster town] centre in the medium and longer term, leading to decline in the physical condition and attractiveness of the centre. The report also says that the store site offers poor access by walking, cycling and public transport and offers only good access by car (creating traffic, safety and environmental issues), and that any jobs created would be off set by job losses elsewhere, with no evidence of the store boosting economic and physical regeneration.

There are countless examples of areas in which new supermarkets have effectively killed off the local, independent traders – those at the centre of our community that have been so essential in maintaining and stimulating economic growth in much of south Bristol. This cannot be allowed to happen in an area held up by many as a shining example of local high street regeneration, and one with access to plenty of supermarkets already.

2. The potential impact of a superstore at Ashton Gate would have dire environmental consequences for south Bristol. Traffic and congestion would worsen, and the suggested solution of removing bus/cycle lanes on Winterstoke Road to ameliorate a suggested increase of 300 cars at peak time is short-sighted, particularly for the UK's first Cycling City. Increased traffic makes roads less safe for pedestrians, and the route alongside the park is the main route for children attending Ashton Park school. The increase in traffic would also worsen air quality (already an issue), and refrigeration units, delivery lorries and 24-hour lighting would also have an impact on all these areas.

3. The argument for the development as an 'enabling' development is not appropriate, as any suggested benefits of the stadium would create corresponding disadvantages for the local community and retail centre (as outlined above). We do not believe alternative sources of finance cannot be found. If the stadium development cannot be privately financed, it could be argued that the business model is unsound, and therefore sale of the land owned by Bristol City Council would not be in the best interest of its citizens.

4. The outline application does not give enough information with regard to the sustainability of the development. We believe the application does not adhere to Government policy in terms of reducing carbon emissions. If Bristol is set to succeed in its pledge as Green Capital, Bristol City Council must be prepared to insist on developments which support the aspirations to work towards a low carbon future.

The group would like to see a proposal for the site incorporating affordable housing, leisure or sport activities, all of which would benefit the community in significant ways. The WI has a particular interest in environmental sustainability, and Malago WI has developed an environmental policy and action plan setting out its vision for minimising its own environmental impact and exploring ways to support local, sustainable projects. A superstore at Ashton Gate goes against these aims entirely and, as such, is not supported by our organisation.

Monday, 12 October 2009

We’ll go naked to stop Tesco!

Press release: 12 October 2009

Branch promises nude calendar should Tesco application be rejected

Malago Women's Institute members pledge to produce a nude calendar if the planning application for a new superstore at Ashton Gate is rejected by the Bristol City Council planning committee on 5 November.

The branch, who welcomed 87 women to their September knitting meeting, feels so strongly about the negative impact a huge supermarket would have on their local area and community that they decided to take a stand.

"We are always being asked when our nude calendar will be on sale," explains Karen Bowers, President, "but always maintained this new WI 'tradition' was not for us. However, when our members were asked to consider make their feelings known about the Ashton Gate application in such a public way, they enthusiastically agreed and the calendar suggestion was met with cheers."

The first nude WI calendar was produced by the Rylstone branch in Yorkshire, who sold 202,000 copies of their calendar in aid of Leukemia Research, and went on to be featured in the film and musical 'Calendar Girls'.

Malago WI was founded in 2008 after a group of like-minded women wanted to create a community group to include all women in the area. Much of their activity has been focused around North Street, which looks set to suffer the most damage should the superstore application get the go-ahead.

Vice president Lottie Storey says "North Street was the centre of my world when I was on maternity leave. Even if I didn't have shopping to do, I met up with friends in cafes and would always bump into someoneI knew on my way. It was a lifeline during the early months with a newborn, and meant I got out of the house. The high street is at the heart of the community, and we are so lucky to live near a thriving example - not just mums at home, but everyone."

The detrimental effect a superstore would have on North Street has already been identified by the assessment made by Bristol City Council planning committee. They identified no need for the store, a likely decline in the quality of [Bedminster town] centre in the medium and longer term, leading to decline in the physical condition and attractiveness of the centre. The report also says that the store site offers poor access by walking, cycling and public transport and offers only good access by car (creating traffic, safety and environmental issues), and that any jobs created would be off set by job losses elsewhere, with no evidence of the store boosting economic and physical regeneration.

Malago WI's views echo those of Berate campaigner, Chris Uttley, in countering the 'no Tesco, no stadium' argument. The branch believes that if Bristol City Football Club regard the new stadium as essential, they would not be relying upon something as controversial and unpredictable as a planning application for a vast new superstore - instead, private finance should be sought.

Likewise, linking the superstore application to that of the stadium is disingenuous. Branch members believe that sale of the land to Tesco in order to 'enable' the stadium development would effectively 'disable' so many aspects of a thriving neighbourhood, and this is too high a price to pay.

Malago Women’s Institute is set to celebrate its first birthday in October, and has grown from a group of 10 founding members to a membership of over 60. Made up of women of all ages, the group includes those who have lived in the area all their lives, as well as members who are new to the city.

