Calling All Craftaholics! 26th September 2009

The Shoreditch Sisters will be holding at stall at the Craftaholics event on Saturday 26th September from 12pm – 5pm at The Old Queens Head, Islington N1

We will be selling traditional WI produce such as jams, chutneys and a variety of cakes as well as an assortment of other handmade items in order to raise funds for the group and ensure we have a fantastic programme of events for next year.
So please do get in touch if you can help out in anyway way, with either coming down to help sell on the day or even better contributing, to the baked goods by bringing down some homemade goodies…… please contact Jazz at

Invite to the Premiere Screening of The C-Word – 24th September 2009

 The Shoreditch Sisters have been invited to the launch
of craftscotland’s new campaign The C Word, to see the world premiere screening
of the new cinema campaign and help celebrate the launch of a major initiative
designed to raise the profile of contemporary craft and the designer makers
within the sector.
  Once deemed the
little sister of visual art and design, the C Word is about to come of age.

 Cocktails provided by Caorunn a unique Scottish hand
crafted, small batch distilled Scottish Gin

 When and Where?

7pm Thursday 24 September 2009 at the Curzon Soho
Cinema, 99 Shaftesbury Avenue London, W1D 5DY

Tube: Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus. Buses:
14,19, 38. Overground: Charing


 If you are interested in
attending please contact Jazz at

Care Not Custody – A visit to Wandsworth Prison

Having been invited on the WIs visit to Wandsworth Prison in July as part of the Care Not Custody campaign, I’d have been lying if I hadn’t admitted to feeling even the slightest pang of trepidation on first hearing that Wandsworth was in fact a men’s prison. Described as one of the largest in Western Europe, it is also one of the oldest, built in 1851 and with a holding capacity close to 2000. Infamous past prisoners have included some of the country’s most notorious criminals with the likes of Ronnie Kray, Charles Bronsen and even the great train robber himself, Ronnie Biggs all spending time there at her majesty’s pleasure, with Biggs even managing to successfully escape in 1965.

So you can only imagine the thoughts that were running through my head as I went to join the small group of fellow WI members, including the NFWI’s newly appointed chairwoman, the lovely Ruth Bond (pictured) outside on the front steps. The exterior of the prison itself was nothing short of Dickensian, however after passing through all the usual security checks and as we crossed the threshold behind the bars so to speak, we entered upon an entirely different world. Walking past inmates tending neatly manicured flowerbeds, it was surprisingly pleasant as we were ushered up into the wardens officers to be given a personal address by the new female acting governor. 

The campaign resolution for Care Not Custody that was passed in June last year, aims to call an end to the inappropriate detention of people with mental health problems within the prison system. As part of this ongoing campaign Marianne Sladowsky, the WIs head of public affairs has been taking small groups of WI members on prison visits across the country to see first hand how the system works and what services are available.

The statistics show that two-thirds of all prison inmates suffer from two or more mental health problems, and although the wide spectrum of illnesses range from the more mild cases such as depression and anxiety, it also includes the more severe psychotic disorders such as psychosis and schizophrenia. These disorders if not properly treated often lead to incidents of self harm, and in some cases even suicide. My own family has unfortunately experienced this situation first hand, as my uncle a diagnosed schizophrenic, was temporarily detained at Brixton prison in the absence of finding a space in a secure mental health unit which tragically resulted in him committing suicide at the age of 23. This, it seems is not an uncommon set of circumstances as a recent report confirms that offenders with mental health issues are continuing to be failed by the criminal justice system. One of the campaigns key aims is in making sure that the criminal justice sector works closely alongside the health sector, in diverting people toward the most appropriate care and not just the most convenient. 

The acting governor spoke to us about Wandsworths chequered history, and particularly of their aim to change the image of the prison within the local community. Known previously for its history of high suicide rates, this was clearly an image they were keen to shake, as the introduction of new training schemes and programs that had an emphasis on rehabilitation has seen the prison flourish within the last year. As we took the tour around the facilities meeting prisoners and wardens along the way, it was obvious the changes being made were extremely positive. Teaching trades such as bricklaying, plastering and motorbike maintenance seemed to enhance the inmates sense of self-esteem, as well as offering them a sense of future. There was also even a sewing group, who were employed in fine cell work – a needlework in prisons program that were even contributing to a quilt project for the V and A next year.

