We are Borough Belles Women’s Institute.
Founded in September 2009, we have 60+ members 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
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.
SECRETARY: Alison Pearce
I’ve taken on the role of Secretary in May 2018 after coordinating the Belles of Fire and being a general Committee member too. I think it’s fantastic that it’s possible to get involved as much as you like in the Borough Belles and enjoy helping to make it all happen alongside the rest of the Committee. I’ll be there with the Treasurer at the front desk at every meeting making sure everything is present and correct and managing our member data. I also minute the Committee meetings and share news and info from our Federation and the NFWI where needed.
I joined the Belles in 2015 after coming along to a couple of 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.
TREASURER AND WANDERING BELLES OFFICER: Christel Hernalesteen
As Treasurer I look after the finances for our W.I. club: handling membership fees, paying expenses and helping to manage our budget.
I also organise a few walks a year for our Wandering Belles club, alternating between day long countryside walks and short city walks along London’s Green Chain or Thames Walks.
BELLES OF FIRE OFFICER: Amelia Parsons
I have been a keen Borough Belle of Fire for three years. We meet for chatty weekend morning runs in South East London’s lovely dog-packed parks including Dulwich, Peckham Rye and Crystal Palace and sunny evenings along the Thames. Belles of all running abilities are welcome to join our jogs! I am taking over organising the group in 2018 and we are going to branch out to other exciting forms of exercise including hula hooping, yoga and trampolining.
FILM CLUB OFFICER: Becky Marlow
COMMITTEE MEMBER: Emily Mcgeevor
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!
SOCIAL MEDIA OFFICER – Johanna Wilson
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. I also run the Instagram account and update our blog to show what we’ve been up to. 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.
COMMITTEE MEMBER: Lara Clements
COMMITTEE MEMBER: Ruth Van Steenis
CRAFT OFFICER: Sarah Miloudi
As Craft Officer, it’s my role to organise great craft events.
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!
COCKTAILS AND PAGES OFFICER: Sophie Backhouse
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!