Downend W.I.

Downend Women's Institute
Christ Church Parish Hall, 
57 North Street, Downend, Bristol, South Gloucestershire.  BS16 5SG
Meet last Tuesday of each month at 7:30pm.
Guests are welcome to join us for a small charge of £4.00, which includes tea or coffee.

Upcoming Meeting  
Tuesday 28th November 2023
Jodie Cavill, an amazing local florist will be showing us how to make a wreath. Jodie will provide us with everything we need to make our own wreath.

Saturday 18th November 2023
Avonmere Care Home Downend
Christmas Fayre where we supported the home and had a Bake Stall.

Tuesday 31st October 2023
AGM and talk from Rosie Brydon from CAP
Shelley Brown was voted in again as President.

Tuesday 26th September 2023
Talk by the Police Fraud Protect

Tuesday 29th August 2023
Inhouse Quiz and Fizz

Tuesday 25th July 2023
Talk by Jutta Blumenthal
Jutta is a medical herbalist and iridologist practising in Bristol since 1996. She also teaches introductory courses on iridology and herbalism, including the use of kitchen herbs for common ailments and making your own herbal preparations. Jutta talked to us about using herbs from our garden to make herbal teas and help with common illnesses.

Tuesday 27th June 2023
Author Susan Lewis
Next Tuesday , we are very lucky to have Susan Lewis as our speaker. Susan is a bestselling author of over forty eight books. Our meeting starts at 7.30 pm. We meet at Christchurch Hall, Downend. If you would like further information please email DownendWI@

30th May 2023
Member Debbie Millar, Talk of History Through the Ages. Debbie captivated our members with her amazing talk. She is an excellent speaker, and very knowledgeable.

25th April 2023
Downend In Bloom, Jackie. A Fabulous speaker, and really interesting , this was really appreciated by our members.

28th March 2023
Gail Painter, Personal Stylist and Personal Shopper. Gail is coming to explain what colours suits us, are we Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter?

28th February 2023
Our February meeting we have booked Amy Grimsby who will teach us to make needle felted greetings cards. All the members thoroughly enjoyed making needle felted bees.

31st January 2023
This month we celebrate our 9th Birthday! Hoorah!
We welcome back our fabulous members to our January meeting with Andrew Stowell from East Bristol Auction House, who will be talking to us about any hidden treasures that we may have stashed away in our homes.

At our 2022 AGM
President Julie Walkers stepped down to hand her position to voted in Shelley Hodges-Brown.
Treasurer Claire Edmunds also stepped down and handed over to Carey Down.
Secretary Ros Langley also handed over to Linda Russ.
And finally, Vice President Susan Jones handed over to Pippa Osborne who will occasionally cover the duties of Vice President when needed.
Our sincere thanks go to all these four ladies for their rather long terms of duty, now they will be happy to come along to meetings as a Member after all their hard work, lasting between 4 and 6 years.

Remembrance Day 2022
This year, the members of Downend Women’s Institute decided that they wanted to be more a part of the memorial tribute for Remembrance Sunday, so instead of buying a wreath, the ladies decided to make and embroider felt poppies and leaves.
The idea of making the topper for our local letterbox in Downend, was to bring the memorial tribute to our local community to share, they felt that as we all have relatives who have had to live through the horrors of wartime, both service and civilian, it was only right and proper that by bringing our memorial to share with everyone on their daily basis, it represents that we have compassion for all, and that it’s not a thing for show, but a tribute for our whole community, young and old.
We created packs of felt, and all the haberdasheries that were required, along with the instructions, to make up the poppies and leaves, suitable for all levels of ability. Members purchased the packs, priced to cover expenses plus a little extra, then by deducting the expenses, we had gleaned an amount of £65 which we wanted to donate to the Staple Hill Royal British Legion.
On Saturday the 5th of November, the wind and rain did not deter Linda Russ (Secretary) and Suzzie Belcher (Committee Member) who outed the topper onto the double letterbox outside of the Post Office in Downend. Ian Campbell from the Staple Hill Royal British Legion came to watch and was presented with the donation. The memorial will be removed on Saturday the 19th of November.

November 29th 2022
Yes, it's time again for Christmas Jumpers!  At our end of year festive meeting, we will have mince pies and mulled wine plus to end our year, Liz Baker from Elizabeth Baker Flowers in Bristol, is coming, so please come and join us as we learn to create a Christmas Wreath from scratch to help us enter the spirit of the Christmas season!

About Us
Downend WI started in January 2014 when ladies lined up in the cold to join. The queue was so long that some had to be turned away!

Now we are now in our eighth year, and still going strong.
We are based in the heart of Downend, which is a suburb of Bristol. Downend comes in the county of South Gloucestershire, and are part of the Avon Federation WI.

used to be a village many years ago, and the community has a warm 'village' feel to it. The famous cricketer W.G. Grace was born here.

