ABOUT US

We are Borough Belles Women’s Institute.

Founded in September 2009, we have 50+ members, a 14-strong committee and we’re looking for as many like-minded ladies as possible to join our group. We celebrate all the things the WI stands for: insightful speakers and presentations, interesting craft projects, and a whole lot of cake. Our mascot is our lovely London honeybee – industrious and adaptable, not to mention a provider of delicious treats!

We seek to embody the WI’s motto of ‘Inspiring women’, forging friendships and sparking passions that will benefit both us and the communities we live in.

We are always looking for people to step up and take on roles within the committee. If you are interested please do get in contact for more information or look at the Jobs Board HERE

THE BOROUGH BELLES COMMITTEE

PRESIDENT: Muireann Grealy 

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As the President my role includes co-ordinating committee meetings, planning our monthly meetings’ activities and listening to our members to find out what they want from their WI. I also correspond with WI Head Office regarding publicity and resolutions and act as the public face of BBWI. I write the monthly newsletter and on top of that run the Dancing Belles Club, which keeps my toes tapping.

I joined the WI partly for the cake and crafts but also for its commitment to education and campaigning. It’s been wonderful to meet so many interesting, interested women at Borough Belles and learn all sorts of new skills. Favourites have been the self-defence class, learning to Charleston, and spotting goldfinches and peregrine falcons on Bankside. Also the night our cake table had beetroot cake, carrot cake and spinach cake and I realised that thanks to the WI I could consume my 5-a-day via the medium of cake.

TREASURER: Amelia Parsons

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As the Treasurer, I look after the financial affairs of Borough Belles Wl, ensuring the proper and efficient handling of our money and advising on financial planning for the year. I also welcome members and guests to the meeting, ensuring everyone is signed in.

I’ve enjoyed three years as a WI member so far, have learned about topics from Astrology to Zines, tried activities such as boot camp and (fake) tattooing and met many Inspiring Women!

 

SECRETARY: Sally Sculthorpe

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I attended my first Borough Belles meeting in January and was hooked straight away. Borough Belles members are a diverse, friendly group of women who made me feel immediately welcome. The range of activities, events and topics for meetings are certainly entertaining and provide great opportunities to learn new skills and hear about good causes or discover new hobbies.

I was keen to get more involved and leapt at the chance to join the committee. As Secretary my role involves supporting the President and maintaining up to date records.

SOCIAL CO-ORDINATOR: Ellie Simes  

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As part of the Borough Belles committee I help out with running meetings, socials and events. Lots of things need doing to make sure everything goes smoothly. So whether it’s setting up tables and chairs, manning a stall at an event or just having a cocktail or two (at dancing or book group), there’s always something fun to get involved with.

COCKTAILS & PAGES OFFICERS: Katie Frost (left) & Phoebe Prendergast (right) 

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As the joint organisers of our book club, ‘Cocktails & Pages’, we organise the venues for each meeting, and we try to find somewhere in-keeping with the theme of each book. At the meetings themselves, we bring a set of starter questions to promote our discussion, whilst also trying out the cocktails on offer!

We joined the WI together last year as we both live in the area and wanted to see what we could get up to after work, whilst meeting new people. It is great that Borough Belles has such a diverse age-range and is promoting the WI to the younger generation and the variety of meetings we have caters for everyone; our personal favourites have been the wine & cheese tasting session but also learning to quill at the craft evening!

BELLES OF FIRE OFFICER: Alison Pearce

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I’m the Belles of Fire, Borough Belles’ running club, coordinator and have enjoyed being part of the club since I joined the Belles in early 2015. Now that I’m coordinator I’m having a think about how to get more Belles out in their trainers in the fresh air and feeling the, erm, buzz, of a walk, jog or run. I didn’t start out liking running in the slightest, hated cross-country at school and I’m still not really a natural but you can’t knock it for a good calorie burn and mental health improver all rolled into one. Chatting and running (yes it is possible) and cake sampling afterwards are all essential parts contributing to the feel-good factor – are you sold yet?!?
I joined the Belles in 2015 after coming along for a few meetings as a guest. I work in Southwark with my partner and since there’s only two of us and we own a business there’s not a lot of socialising going on so I was on the lookout for like-minded people to make friends, get involved and broaden horizons. The Borough Belles have been so welcoming I wouldn’t be afraid of coming along on your own like I did – I’ve not looked back.
CRAFT OFFICER: Ruth Van Steenis

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As Craft Officer I am planning on making some new bunting and hopefully getting everyone involved, inspiring the Belles to start making, be that sewing, quilting, knitting, embroidery or paper crafts.
It’s a great way to spend time learning a new skill with tea and cake!  We can sell the items we make at the BBWI Borough Market stall and raise money at the same time.
DEPUTY CRAFT OFFICER: Sarah Miloudi

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As Deputy Craft Officer, it’s my role to support Ruth to organise great craft events and to help publicise them on the Belles’ Facebook page.

