• Regular meetings

    We meet on the third Wednesday of every month, 7.30-9.30pm.

    Where: Welsh Borough Chapel, 90 Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 0EX.

    Guests are very welcome (£4 for non-WI members).

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People, Plants and War – Workshops with the Garden Museum


During 2014 as part of the centenary of the First World War, the Garden Museum’s learning programme will focus on the thrift, knowledge, skills and self-sufficiency used during the war by the people left behind.

As part of this fantastic programme the Garden Museum have offered to work with us to run some workshops to help us build new skills in gardening, growing food and flowers, making herbal remedies, face creams and soaps from plants and decorating/up-cycling ceramics. These skills will then be shared with the public at a Thrift Fair to be held at the museum in September.

The Women’s Institute was created during WWI (1915) to encourage more women to get involved with food growing.  The Borough Belles has been invited to these workshops for free! This is an exciting project to be part of and we hope at least one of these workshops takes your fancy! Workshops will run between 10.30-12.30 at the Garden Museum in Lambeth. These workshops are free for members to take part in and there are limited spaces. If you would like to take part – please join the Facebook event page or email us.

:: 6th April – Growing Food workshops – I

Workshop to teach us how to sow flower, herb and vegetable seeds. We will give them a mini-crate (wooden) each so that they can grow the plants at home on the window sill or balcony.

:: 4th May – Growing Food workshop – II

Workshop to create an edible garden in a recycled or up-cycled container.

:: 1st June – Ceramics Workshop – Up-cycled mugs and tableware to create commemorative ware

Using vintage china with patterns of flowers on, participants will add transfers with images relating to gardening and First World War.

:: 6th July, 3rd August, 7th September – Making things from plants – face creams, home remedies and soap

Workshops on making facial creams, home remedies and soap

We look forward to seeing you there.




Papercutting fun!

The Borough Belles were packed to the rafters this week with ladies trying their hands at papercutting. Lead by the lovely, Poppy Chancellor, we took to the cutting board with our scalpels and patterns to make beautiful Rob Ryan-esque creations!

Poppy gave us some great tips on how to successfully cut out a design with a professional-looking finish and it wasn’t long before some of us started adding our personal touches to the templates we’d been given.

A papercut tree

A papercut tree

Thanks to all the Belles and guests that came and had a go. Even if you’ve tried paper cutting before we hope you learned some new techniques or honed your skills!

The best thing we learned is that this craft is so cheap! All you need is a good scalpel, a cutting mat, some paper and imagination! (It also might help to build up a callous on your forefinger!)


19th March: Papercutting with Poppy Chancellor


Image: Poppy Chancellor

This month we are really excited to have Poppy Chancellor from Poppy’s Papercuts coming along to our meeting. Poppy is making her name creating delicate personalised papercuts, using just a scalpel and her imagination! She’ll be showing us how to create some of our very own beautiful papercuts.

Poppy stumbled upon her way of working in the final year of an illustration degree at Kingston University when she made a 3D-paper installation of an illuminated city with silhouettes of people. She then spent a year at the prestigious Prince’s Drawing School in London where she still teaches, alongside running papercutting classes at The Make Lounge and creating bespoke pieces for commission.

You can see some of her amazing work at her website http://poppychancellor.com/papercuts/

At our usual home at the Welsh Borough Chapel, 90 Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 0EX. Guests very welcome if you would like to come and try us out! Meetings run from 7.30-9.30pm with the doors open from 7.15pm. Guests pay £5 to cover materials.


The Plastic Challenge 2014

Plastic Challenge

The Plastic Challenge 2014 is underway and members of Borough Belles WI are taking part! As Emily talked about at our last meeting, there isn’t a closed system for recycling plastic and lots of it ends up in our sea which has a massive impact on the marine environment. As well as being a Borough Belle, Emily is a Sea Champion for the Marine Conservation Society and gave up plastic for Lent last year.

“Last year I was overwhelmed by the support from family, friends and the media. I raised over £700 for the Marine Conservation Society and got exposure on national TV and radio. Inspired by this, I’m encouraging Borough Belles to get involved in the ‘Plastic Challenge’ for Lent 2014!” says Emily.

Lots of people feedback how inspiring Emily’s talk was at February meeting and quite a few Belles are taking part in the challenge so we thought we would share more information about the challenge.

What is the challenge?

The plastic challenge is designed to help people shrink their plastic footprint during Lent. There are no rules with this challenge – the more plastic free you can live the better! It can be difficult to draw the line and decide what is completely ‘plastic free’. This is your own judgement call and there is no wrong or right answer! You may want to set your own rules and decide to completely empty the cupboards and start from scratch, or pledge not to purchase anything new, or not to throw any plastic away (i.e. re-use as much as possible).


What can you do?

Even if you don’t fancy living completely plastic free for the whole of Lent, there’s a whole host of ways you can reduce your use of single-use plastics. You can show your support by doing one of the following:

*Living plastic free for 1 week

*Living plastic free for 1 day

*Organising a plastic free meal

*Not using a type of plastic you use regularly (plastic bottles, plastic bags, ready meals, coffee cups/lids etc).


Join the online Plastic Challenge community: The plastic challenge blog, Facebook and Pinterest. And following the challenge on Twitter @emily4smith #plasticchallenge


Links: Blog - http://plasticbeaches.blogspot.co.uk/

Pinterest - http://www.pinterest.com/PlasticChallenge


The WI has a great history of raising awareness about environmental issues and we are sure you can find creative and resourceful ways to live without single use plastic. Let’s inspire women all-round the country to use less plastic over the next few weeks!


We will sharing the experience of Belles taking part so watch this space. Good luck to all taking part!


More information can be found here:  www.mcsuk.org/plasticchallenge.



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