Leonard Stanley WI with Julie Wickham of the Stroud Valleys Project

THE May meeting was rather a busy one, as we not only dealt with current business but also the resolution to be debated at the Annual Meeting of the NFWI, and were able to enjoy a visit from Julie Wickham of the Stroud Valleys Project.

It is fair to say that most of us were not familiar with the work of the project, but we were amazed at the scope of its activities.

Using volunteers, some of whom are retired, some are unemployed and looking for a gateway back to the world of work and some have mental health issues, the project has undertaken many tasks which have been beneficial to the environment and have given a great deal of pleasure to those who use them.

The shop in Stroud sells locally made products and helps to finance the work.

The project also works with local schools and runs a programme of events.

Not only does the local wildlife and environment benefit from all this, but the volunteers too enjoy the company and sense of achievement, and in many cases find that their general well-being is enhanced.

The resolution to be discussed concerned the provision (or in too many cases the lack of it) for coping with mental health issues.

We all agreed on the need for openness in discussing mental health problems and the need to remove any stigma, and we welcomed the government’s programme to provide thousands more mental health workers.

Since our last meeting some members have been on a most enjoyable outing to a cheese making farm in Herefordshire followed by a tour of the black and white villages.

A big effort at the Plant Sale meant that we raised £222 for the Air Ambulance by running well-stocked stalls and a raffle.

Members have also kept their knitting needles clicking producing lots of poppies for the display in November.

We next meet on Monday, June 11, when we have a welcome return visit of Angela Panrucker who will talk about the History of Sudeley Castle, and later share our ideas for favourite puddings for summer days.

Meetings start at 2.15pm in the village hall.