Downend WI has a vibrant energetic feel about it, with members from all age groups, and all walks of life, we mix really well.
We are always happy to welcome new members, and also members from other groups.

Downend WI also has various sub groups, so please check out this website for more information.
We are interested in many topics and enjoy our program of talks and activities, so do come and try us out.
(By the way, we WI groups aren't all Jam and Jerusalem these days.)

Many imagine us wearing pearls and twinsets, however, you are far more likely to find us getting involved with NFWI Campaigns.
This is why we say that we can make things change, by doing it the WI way.

"Culture, Charity, Craft & Cake", to find out more, please come to our meeting as a guest, we'll be happy to meet you.
We meet on the last Tuesday of each month, in the Christ Church Parish Hall on North Street, Downend, Bristol at 7:30pm.

The Mission Statement of the National Federation of Women's Institutes.
Our mission
Let us tell you what we stand for and what is at the heart of everything we do.
The WI plays a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.
The WI is here to inspire you
We inspire women through experiences, knowledge and skills. These are passed down through generations and continually updated to reflect the lives of women today.
The WI is everything you want it to be
Whatever your reason for joining, we offer all kinds of opportunities to all kinds of women.
For some, it’s a chance to meet people and catch up with friends. For others, it’s a way to learn valuable life skills and make a difference in their communities through WI campaigns.
The WI is what you make of it
WI's come in all shapes and sizes and our members can be involved in the way that suits them.
This can mean joining a local WI or setting up a new group with other like-minded women. Others may prefer to be Associate members with the opportunity for local WI involvement.

For Past Meetings during 2021/2022 go to Agenda


Every month we have a speaker or an activity. See the list below:

Learn More

Monthly Meeting June 28th 2022.

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
De-Cluttering & Well-Being
Location: Christ Church Parish Hall

Louise Walker, was originally from Australia, and was a very easy person to talk to. She originally worked as a cleaner, then found that people needed more help in organizing their homes, which would make it easier for them to clean their own homes.
If you would like to contact Louise her contact details are below.

Monthly Meeting May 31st 2022.

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Royal Toast & Party Presentation & Reflect
Location: Christ Church Parish church hall, North Street, Downend.

Toast the Queen our Patron and Sing Jerusalem.
Chef Langley will give us a talk about food presentation.
Discuss 2 important NFWI Campaigns:
Women and Girls with ASD and ADHD Under-Identified, Under-Diagnosed and Under-Supported

Monthly Meeting April 26th 2022

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Open Water Swimming
Location: Christ Church Parish church hall, North Street, Downend

Open Water Swimming with Rowan Clarke
Come and listen to Rowan explain all about outdoor, open water or wild swimming which has huge benefits for your health and wellbeing. People swim in Clevedon Marine Lake all year round. But it is very different from pool swimming and it is a good idea to learn how to do it safely.
Quote: "I talk openly about using cold water swimming to manage anxiety and body image issues. Swimming for better mental health and wellbeing underpins everything I do, and I'm passionate about helping people discover the benefits of being outdoors and active regardless of age, background or physical ability. That includes everything from making front crawl smoother and easier for a more relaxed, meditative swim or training for a swim challenge, to supporting mental health treatment with cold water therapy, helping people recover from physical injury, adapting swimming style to a physical disability or helping people stay active with chronic illness."

March 29th 2022

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Frenchay Museum: "An utterly good man" Frederick Denison Maurice
Location: Badminton Road Methodist Church, Downend.

Alan Freke from Frenchay Museum to join us. Some of you will remember that Alan has previously joined us and was an excellent speaker. His subject this time is "An utterly good man" This is about Frederick Denison Maurice who had the ambition to provide a means whereby women could gain a serious education. He was the first Principal of Queens College London which was the first institute where women could study for and gain academic qualifications. This is very timely as this weekend sees his 150 year anniversary and lots of celebrations have taken place this weekend. Combining this with the WI ethos of educating women this is really apt!

February 22nd 2022

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Style Talk
Location: Badminton Road Methodist Church, Downend.

Style Talk
This meeting we had a lovely speaker named Gail from
Gail gave a very interesting talk all about how we purchase clothes, and how we use our wardrobes.
Gail talked about identifying our body shape and talking through which style and fit of clothes work best for us. Considering our lifestyles and what key pieces we need to make our wardrobe more efficient.
We had a questionnaire which was fun.

January 25th 2022

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Our 8th Birthday & "Wine" Tasting (But not as you know it)
Location: Badminton Road Methodist Church, Downend.

Come and start dry January as you mean to go on, experiencing an interesting range of non-alcoholic wines and nibbles. This meeting marks our 8th Anniversary since Downend WI started.
Wine Tasting With A Difference. Come along to our January meeting and start as you mean to go on... in Dry January!

