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This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating a few of the amazing women and female-led organisations making positive change happen here in Penzance, Cornwall.

Fresh produce like carrots and potatoes in boxes

Whole Again Communities (WAC):
Community led = community fed. Whole Again Communities (WAC) supports people to cook affordable and healthy meals at home from scratch, as well as using cooking to improve people’s wellbeing and sense of belonging.

One of its projects is a weekly repair cafe which not only brings the community together around food, it also helps volunteers improve their practical and personal skills – which can eventually help them find work.

“We work with people to cook to improve their health, wellbeing and confidence,” Lizzie Sullivan CEO says. “Volunteers are involved at every stage – choosing recipes, cooking, taking online orders and managing the collection system.”

Mousehole community garden shows children getting involved with gardening

Solomon Browne Memorial Hall:
Solomon Browne Memorial Hall is a central point for the community to come together to take part in events, classes and workshops in the historic fishing village of Mousehole.

One of the Memorial Hall’s exciting projects is creating a new community garden, in partnership with Mousehole School.

Tamsin Harvey from the Hall said: “We have plans to create a forest school playgroup here, run workshops and outdoor learning sessions, and to enable members of the community to use the garden improving health and wellbeing. The school are also using this garden to enhance the children’s learning and life skills.”

Community garden shown with plants growing

Growing Links:
This brilliant forward-thinking organisation uses locally-grown food to make healthy, eco-friendly food available to all, while reducing food waste. It keeps hundreds of homeless and vulnerable people and low-income families fed each day through initiatives like Food Store and the Street Food Project.

Growing Links’ director Lynne Coakley Dyer told Cornwall Live about how the volunteer-led Street Food Project kept vulnerable people fed during the pandemic, when Cornwall saw a surge in food poverty.

The organisation also runs a community garden and allotment, training and workshops, and a veg bag scheme (selling local, organic and seasonal food).

Councillors Jan Power (l)
and Thalia Marrington (r).

Female local councillors:
Sustainable Penzance works with decision makers and stakeholders to get people and planet top of the agenda. We need decision makers like local politicians to stand up and enable a new way forward. In Penzance, female councillors are helping to create this greener future for Penzance. 

Councillor Thalia Marrington (Liberal Democrats) represents Mousehole, Newlyn and St Buryan. She’s working to help enable sustainable transport solutions in the area. Thalia is in Parliament today for International Women’s Day as part of 50:50 Parliament, a movement empowering women to stand for election, those new voices to be heard and a new way forward.

Last month, the Green Party’s Jan Power was elected as Councillor for Penzance East Ward. We look forward to working with Jan and other councillors to create a more sustainable Penzance.

Woman leans against a rock with a field behind her

The Hypatia Trust:
Taking its name from Hypatia, an ancient Alexandria scholar – the world’s leading mathematician and astronomer of her time, The Hypatia Trust is a Penzance-based charity ensuring women’s achievements are not overlooked. It researches, publishes and exhibits women’s accomplishments, ensuring they are not lost in, or even suppressed by, written history. The image shows the Trust’s Woman of the Month, astronomer, writer and researcher Carolyn Kennett. She told the Hypatia Trust about her passion for Cornwall’s nature and fascination with the night sky.

The Gardeners House is one of the Hypatia Trust’s projects looking to preserve the botanical history of the town and reconnect people to nature. 

Artist impression of the renovated community hub: stylish building with lots of windows

The Gardeners’ House:
In the heart of Penzance lies Morrab Gardens. Hiding in these beautiful public gardens is a derelict stable building. Recognising this building’s potential, the Gardener’s House charity was formed to renovate this building and transform it into a green hub for the community and all those working towards a more sustainable future for Penzance. At its centre will be an internationally important botanical archive from the Hypatia Trust and Morrab Library. 

Miki Ashton, from the project, says: “It would be really good to have that one place in town that is a hub for people to meet, connect and learn from each other.” We can’t wait for this new community hub.

Woman holding packaging at a pack swap event

Plastic Free Penzance volunteers:
Last but no means least, we wanted to give a shout out to the amazing female volunteers who give their time to our projects reducing plastic pollution in Penzance, helping us create the UK’s first plastic-free town.

Plastic Free Penzance (which hosts events like workshops and beach cleans) and its projects like Packswap Penzance and Refill Penzance could not happen without brilliant people like you supporting them. Feeling inspired? Volunteer and get involved.

Danielle (Dani) Boobyer.