Culture in Quarantine

You can now watch six of our plays on BBC iPlayer.

As part of the BBC’s plans to keep bringing arts to audiences during the Coronavirus pandemic, you will be able to watch six of our shows from the comfort of your own home over the next few weeks.

All six are now on iPlayer and will be broadcast on BBC 4 – dates to be announced:

The productions in Stratford on the apron stage are second to none, so I do highly recommend them.  Forget about the Shakespeare you were condemned to studying at school – these productions are another thing altogether.

The ones I will be watching are Hamlet, Much Ado about Nothing, and Othello, all of which have won 4 and 5* reviews.  Romeo and Juliet is 3* but was ‘very popular with the audience’ so I may watch that too.

If you feel you are not a ‘Shakespeare lover’, I suggest you try Much Ado About Nothing which is really funny and enjoyable.

Kate Claisse

Walking Netball


Bognor Regis WI netball team continues to thrive, playing every Wednesday 6-7pm at the Arena sports hall. We’re really lucky to have the lovely Ann coaching, and attempting to teach us skills, tactics and rules.


Sarah has embroidered team polo shirts for us all.

You’re welcome to pop along anytime – Annie Smith is our organiser.

Dinah Barrand

County Craft Award 2019

Back in the spring, the West Sussex Federation Art & Craft Sub-Committee announced this year’s County Craft Competition. As 2019 is West Sussex Federation’s Centenary Year – the competition had a centenary theme.

Picture 1

Members were asked to use the county flower of Sussex the ‘Round-headed Rampion’ – a flower also known as the ‘Pride of Sussex’, as shown on the Federation’s centenary badge, as inspiration….. and produce an item of craft in any medium.

Three members of Bognor Regis WI took up the challenge and produced three completely different and beautiful entries.

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All the items submitted by West Sussex members were pre-judged at North Lodge by an independent judge from outside our Federation. All the items were displayed at the WSFWI Annual Meeting in October and the results of the competition were announced.

Our members did exceptionally well…

Barbara F was awarded 1st Place with her 3d Textile Rampion, and she was presented with the Silver Plate at the Annual meeting, which she will have on loan for the year.

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June S was awarded ‘Highly Commended’ for her curved glass picture

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Jan A was awarded ‘Commended’ for her framed stitched picture of the Downs

Congratulations to all of them, your fellow Bognor Regis WI members are very proud of you!

Words and pictures: Lesley Guppy




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

Ending Plastic Soup

On October 31st, Kate and Gina set off to the WI End Plastic Soup Conference at the Abbey Centre in Westminster. The speakers – Bruce Newport from The Environment Agency,  Stephanie Wright from Kings College London,  Arturo Castillo of Imperial College London, Rachael Miller of The Rozailia Project and  Natalie Welden from Glasgow University –  were erudite and passionate about their subject and the information provided frighteningly demonstrated the importance of this WI campaign.

So, what is the issue?

Picture1Microplastic fibres are small plastic fragments (5mm or smaller) that are shed from synthetic clothes when laundered and end up in the sea and wider environment. The scale of the problem is large: millions of people wash their clothes every week, shedding these tiny particles that are too small to be caught  by the machine’s filters, flowing into the sewage system and eventually into the ocean.

Due to their small size microplastic fibres are readily ingested by aquatic life, filling up their stomachs which can eventually cause death. We also know these fibres can end up in the food we eat – the long term effects of which are not yet clear.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has predicted that by 2050 there could be more plastic in the sea than fish. Urgent action is needed to raise awareness of the issue: the campaign is about educating communities and raising awareness amongst members and the wider public to put the issue on the public agenda and encourage greater action.

In light of the facts that were presented to the conference, it was hard not to feel pessimistic but Rachael Miller of The Rozailia Project was more upbeat with suggestions on how as a group and as individuals, we could make a difference.

Actions that could be taken included: washing at a lower temperature, ensuring that clothes were only washed when necessary rather than when half dirty, reducing the length of the wash cycle and ensuring that washing loads run at capacity. It was also suggested that members might wish to invest in a fibre catching device such as the Cora Ball for use in washing machines.

Cora Balls

The Cora Ball does not solve the problem completely but claims to remove about 30% of microfibres released in the washing cycle.

After the academic speakers, three members of Selby Swans WI (together with mannequin Adelaide dressed completely in clothes made from unrecyclable plastic) gave an inspiring talk. As a fairly new WI they had really grasped the nettle with this campaign and shared with the conference the many ways they had worked to spread the message to their local community and the encouragement given to members to pledge to make a difference.

It was a hard act to follow but the representative from Isle of Wight Federation spoke about this campaign and the way in which they had linked it with the move to reduce the single use plastic. The Federation is working hard with other IOW stakeholders to really make a difference.

The floor was then opened up and members had a number of excellent ideas and suggestions about how the WI could be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Gina and Kate came away feeling that the issue was a really pressing one and that efforts needed to be exerted on government and businesses to take steps to reduce the sea of plastic which is threatening to compromise our health and environment.  There is however much that we can do as members to make a real difference.

  1. Learn more and raise awareness– watch ‘A Plastic Tide’, Sky’s documentary looking at the scale of ocean plastic waste and how it is entering the food chain.
  2. Use the NFWI’s postcard and write to your favourite clothing retailer asking them what they are doing to tackle the issue of microplastic fibres (available in the NFWI report – In A Spin – on pages 20 and 21 and also available to download on My WI).
  3. Use the NFWI’s template MP/AM letter to highlight the report findings and ask for commitment from Government (available to download on My WI).
  4. Think about ways in which you can cut back on single use plastic. One delegate recommended the book ‘No. More. Plastic.: What you can do to make a difference’ by Martin Dorey.  The book is available in West Sussex Libraries.
  5. Consider the laundry suggestions outlined above on how to minimise microplastic pollution
  6. With Christmas rapidly approaching, think about where presents and wrapping paper may end up. Each Christmas alone the UK generates the weight of 3.3 million Emperor Penguins in plastic waste. And 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is used each Christmas in the UK alone – enough to go around the globe 9 times! Metallic wrapping paper and paper with glitter on is NOT recyclable and glitter is actually a microplastic so best avoided in all it’s forms.  Maybe think about a different way of wrapping (non-plastic) gifts:-
  7. Pick up plastic from the beach – we’re in a perfect place to do that.
  8. Consider buying second hand clothes occasionally.

Words:  Gina Fitch-Roy

Photos:  Kate Claisse