Crafting is a fun way to get involved with the WI – whether you’re into knitting, sewing, crochet, paper crafts or even craft beer making. The possibilities are endless, so get involved!

SOCIAL MEDIA OFFICER – Johanna Wilson

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As the Social Media Officer, my role is cover both the Borough Belles Twitter to get the latest news of meetings, events and successes out there and our Facebook page as Belle Borough to keep all the events we run up-to-date (as well as ensuring that no one goes without their invite!). I also run the Instagram account and update our blog to show what we’ve been up to. So if there’s something you feel is missing or that you want on our social media, let me know. I joined the Borough Belles in 2015. I came as a guest to for a session on urban beekeeping and I was hooked! It’s a really friendly group that makes you feel welcome from the very first session. There’s such a great range of activities and events going on, as well as ways to get involved and give back to the local community, so there really is something for everyone.

 

 BOROUGH MARKET OFFICER (Joint): Emily Mcgeevor

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My role as Borough Market Officer means I help with building the relationship between the Belles and Borough Market. This means organising our stalls at Borough Market, co-ordinating the monthly blog post ‘Borough Belles Cook’ and find new ways we can work with the market itself.

I joined the WI after hearing so much about the work they had done historically, and continue with today, in the local community. In London it is sometimes hard to gain that sense of community that I immediately felt during that first meeting I attended. It was just what I had been searching for!

WANDERING BELLES OFFICER: Christel Hernalesteen

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As joint Borough Market Officer, together with Emily, I am responsible for organizing one-off events/meetings with Borough Market and our raffles.

On top of that, I will organise a few walks a year for a brand new “Wandering Belles” walking club. I hope that you will join us on invigorating country walks, where we will take our time to discover quaint beautiful villages and take in peaceful green landscapes. And of course enjoy tea and scones at the end of our rewarding walk!

CAMPAIGNS OFFICER: Sophie Backhouse

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As Campaigns Officer I liaise with charities, often local, when they have a campaign or opportunity to volunteer that they think the Borough Belles would be interested in getting involved in. Past organisations we have worked with include Dimbleby Cancer Care Trust and Thames 21 who work to clean up the waterways in and around London, but we are always happy to hear from new organisations that might like our help or to come tell us what they do!
I joined the Borough Belles in 2015 after recently moving to the South East London area. I was immediately bowled over by the welcoming sense of community that the Belles have created and love the diverse range of activities that happen at each meeting, not to mention all the great clubs and social activities that go on the rest of the month. I can honestly say joining the Belles was the best decision I’ve made in a very long time!

COMMITTEE MEMBER: Polly Heffer

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I am a general committee member involved in the running of the Borough Belles. You can usually find me running with the Belles of Fire on Saturday mornings and helping to plan races and runs.

I joined the Borough Belles in 2015 after moving to Peckham and not knowing anyone in the area. Since then I have spent my time running, singing, crafting, baking, volunteering and drinking wine with wonderful people. What is not to love?

35 thoughts on “ABOUT US

  1. Hi, I don’t live in the borough I live in the Bromley Area but it is easier for me as I work by London Bridge Station, is that okay to join?

    • Hi Anita, yes certainly – we have people from all over! Sign up to our mailing list for all our updates – hope to see you at our April meeting.

  2. Hi, I am very excited about your website! Lovely idea and feel to it. May I please be added to your mailing list for the next meeting you are having? Many thanks, George xx

  3. I am hoping that you might be able to advertise amongst your members a concert that I am organising on September 14th at City Temple with the London Welsh Male Voice Choir, who sang at the Olympics. Huw Edwards is compere for the evening and we are hoping to raise enough money to buy five syringe pumps for Great Ormond Street Hospital. I appreciate that this is not one of your designated charities this year, however, I felt it would be a concert that I am sure many of your members would enjoy.

