Thursday, 28 May 2015

Ready? Ok! SHWI does Cheerleading

I am sad to say that I haven't made it to many SHWI meetings this year and I was especially gutted to miss Sam Cleasby last month. Yet, I'll also admit that I wasn't totally psyched about cheerleading; it's hard when you're as badly coordinated as I am! But, as usual, I had a brilliant time. And I'm pretty sure everyone else did too.

We started the meeting with the usual updates from Laura.  That really doesn't do the "Bainbridge News n Views show" justice at all as she manages to make the announcements intriguing and enticing and hilarious all at once. We are really lucky to have such an entertaining secretary! Before we began working up a sweat (and I really did, sorry!), we sang Happy Birthday and Jerusalem for Winnie - a lady in Sheffield with few family or friends who is about to turn 100! Happy Birthday Winnie!!

But alas, the time had come for me to flail my gangly arms and legs about out of sync and in the opposite direction to everyone else. It wasn't so bad at first as we did a nice little warm up; a bit of marching on the spot and some arm and neck stretches but then we had to clench and unclench our fingers quickly with arms outstretched - that's a lot more tiring than it sounds! So far so good though - I hadn't whacked anyone else or fallen over and everyone else was ready to start learning our cheer routine, and shaking pom poms.

The routine was set to the classic 90s rave song The Key: The Secret - great choice! We started with some basic footwork - got that. Then we did some arms - got those (forgot the name of the move though). Then we did them together - aaaaand that's when it all went wrong for me! Ha ha ha. But, everyone was having a great time and I didn't care! I was glad when it was our turn to move to the back so that other people could get a good view of the moves though.

We soon added some windmills followed by steps forward with arms and jumps backwards and then some sidesteps with turns and pretend pom pom shaking. It was all broken down into manageable chunks (phew!!) and then we got to practice in small groups with the pom poms!!!!!!!!! We were a little bit excited!

But, it didn't end there. We added some more moves - getting into a line and doing a coordinated arms up and down hands shaky thing and then stepping out on alternate sides before another spin and a snazzy finale of pom pom shaking. Once again, it was time for the pom poms but this time we had to shout "Ready! OK!" before we kicked off. We had to do our routines in three groups but that was great as it meant we all got to watch and cheer each other on (and I got to watch it again to try and remember everything!). I had to concentrate quite hard when it was my turn but I was very lucky to be stood behind the wonderfully coordinated Alice so I followed her lead. Obviously, we all nailed our routines!!!!

We had such fun cheering with Jessica!

By the end of all those moves I had definitely worked up a nice sweat and was very glad for the lovely warm down and a big glass of water.

Goooooooo SHWI!!

Leanne Sunter
Assistant Treasurer

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

We raised £1024 at Sheffield Food Festival 2015

Anna, Jen, Kirsty, Grace and Chelle help on the stall

We're very happy to say that our stall at this year's Sheffield Food Festival raised an amazing £1024 for our charity of the year. Our members worked really hard to bake some delicious treats and volunteer on the stall all weekend. Committee member Sam made two beautiful rainbow pinata cakes for us to raffle on both days. Thank you to everyone who helped, bought a cake or raffle ticket from us!

All the money we raised will go to SAYiT Sheffield. They provide support for young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) or who are affected by HIV.

One of Sam's incredible pinata cakes

Friday, 22 May 2015

Sheffield Food Festival this weekend

Last year's volunteers on our stall

It's Sheffield Food Festival this weekend (Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th May) and once again, Seven Hills WI will be peddling our wares! We have a stall in the Peace Gardens (close to Browns Restaurant) selling homemade cakes and baked goods from 10am - 5pm on Saturday and 11am - 5pm Sunday. All the money raised goes to our charity of the year, SAYit.

The Sheena Amos Youth Trust (SAYiT) is an independent charity which has been running in Sheffield since 1999. A sexual health charity, they work with young people up to the age of 25, particularly those who are most vulnerable or marginalised including LGBT people or those affected by HIV.

Please come down and help support our charity of the year!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

SHWI is So Bad Ass - Talk by Sam Cleasby

On 16th April, once again a huge group of wonderful women came together at Electric Works. There was of course a selection of delicious homemade cakes from members and a welcoming atmosphere which always makes me feel like we are all women with the same needs and ideas.

Our guests speaker was Sam Cleasby, and although I had heard a lot about her (particularly in the preceding weeks) I wasn't sure what I would get out of her talk. I knew she would be talking about her struggle with Irritable Bowel Disorder and Ulcerative Colitis, and definitely about her experiences of other people's responses to her. Following her open letter to a lady who tutted at her for using a disabled toilet, I was interested to hear how she dealt with such attitudes on a day to day basis.

However, I was mistaken if I thought this would simply be a revealing talk about one woman's struggles. The evening helped me (and I'm sure many others) to look at myself in a different way, and unburied feelings I had kept locked up for several years previously. (Whoa deep!)

After an update from the ever hilarious and entertaining duo of President and Secretary; Kirsty and Laura, and a break to refuel with some delicious homemade treats, Sam introduced herself to the waiting audience of ladies. She seemed to be so flattered and excited to speak to the group, but from my view, we were excited to hear her strong voice which had so recently received national exposure.
Sam began by explaining her illnesses to us, and I found it fascinating and heart breaking to hear what she had been through. Regardless of this, she came across as a strong and confident individual, who could even makes light of her experiences - already she came across as a true female role model. Her ability to explain her condition and what this meant, provided the group with a true insight into what this sort of condition could mean for people all over the world. It also made me realise that even when somebody may not 'look' ill, or as if they are struggling physically, appearance can certainly be deceptive. It made me want to be much more caring of others around me.

However, it was Sam's focus on the general state of women's self image that I found most thought provoking. Her ability to encourage a positive approach to body image was astounding, and her belief in her own body following her struggles was wonderful. As she questioned the social expectations of women and their bodies, I looked around me and realised that all I saw was a room full of awesome women. I had no feelings that some of us were better than others as a result of the way we all looked. I just loved being in a room full of people who were all listening and relating to what Sam was preaching (and she was preaching! Preaching the positives of being a woman, and actually how brilliant our bodies are for getting us through every day!).

Sam's talk and overall attitude to the way we should see our bodies (and not listen to the media/society) has inspired me to go and fight the cause on my own grounds. I have been in touch with Sam as I am now going to put together some lessons to teach our Y6s at my school to love their bodies, before they themselves head into the battle grounds of adulthood and societal pressure.
We all need to remember how much our bodies do for us, and actually, why can't we start thanking them, instead of punishing them?

To read more about Sam's amazing story, visit her website