The May meeting of Bognor Regis WI started in a swirl of colour with President Dinah Barrand sporting her new striped dungarees made from recycled fabric and supplied by a fair trade African company. This set the tone of the meeting which focussed on the Resolutions put forward by the National Federation of Womens’ Institutes but with an overarching theme of how all members could make a difference to our world by making small (or bigger) changes to their lifestyles.



Mandy receiving contributions for the Food Bank


First, however, Dinah introduced Mandy, the Deputy Co-ordinator of the Bognor Food Bank. She described how most food banks (Bognor included) come under the aegis of the Trussell Trust, a charity which aims to end hunger and poverty in the UK and to campaign for change to end the need for food banks. Mandy talked about the circumstances which led to people needing short term help including delays/changes in benefit payments, redundancy, pregnancy and domestic violence.  Bognor Food Bank relies on donations of non-perishable food from members of the public and clients need a voucher from a referring agency such as CAB, Radio Respect, My Sisters House etc. This system allows the referring agency to work with the person, providing ongoing support to hopefully improve their circumstance


As well as providing food, however, Bognor Food Bank provides care and compassion and ensures that all clients are valued, listened to and cared about. The Food Bank has also provided courses on budget cookery and tries to give extra help in the summer holidays – when school meals are not available – and special Christmas bags. Sadly, the need is growing with 3,000 people being fed last year – an increase of 33%.

After a very warm vote of thanks both for Mandy’s talk and for the excellent work they are doing, the meeting moved on to a quiz and vote on the potential resolutions. These were the provision of additional council funding for public bus services and encouraging more women (including young women) to have regular smear tests. It was agreed by a clear majority that both resolutions were worthy of support and the delegate to the national AGM in June will vote in accordance with the wishes of BRWI.

During the extended refreshment break with Prosecco and cake (including the delicious vegan cupcakes – to view the recipe – click Vegan Ginger Cupcakes) members had the opportunity to explore the displays on green living set up by the Committee.  These included a clear demonstration of what items can be put in the recycling bin and what can be recycled elsewhere, green replacements/substitutions for household products including homemade beeswax food covering and pan scrubbers, making the move to a plant based diet and the resources available to do so, reducing or eliminating the need for single use plastics, recycling and upcycling materials to make bags (and the examples included some unlikely raw materials!) and making rich and friable compost from garden and kitchen waste. To see all the ideas click here  Lots of questions were asked and many pledges made to try something new; it was inspiring to see how the members really wanted to make a difference to the lives of the local community and the wider world.

Later in the month, twenty members will be making a visit to Tuppenny Barn a sustainable living education centre in Southbourne, and three members will be joining lots of other WIs – and many other groups concerned about climate change – when they go on the Time is Now mass lobby of Parliament. This summer the Government will decide whether to end the UK’s contribution to climate change by committing to a net zero emissions target. They will also have the chance to end nature’s decline by committing to a strong Environment Bill. The Time is Now on June 26th is hoped to be the largest mass lobby for climate and the environment that the UK has ever seen.  The WI is very proud to be part of it!!

Click to display the Record of May 19 meeting

Words: Gina

Photos: Katie and Kate

Cakes of the Highest Standard

The South of England Show at Ardingly is a significant annual event for WIs, in both East and West Sussex.   Not only does it host the WI annual craft and baking competition – the WI refreshment tent is renowned.
Cakes, made to special recipes by WI members, are brought together at Ardingly by a team of WI members for the event.
IMG_7416I witnessed one of the cake collection points, at Bognor Regis Sainsburys, where Felpham Evening WI, decorated with pink balloons, waited for cakes to take on to Ardingly.   Members, and their friends, including our WI, delivered cakes with enthusiasm and commitment as if they were for the competition itself.   The public should enjoy cakes made of the highest standard.   Thank you Bognor Regis WI members who helped keep up the standard – well done.
Jan Marsden

Big Bite September 2014

IMG_1969Our stall at the Big Bite Food Festival this year was nigh on perfect – super weather, lots of visitors, catchy music, very tasty chutneys, jams  and cakes and quite a few ladies showing interest in our WI. It was so nice to be part of a popular Bognor Regis event.   Click here for a few more photos of the day.

Many thanks again to all our cooks and helpers.

Kate Claisse

Big Bite tomorrow!

The Big Bite Food Festival is on in Hotham Park this weekend.

Tomorrow we will have a stall there displaying samples of chutneys, jams and cakes, all of which are a great way of using up a glut food, or left-over food.  We will also have free recipes for anyone who, after tasting, would like to try making some at home.  A great way of demonstrating an important part of the WI ethos – home cooking!

Hope you’ll be able to drop in and see us, but if not …….The recipes for all our produce last year are already on the website and I have just added recipes for those items that are new this year …. (click to see the recipe)

Ratatouille Chutney

Plum and Chili Chutney

Courgette and Tomato Chutney

Runner Bean Chutney

Lavender Shortbread

Damson Jam

Victoria Plum Jam

Hedgerow Jam

High Dumpsy Dearie Jam!

Plum and Mulled Wine Jam

Quite a selection!  Many thanks to June, Lynn, Helen, Lesley H, Laura-jane, and Alex for their contributions.  Also many thanks to all our helpers tomorrow – Lesley H,  Sue, Rosemary  W, Heather, Marian, Laura-jane, Pamela,  Rosemary C, and Jan – see you all then, should be fun, especially as the weather forecast is good!





Visit to St Mary’s Bognor Regis

Last week Maggie Pearce and I visited St Mary’s Primary for one of our bread baking sessions.  As usual we and they had a great time.  If you missed the writ-up in the Bognor Regis Observer – click …. st-marys.

This coming week (24th) Lesley Hiley and I are off to the Laburnum Grove Junior School .  There are just two of us – another helper would make things so much easier, so if anyone is free 13.00 – 15.30 on Wednesday we’d be delighted to see you – just let me know.

Don’t forget the Big Bite Food Festival is on next weekend (27-28 September) and we will be there on the Sunday with lots of chutneys/jams/cakes to sample along with the recipes.  Do come and see us and, again, if you’d like to help and haven’t yet put your name on the list, please let me know.

Kate Claisse


Baking at Laburnham Grove Junior School

IMG_1887On 21st July Jan, Lesley and I spent a very enjoyable morning at Laburnham Grove Junior School helping a Grade 3 class to make bread rolls. We brought in risen dough, with all the ingredients used to make it. We talked to them about how it was made and then they all took a handful of dough, kneaded it and then shaped it into hedgehogs, snakes, snails, butterflies, and even snowmen. While the rolls were proving the children did a word game involving the words they had been using …. Prove, yeast, knead, dough etc.

IMG_5562This visit was a repeat of similar school visits we made last year prior to the Big Bite artisan food festival at Hotham Park in the autumn, which will be on again this year in September (27th and 28th).   The idea is to promote home cooking and the use of local food (we used Weald and Downland wholemeal flour). We brought in vegetables from our gardens and allotments and talked to the children about the more unusual veg … a large yellow patty pan squash and large round courgette, yellow zucchini, fennel (which the children smelled) and sugar snap peas (which they tasted).

IMG_5563The children certainly seemed to enjoy themselves and we did too … I’m looking forward to a second visit on September 24th – and we will need volunteers … especially as these children will be a year younger.


Bognor Regis Observer were at the school taking photos and interviewing us and the staff, so if you haven’t seen their news item – click here …..School visit

Kate Claisse