Wonderful Women Interview #17 – Annie Berry

Bristol Women’s Voice Wonderful Women Awards were presented as part of our International Women’s Day celebrations on the 3rd of March. We celebrated over 50 women from across Bristol  who had been nominated for their contribution to their communities.

Annie Berry

Annie Berry was nominated for a Wonderful Women Award for founding the South Bristol Toy library. Annie established the library as a resource to help families save money, for children to have great play and development opportunities and to promote sharing and reusing.

What advice would you give your younger self? 

I would say “don’t rush, there is plenty of time to try everything out”          

 Which women have inspired you?

Difficult, there are so many. The first who come to mind are some of my close friends who are all ‘ordinary’ women, but I would say are extraordinary and special people who have been through life’s challenges and still manage to be lovely and supportive of other people. They also have some challenging jobs in which they help or inspire others which I admire. The other would be my Granny who lived to ninety-nine and a half and was still active and driving into her nineties. I admire her strength since having discovered a bit of her life story during and after WWII.

What do you want to see change for women in Bristol? 

I would like for women not to be so judgmental of one another. It is so easy to get caught in a bubble of our own situation and surroundings. Everyone is struggling with something. I have always really appreciated and been reassured when people who I might not often turn to, or spend time with, or even strangers(!); share experiences. It makes a difference when people are open to connecting and sharing a chat or a conversation. I think support and understanding of one another is really important and can help with things like self-esteem, Adverse Childhood Experiences (see below), and being a positive force for bringing on the next generation, in which we all have a part to play.

Is there anything that you have read, seen or listened to recently which has inspired you? 

Last year I saw the film Resilience and would recommend this to anyone! It is about the science behind Adverse Childhood Experiences (which we should all know about as everyone has experienced some) and how these impact on physical and emotional health. It is really important that people are aware of these and it offers hope by explaining how patterns of adverse experiences and poor health can be broken, rather than passed on through generations. One of my inspirations for helping start up South Bristol Toy Library was to enable more play and positive interactions in the lives of young children in Bristol and to support their carers and families with this. 

See www.southbristoltoylibrary.co.uk / twitter: @sbtoylibrary / Facebook: facebook.com/southbristoltoylibrary for more info.

Bristol Women’s Voice are marking 100 years since the first women in the UK were given the vote with ‘Deeds not Words’ a year-long programme of events across the city. Find out about Deeds not Words events in Bristol here

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