Friday, 8 October 2021

Coming up in October

Our next meeting, on 21st October, at 7pm for 7.30, will have Kathleen Sherit talking about women in the armed forces. 

Kathleen will have some copies of her recent book, for perusal and for sale. 

This will be our first in-person meeting back at St Margaret’s House in Bethnal Green. For new members who haven't visited before, the address is 21 Old Ford Road, London E2 9PL. The entrance is the gated archway to the left of the building. Follow the path along and to the right, round the courtyard garden, and you'll see us ready to welcome you – the meeting room opens on to the courtyard.

As this is our first meeting, we will gauge how comfortable everyone feels. We cannot guarantee that The Hall is a Covid secure environment but we will take the following measures to keep all as safe as possible – apologies, this is the boring but necessary bit!

1. Hand sanitiser on entry 

2. Lots of space, but we will leave the door open to the garden so please bring woollies! 

3. Masks are optional, but we encourage them for when moving around the room. 

4. Temperatures will be taken on arrival. 

5. List of attendees in case of subsequent covid cases, 

6. Please do not attend if you believe you have been infected with Covid-19, have been instructed to self-isolate if you or any member of your household have tested positive in the last 14 days.

October coffee mornings 

15th October at 11.00, at Chirunguito café, at the north exit of Bethnal Green underground station. The café opens at 11.00 so this is slightly later than normal. We can sit outside if preferred.

29th October on Zoom. 
The Zoom link will be sent out nearer the time to our list of East End WI members and friends. 

Thursday, 16 September 2021

The work of St Mungo’s: our September meeting

At our September meeting, we heard from Lamorna Hooker from St Mungo’s, the charity that works to support people with their recovery from homelessness. 

The charity started in 1969, with a small group of people offering food and what help they could. Its first hostel was in a Marmite factory in Vauxhall. The story of the name is that one of the founding volunteers came from Glasgow, which has St Mungo as its patron saint. 

Last year, St Mungo’s provided bed and support to 3,150 people every day and helped almost 33,000 people with housing, health, skills and employment. It has a network of clients who play a crucial role in its decision-making and implementation processes, and staff with lived experience of homelessness. 

On the streets, women are vulnerable to violence, harassment, weather and tend to have severe and interrelated problems that make recovery difficult. Women are often hidden, which makes them hard to count in statistics and hard to reach. 

St Mungo’s work covers three areas:

Emergency projects include outreach, a severe weather emergency project and working in prisons as a bridge between the criminal justice system and services.

Accommodation spans emergency help, supported independent living and care homes for the elderly, with a focus on recovery and wraparound support.

Recovery projects are the USP of St Mungo’s. It has a Recovery College, a skills and employment programme and emotional support. Its hugely popular gardening projects include a London garden designed by Jekka McVicar.

During the pandemic, St Mungos has been part of the Everyone In scheme, managed 30 hotels, helped more than 4,000 people to isolate safely and 80% of its frontline services have continued to operate.

How you can get involved:
  • Fundraise
  • Volunteer
  • Campaign with St Mungos, for instance by writing to your MP
  • Download the Streetlink app, which you can use to note the location and description of a rough sleeper so that services can find and help them

Many thanks to Lamorna for her interesting and insightful talk.

We also heard from East End WI member Jakki, who worked in social housing for 40 years before retiring five years ago. 

Jakki spent some years working for Housing for Women, founded in the 1930s by people who understood that women were disadvantaged, largely through income. Housing for Women provides low-cost permanent housing, a sanctuary scheme, works with women leaving prison, particularly in addressing the catch-22 of housing women being reunited with their children, and with trafficked women.

One positive note from each:

Lamorna: St Mungo’s is one of the only homelessness charities that will accept dogs. There is a heartening case study on the St Mungo’s website about former client Susan and her dog Lady, pictured above.

Jakki: on its website, Housing for Women welcomes the Domestic Abuse Act, a recent act of Parliament, as a step in the right direction.
…and a book recommendation from Lamorna: The Salt Path, by Raynor Winn.

Our next coffee mornings: 
15th October 2021 at 11.00am at Chirunguito café, Museum Gardens, Bethnal Green, E2 9PA 

Our next meeting, on 21st October, at 7pm for 7.30, will have Kathleen Sherit talking about women in the armed forces. This is planned to be an in-person meeting, back at St Margaret’s House. The usual Covid precautions will apply: please don't come if you feel unwell, the doors will be open, there will be sanitiser and if you prefer to wear a mask, please do.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Coming up in September

Our next meeting on 16th September:
Lamorna Hooker will talk to us about the work of 
St Mungo’s – the charity that works on recovery 
from homelessness so that everyone has a place to 
call home and can fulfil their hopes and ambitions.

St Mungo’s aim to end homelessness and rebuild lives. They have been coordinating responses with the local authorities to get people into safe places and protect them from the pandemic. They recognise the importance of mental health and well-being and of the companionship of pets and welcome dogs.

Pictured: St Mungo's client Susan with her dog Lady.

We are also hoping that Jakki, one of our members, may be able to join us to share some of her vast professional experience of working with women in housing.

Lamorna works in Bristol so this meeting will be online, starting at 7.30pm. The Zoom link will be sent out earlier that day to our list of East End WI members and friends.
If you don’t think you are already on the list and would like to be included, please email us.

Another coffee anyone?

We had a lively opening meeting in person at Café Crème, 566 Roman Road, Bow, E3 5ES, last month so we suggest sticking with this venue for our next coffee morning this Friday 10th September at 10.30am.

From the last meeting someone commented on how ‘reasonable’ the prices were with an extensive menu offering lots of choice for all palates. It is also accessible by foot, bicycle and other forms of transport and within walking distance of the Community Garden - if anyone cares to make an excursion afterwards!