The WI has a particular interest in environmental sustainability, and Malago WI has developed an environmental policy and action plan setting out its vision for minimising its own environmental impact and exploring ways to support local, sustainable projects.


Notes to editors:

Image credit: Alice Hendy.

Email jointhewi@googlemail.com for high resolution images.

Malago WI’s environmental policy is available to view on the website:


Branches of the Women's Institute nationwide campaign on matters of local, national and international importance. Current campaigns and projects include: end violence against women, Fairtrade, supporting post offices, climate change, foodwaste, 10/10 carbon challenge.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

September sisters, unite!

Hello sisters

It's time to fight. We love North Street, we love Bedminster, Southville, Ashton, we love the people and the shops and the community - we love everything about what makes south Bristol a lovely place to live or to work or to spend time.

As most of you know, all of this is under threat from the Tesco application for a huge superstore at Ashton Gate. Malago WI has already voted to support Berate, the anti-Tesco campaign, and these views have been made public in the Evening Post, The Pigeon and elsewhere.

Tonight, a couple of Malago WI members went to the public meeting, where we watched this film, which made us even more sure that Tesco and the death of North Street is too high a price to pay for three weeks of football party:

We hope you agree. If you haven't already sent your objections, you must do so before the end of October. All the details on what to do and how to do it are on the
Berate site.

There will also be a letter-writing table on our stall at the Best of Bedminster Show,(Malago WI is official refreshment provider, Saturday 26 September) and at our September meeting.

Talking of which, September's meeting is fast looming so dust off your knitting needles and come along on Wednesday 30 September ready to learn a new skill or to show us all how it's done. Materials will be provided if you don't have your own, as well as plenty of inspiring books, patterns and finished articles. It should be quite something to see one of the newest WI branches embrace one of the oldest domestic arts. We'll be attempting socks before we know it.

Looking ahead to October (drum roll, fanfare), and it's our first birthday! We are very, very excited. Alas because we have a smidgeon of formal business to attend to, it can be paid-up members only (if you're not yet a member, you can join in September) and there is a change of venue for one night only. Don't forget to pick up your invitation. And although we'll be providing party-style titbits, you might like to eat something beforehand. There will be a cash bar so bring your pocket money, and we're asking for a suggested donation of £4 to cover everything but your drinks.

And if that's got your social feathers a-fluttering, save the date for the next Brunel group meeting - Friday 16 October, 7.30 at St.Martins Church Hall, Knowle. The Brunel Group is a collective of 6 local WIs including us, so Malago members are most welcome. October's speaker is Paul Cook, ostrich farmer, and there will be a competition and prize for the most imaginative feather creation, plus raffle, plus refreshments. All for £3. Tickets from Malago WI at the September meeting.


Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Tesco objection letters and a demonstration, 12 September

Don't forget to send your objection to Bristol City Council NOW:

Any comments you may have about the application must be submitted in writing, giving your name and address and quoting the application number 09/03208/P

1. Online:

(blue ’submit comments’ bar at the top)

2. Email: development.management@bristol.gov.uk

3. Write to: City Development, Brunel House, St George’s Road, Bristol, BS1 5UY

Use your own words in your objection and state how it will affect you. You may also wish to include all or some of the following points:

• Already enough supermarket provision locally.
• Negative impact on smaller local shops and damage to regeneration that has already occurred.
• If ‘key’ shops (butchers, greengrocers, bakers) disappear from the high street the viability of the whole high street will be in danger.
• Significant increase in traffic and congestion in the surrounding communities. Air quality and road safety will get worse.
• Noise and light pollution from a 24-hour, 7-day store.
• Local high street is the centre of our community.
• The site is too far from local shops to bring any benefit to the area.
• Our local shops employ many people and reinvest profits locally.
• Wider environmental impact of superstore (encouraging car use, transporting goods, poor use of land)
• Better uses for the site e.g. Affordable housing, community facilities, sports facilities…
• You live close to the site but were not properly consulted (if appropriate)
• The planning decision should not be biased by the push for new stadium

Please, please do it now, and send anyone else who might also object a link to this post. This is our ONLY opportunity to object and we must do it now in huge numbers.


Members of Malago WI will be joining the demonstration on Saturday 12 September 2009. Berate are holding a public Juggernaut event on 12th September on North Street and Ashton Road. The walk will start at North Street Green at 10.30am and shall walk the length of North Street leading then to the entrance of BCFC on Ashton Road. Tesno banners will be available, or bring your own to join in and support (we will make a Malago WI one). We hope you can come and show your support for the campaign.

Malago WI

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Dog days and holidays

Ahoy there!