    If you could spread the word it would be enormously appreciated. Ticets are £20 and available from http://www.LWMVCandGOSH.com

    Many thanks
    Louise

  4. My name is Emily and I work for Hestia Housing and Support, which is a charity providing services for victims of domestic abuse across London.
    Domestic abuse is one of the biggest issues facing women in our society, with one in four women experiencing domestic abuse in their lifetime. Shockingly, two women are killed each week in the UK as a result of domestic abuse.
    We passionately believe that it is important for all women to be educated about domestic abuse, which can include financial and emotional abuse as well as violence, and affects women from all walks of life. We would like to come to one of your meetings to give a short presentation on domestic abuse and how it is affecting women and their children in London, and the services we offer to help women rebuild their lives after they experience domestic abuse.
    If you are interested in having a representative of Hestia come to speak at one of your meetings, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

    Emily

  5. Hi, my mum and I have just been looking at your website and were intrigued by your upcoming talk on herbs. would it be ok if we came along? Thanks Isy and Jan

    • Hi Isy and Jan,
      We’d love to have you along, you’re both very welcome! See you on the 15th. Borough Belles

  6. Hi, Id love to see if there are any speaking opportunities. I work for the Childrens Air Ambulance and was hoping we could share some ideas.
    Happy to fill any last minute spaces too :). oh and if you are having any kind of bakery or food related theme, im your girl. please can you email me – its carrie.moran@theairambulanceservice.org.uk

    • Hi Carrie, Thanks for getting in touch, we will drop you a line to discuss ideas. Thanks Lara x

  7. Hi, my email has gone to ground and I wanted to volunteer for the cake rota for the South London choir – could someone point me in the right direction?

    • Hi Stephanie, That is great that you want to volunteer. If you can make it to next meeting do you want to speak to one of the committee members and we will add you to our lists. Or if your email is back up and working please email us as boroughbelleswi@gmail.com Thanks Lara x

  8. Pingback: BBWI: local country shows this weekend « Borough Belles WI

  9. Hi there!
    I live in Bermondsey and would love to join the Borough Belles!
    Are you taking new members at the moment?
    Many thanks,
    Marjha

  10. Hi,
    I am a member of The Society Of Mudlarks and have a special licence to search The Thames Foreshore. I do not use a metal detector as i search only by eye. I have a vast collection of finds and a slide show. I have recently given a talk/display at Crayford WI who seemed to enjoy my enthusiasm for this hobby . Where do you meet? Have you an address? Would you be interested in booking me.
    Sara-Jane Ladbrook-Hutt

  11. My Hubbi (PIANIST) would be pleased to play piano for any special function – a la Richard Clayderman etc…….

  12. Hi! I’m chuffed to find a WI in SE1 and would love to come to the next meeting. Would you be able to send me the details please?
    Thanks! Lucy

  13. Hi,
    I’d like to come along to the next meeting if that’s possible, do I need to do anything beforehand or just turn up?

    Thanks,

    Sam

  14. Hi there,

    I was delighted to see that there is now a WI in SE1, I’d love to come along to your next meeting in February, please add me to the mailing list,

    Thanks very much,
    Rosamund

  15. Hello ladies! I have contacted Kirsty via the LondonSe1.co.uk website, to offer to come to one of your meetings. I am the local Tupperware consultant, and I have been along to meetings of other London WI groups to speak about being a rare Tupperware Man, and about how Tupperware has empowered women to run their own businesses for the last 50 years, as well as providing retro-chic storage for our bijou London kitchens. Good luck with the group, and hope to hear from you soon.

  16. Noswaith dda,Kirsty !
    I guess that you’ll all be absorbing the Cymreig atmosphere in your new surroundings-you’re sure to be happy in the Chapel.
    Will your next meeting be January 20th ? I’d be very interested to join your meeting,if that’s so.
    Many thanks,diolch,
    Barbara.
    ps.I’ve almost exhausted myknowledge of Welsh vocabulary here !

  17. Dear Borough Belles,

    What a marvellous idea to form a WI, I’d love to come along to the meeting on 30th Nov, please add me to your mailing list.

    Thanks & best regards

    Marina

    • Hi Annegret,
      Of course! Everyone is welcome. I’ll add you to our mailing list so you can get details of our next meeting.
      We look forward to meeting you.
      All the best,
      Kirsty

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