Finally we briefly met with the psychiatric team whose responsibility it was to evaluate the inmates on entrance before assigning them to the appropriate wings. Although clearly dedicated, this small team rather hesitantly admitted to the lack of resources as well as space and funding in order to successfully care for all those indeed. With just 12 beds available for the most severe cases, this often left many of those still suffering at high risk. The rehabilitation programs at Wandsworth are undeniably applaudable, however without funding or appropriate diversion schemes in place, these prisons will continue to struggle to cope with all the vulnerable and at-risk prisoners in crisis that inhabit them.

– Jazz

We are planning on organising a visit to Holloway prison through the Prison Reforms Trust, so if you are interested in attending please e-mail for more information.

August 2009 Sizzling Summer Picnic


If you were down in Victoria Park last Sunday, you may have sighted a large number of lost looking ladies wandering about, sporting their finest Sunday (picnic) Best. All were searching for the mythical Glade – the lovely, leafy setting for the 2009 Shoreditch Sisters Summer Picnic.


It was a dazzlingly sunny day; the rays beating down from the blue sky onto the green grass. After the Glade had been located, the bunting strewn wonkily onto the bushes, Punky the dog placated with a makeshift ball made from an apple and the enormous, giant battery fed ghetto blaster had started to swell the air with music, the Sisters, friends, boyfriends and assorted tiny dogs settled down to enjoy the delicious food and drink on offer.


As more and more people arrived, the delicious picnic spread grew more and more impressive. Jazz’s pea and mint dip and bruschetta; lentil “pork pies”; crunchy home-baked peanut butter cookies; juicy fruit kebabs; gently melting chocolate cake and very much more besides was proudly laid out on colourful checked blankets (all, I’m sad to say, putting to shame my solitary, slightly squished box of animal biscuits) It was a tasty display of the culinary skills of the members.

Long after the piles of fairy cakes had subsided, the drink and chatter continued to flow into the warm evening…

By Anna x


Upcoming Meeting on Tuesday 24th Feb 2009





DATE:  Tuesday 24th February 2009




LOCATION:  Upstairs at The George Tavern, 373 Commercial Rd, E1 OLA.  

Nearest Tubes 

SHADWELL (one stop from bank DLR) 

WHITECHAPEL (Circle/District/Hammersmith & City)


15/N15 24hrs, Paddington, Traf Sq, Cannon St, Plaistow, Romford
135, Old St, Liverpool St, Aldgate, Limehouse, Canary Wharf
115 East Ham, Canning Town, Limehouse, Aldgate 


AGENDA:  Stop Violence Against Women.

Stop violence against women is a national WI campaign that began in 2008. Statistics show that Three million women across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, forced marriage, sexual exploitation or other forms of violence each year. The impact ranges from physical injury, including death in extreme cases, to long term mental health problems, social exclusion and substance misuse. The campaign aims to raise public awareness on these issues as well as petition and lobby local MPs into positive and responsible action.

The Shoreditch Sisters will be getting involved with a local women’s center in Bethnal Green called the U-Turn Project. The center aims to help, support and advise vulnerable and exploited groups of women by providing them with the opportunity and  resources in order to self determine their own futures within their communities.

Rio Vella, the project director will be coming down to give us a talk about the project and how it affects these women’s daily lives, as well as ways in which the Shoreditch Sisters can help.

Ideas such as, fundraising, volunteering,  collection programmes and developing new skills through activity workshops will be discussed.

Please check the website below for more information:

* We will also be collecting clothes to be donated to the center, so please bring along anything you have going spare from a size 6 to a size 12. Anything and everything will be much appreciated!


Hope to see you all there.

All the best,

Jazz Domino Holly

President SSWI


The Shoreditch Sisters will be organising a group to join the Million Women Rise march through central London on 7 March 2009 to mark international Women’s Day. So don’t forget to come and speak to me at the end of the meeting to sign up and show your support!

The all-women march begins at 12pm at Portland Square (nearest Tubes Baker Street, Marble Arch and Bond Street) before proceeding down Oxford Street, Regents Street, and Piccadilly. There will then be a rally and celebration – complete with WI speaker and information stall – at Waterloo Place from 2.30pm to 5pm.



JOINING FEE….. Please bring the sum of £29 cash or cheque, which is the cost of an annual subscription to join the WI.

 OR if you’re not ready to join just yet, please come down anyway, as non members are allowed to visit up to two meetings in exchange for leaving a donation of £4 each time before they make up their minds.

*Please note the change of price for the visiting fee which is due to the new venues heating costs as well as the rise of the 2009 annual subscription fee.