We're cranking up the gramophone in preparation for August's meeting, where we will swish, swap, shimmy and sup to our hearts' content. Yes, time to sort out your bits and bobs for our first Swish (clothes swap), and bring along the things you no longer love but seem too good to charity shop or chuck away. Bring clean clothes, accessories and home wares (but no furniture or large items please, shoes must be unworn). Bring up to five items each and you can adopt five new-to-you delights - what could be finer?

We'll be asking for the history of your items too - it makes for interesting tales over tea - so have a think, tell us about your treasure, take a label and write about the item. Where did you get it? Why did you choose it? Why are you no longer in love with it? Tie the label onto the hanger (please bring a hanger per item).

We can't wait.

Ways with wool
September's meeting is a crafty one. Many of you said when you joined that you'd like to learn to knit, crochet or felt, and we are nothing if not obedient. There will be activities for all regardless of experience - from total beginners to craft heavyweights. (Actually, if you fit the latter, perhaps you'd consider helping to guide members along the way? We are especially looking for someone to assist our felting teacher to assist a small group of members, as well as those with knitting and crochet experience. Talk to us in August, or email jointhewi@googlemail.com). And if you have knitting needles, crochet hooks, felt, yarn or even a project you'd like to display at the meeting, bring 'em along.

Museum of Bristol
We've been approached by a researcher for the Museum of Bristol (the new museum due to open on the site of the old Industrial Museum) who is investigating experiences of being part of a cultural, faith or interest group. And what do you know? He thinks the Women's Institute, and in particular Malago WI, would be an excellent example of such a group (naturellement). So he'd like to meet us, with a view to making one member the subject of a story to be included in the museum. Anyone interested? Email jointhewi@googlemail.com if you fancy making an exhibition of yourself.

Our birthday
As many of you know, Malago WI will celebrate its first birthday in October. Doesn't time fly? We are planning exciting surprises for the meeting on Wednesday 29 October, but as the party is also our AGM it's a ticketed, members-only event. But fret not, if you aren't yet a member you can benefit from our bargain 15-months-for-the-price-of-12 offer! See Jen at the next meeting for more information and to join. Members - we'll tell you more when we see you. In the meantime, we know you want to find out more about the available roles on the committee, so visit our new, updated committee section to see what takes your fancy. October will be the month for deciding who'll do what in 2010 - don't miss out.

Oh, and our Facebook group is looking a little lost without you - come and join us over there, it's awfully good fun. And don't forget to send back your questionnaire before the next meeting on Wednesday 26 August.

Swish you were here!
Malago WI x

Meet the committee

It's time for a cabinet re-shuffle, so if you're interested in getting more involved in Malago WI have a read about the committee and their roles.

All members of the committee are involved in recruitment. They also share the hosting and other responsibilities for the monthly committee meetings. The Malago committee all takes part in setting up the hall before each meeting. Committee members deliver information to the institute and organise fund raising activities. Other tasks include finding contacts for meetings, baking, and gathering materials for meetings.

Karen Bowers

Karen chairs the committee and member meetings. She oversees planning of all meetings and communicates with the local WI branches, and with the regional federation (so quite a bit of talking)! Banging the ceremonial rolling pin is also required.

Vice President
Lottie Storey

Lottie creates our newsletter and our website, sending regular updates to members. Other duties as vice president include chairing meetings and deputising in the absence of our President. Lottie helps with the programme, contributes to fundraising projects and events, such as Best of Bedminster and the Southbank Art Trail.

Jen Gill

Jen does the number stuff. This includes financial reporting and budgeting, and she reports on fundraising. She has links with regional & national branches and has a keen interest in WI campaigning.

Kirstie Wright

Kirstie deals with regional and national business, reporting and bookings. She files the minutes, offers fundraising support and advice on applications, and helps manage the WI database with Jen.

New members/visitors
Emma Squire

Emma welcomes new members and guests. 
She organises the register, maintains the membership
database and is the smiley face that greets you on arrival.

Creative Director
Alice Hendy

Alice is responsible for the flowers and styling for our meetings and stalls, and sources materials for events. Alice is our official photographer, responsible for our Flickr page, as well as the design and visual identity of communications, the noticeboard and events. She also manages our official email inbox and helps provide images and information for the website.

Tea Hostess
Carrie Fletcher

Carrie leads on refreshments at meetings, co-ordinating the rota for tea-making, washing up, and cake-making. Carrie relies on members to help run the kitchen and pour the tea. Her role takes her away from the meeting at times to disappear into the kitchen and attend to the urn.

Programming Officer
Angie Last

Angie leads the programming of meetings as well as social events and workshops. Angie confirms the attendance of our speakers and arranges the fee. She hosts our speakers, ensuring they have all they need for a successful meeting.

Campaigns Officer
Odette McBride

Odette keeps up to date with national WI campaigns and also works on the campaigns we choose to do locally, leading meetings that require a member vote.

Press Officer
Jill Reakes

Jill prepares and issues our press releases. She is the first contact for press enquiries and leads on the filing of press coverage received. She keeps an eye on regional and national press & stories.