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Foraging tips and family stories: our August meeting

It’s a good year for blackberries. But what else could we be foraging? At our August meeting, we heard from Wendy Paton, forager, bushcraft specialist and East Edge Sisters member.

Wendy grew up in Melbourne, Australia, where she grew interested in living off the land. Wendy has foraged wild rhubarb in Mongolia, harvested blueberries in Ecuador, been mud fishing in Vietnam and eaten insects for breakfast in Laos. Wendy started London Bushcraft to reconnect people with nature. 

Along with their uses in traditional herbal medicine, here are just a few of the things that we learned from Wendy’s talk: Elderflowers are best picked early on a dry day, nettles before they flower and sloes traditionally after first frosts. Jack-by-the-hedge, nettles, lemon balm and dandelions can all be used in pesto mixes. Sweet violet leaves are a good parsley substitute. Ash seeds can be pickled if picked early when transparent. And a swiss inventor studied how burdock leaves stuck to clothes – which led to the invention of Velcro.

Our members shared stories too: Past President Natasha learned to forage from her French mother, who, if in any doubt, would take mushrooms to the chemist. Chemists in France have to know about poisonous mushrooms. And Annie told how they used to use curly dock seeds as money when they were children.

Some rules for foraging:

Only eat something if you’re sure what it is

You can pick unless there are regulations in the area

You cannot uproot a plant unless you have landowner’s permission

Test your sensitivity to plants

Pick in a non polluting environment

Always double check ingredients before using.

Avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding

More from Wendy on foraging, recipes, workshops, courses and wilderness retreats: and at @londonbushcraft on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter 

Pictured above: blackberries by the River Lea, herb Robert and lemon balm.

Our next coffee morning will be on Friday 27th August, on Zoom

Our next meeting, on 16th September, will have St Mungo’s talking about women and homelessness. Check back here for details.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Coming up in August...

At our next meeting on 19th August, Wendy Paton from London Bushcraft will talk to us about foraging in London.

Wendy’s interest in bushcraft started as a young child in Australia. Wendy has led 21 expeditions worldwide. During these trips she has foraged for wild rhubarb in Mongolia and picked enough wild blueberries in Ecuador to turn herself blue.

At our August meeting, Wendy will tell us about the what, where and how of foraging in London.

This meeting will be online, starting at 7.30pm. 

The Zoom link will be sent out earlier that day to our list of East End WI members and friends. If you don’t think you are already on the list and would like to be included, please email us.

Coffee mornings

In person: We are making use of the chance to sit outside, under a protective awning at Café Crème, 566 Roman Road on Friday 6th August at 10.30am.

It is just on the corner by the Bow Idea Store. Accessible, and buses not too far away. Very friendly, welcoming staff and, if we did need to go inside to shelter, it is quite spacious. We do not expect a huge group, but for some of us it will be a chance to put on some glad rags and see the full picture!

We will see how it goes, and will also offer (possibly alternate) future Zoom sessions.

On Zoom: 27th August, 10.30am. The Zoom link will be sent out nearer the time to our list of East End WI members and friends. 

Friday, 16 July 2021

Following the plots – our July meeting at Pudding Mill allotments

“The first year, there were hundreds of goldfinches.”

For our July meeting, we were invited to visit the beautiful Pudding Mill Allotments, by Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where East End WI members Clare and Colleen have plots.

Arriving through fragrant lavender and sitting in early evening light as martins swooped overhead, we heard from Clare about the history of the site, its wildlife and the things that people grow, as well as having time for a catch-up and cake.

We also took time to complete the task of the AGM to elect a President. We’re delighted to announce that Heather Qualtrough has been elected. You can find the 2021/22 committee here.

Our thanks to Yvette from Middlesex Federation for coming along.

A huge round of applause to Natasha and the 2020/21 committee for all of their work in these challenging times, keeping the East End WI community going and creating an excellent programme of virtual events. And thank you Clare and all at the allotments for welcoming us.

Our next meeting, on Thursday 19 August, will be about foraging. Check back here for information nearer the time.

Photos by Kate Fuller; sketch by Lydia Thornley.

Saturday, 10 July 2021


Welcome to the latest news from your EEWI

Our Next Meeting…

Save the date! 15th July is the third Thursday of the month, and our next meeting. 

Venue: Allotments at QEOP where Clare and Colleen spend time.

Directions: Bridgewater Road, London E15 2NJ.

Don't look up the address on Google maps as it won't show, but if you Google Pudding Mill allotments then the address appears! The nearest bus stop is Warton Road - buses 25, 106, 276, 425. There is also the 388 which stops on Westfield Avenue. Car parking is also available.

Time: 07:30 PM on Thursday 15th July 2021

What you can expect on the evening: We’ll see what goes on at the allotments and hear the history of the site, as well as have time for a catch-up, coffee and some cake.
Please note: We remain COVID-19 aware, and will be considerate of social distancing and numbers. We recommend everyone attending bring their own mug/glass, as some wine may arrive… There is a fridge and a kettle and very importantly a toilet! Don’t forget to bring your own hand sanitiser too. 

Committee Matters…

We’ll also complete the task of the AGM, to elect a President so that we can go forward with the complement of committee and roles filled. Yvette from MFWI has been invited. We have one person willing to stand for President, but if anyone feels they missed the chance, please do step up for the committee or a post. We need to be quorate (8), and this business should not take very long, so we do hope to see you there.
In the unlikely event that we cannot complete this task, we need to give 10 days’ notice of a special meeting, which will be on the following Thursday, 22nd July, 7.30 on Zoom. Joining details will follow.