November 30th 2021

07:30 PM
Rebecca from Bijoux Floral Design
Location: Christ Church Parish Hall Downend

Our Guest Speaker is lovely florist Rebecca from Bijoux Floral Design who will be demonstrating making some festive arrangements and ideas for the Christmas table.

October 26th 2021 AGM

07:30 PM
AGM & Guest Speaker Clemi from the Children's Hospice Sth Wst
Location: Christ Church Parish Hall Downend

Downend WI AGM & Guest Speaker, Clemi, from the Childrens' Hospice South West, and a presentation of handmade crochet & knitted blanket, made by our Yarn Group, was given .

September 28th 2021

07:30 PM
Guest Speaker Katie Bell from Bristol Hippodrome
Location: Christ Church Parish Hall Downend

September 28th Meeting, our first meeting in person in Christ Church Parish Hall !
Guest Speaker Katie Bell from the Bristol Hippodrome.

Meeting August 31st 2021

07:00 PM
Summer Picnic
Location: CCJ

August 31st The Summer Picnic that DID happen !!
Yes, The evening stayed dry, if a little chilly. We all gathered in the childrens' playground, and Pippa ran a quiz which was fun while we munched on our picnics. Great fun!!

Meeting July 27th 2021

07:00 PM
The Summer Picnic that did not happen!!

July 27th Meeting Picnic that did not happen!!
We still had fun on Zoom !

Zoom Monthly Meeting June 29th 2021 : Burlesque, Me and WI Talk

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Burlesque, Me and the WI Talk (aka How Burlesque Saved My Life!)
Location: Zoom

Lindsey Dixon Barrell (aka Ms Cherry Bombe) from Chelmsford in Essex

WI President Lindsey does a fabulously funny and heart-warming talk that covers how she discovered burlesque, and then the WI, and brought the two worlds together.
From empty nest to huge success, and via dance classes and craft sessions, Lindsey will take you on a journey that a lot of us can relate to.

Incorporating costumes and a demonstration shimmy-along (optional), this is a humorous talk that illustrates how even the most diverse of topics can epitomize the Fun, Friendship and Education ethos of the WI.

Zoom Monthly Meeting May 25th 2021 - Self Care Massage Workshop with Chris Biggs of Intuitive Massage

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Therapist Chris Biggs
Location: Zoom

We are delighted to have booked experienced Speaker 30 year+ Therapist Chris, will give us easy moves to help with mental health, anxiety and pain.
Self care massage.... Chris showed us points where we can massage and gain some pain relief.

Zoom Monthly Meeting April 27th 2021 - Rebecca Hobbs of Bijoux Floral Design

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Florist Rebecca Hobbs
Location: Zoom

We are delighted to have booked Rebecca Hobbs of Bijoux Floral Design from Chipping Sodbury to be our Speaker.
With over 20 years in the industry, Creative Director Rebecca Hobbs is no floral fly-by-night.
Professionally trained florist Rebecca, founded Bijoux Floral Design in 2005, and has built a floral business recognised for delivering on-trend floral styling and sincere, steadfast service to her brides and clientele.
During this Zoom meeting, Rebecca will demonstrate how to create a beautiful Spring Wreath.

Zoom Monthly Meeting March 30th 2021 - Chocolatier Sarah Clements of Dame Chocolate

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Dame Chocolate
Location: Zoom

A demonstration with Speaker Chocolatier Sarah Clements of Dame Chocolate.
Sarah will show us how to make a couple of treats that are fairly easy to do at home
Also a ‘how to create other delicious delights!

Zoom Monthly Meeting February 23rd 2021 - Baroness Bolsover' - Afternoon Tea with a Difference!

07:30 PM - 09:30 PM
Baroness Bolsover' - Afternoon Tea with a Difference!
Location: Zoom

We were delighted to have announced that her Ladyship, the Baroness Bolsover, gave us a knowledgeable and entertaining meeting instructing us about Afternoon Tea Etiquette, followed by Q & A’s from members.
‘Downend WI with Baroness Bolsover' - Afternoon Tea with a Difference!
A deliciously entertaining and interactive etiquette talk.

Zoom Monthly Meeting January 26th 2021 - Our 7th Birthday! Celebrate with a Magician!!

07:30 PM - 09:30 PM
Happy 7th Birthday
Location: Zoom

Yes, it was our 7th Birthday, we celebrated by having an amazing magician entertain us via zoom. We were really excited to have been able to book Wayne; he has an amazing reputation for delivering a really good act, even on Zoom!
Wayne is based in Croydon, South London, so ordinarily; we wouldn’t have had the chance to book him, so this was really a plus!! He did several tricks, and finally showed us how to do a trick ourselves. Great fun!!

Zoom Monthly Meeting 24th November 2020 - Handmade Festve Cards with Claire Salmon

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Handmade Festive Cards
Location: Zoom

Claire Salmon is a Denman Instructor, who comes from Gloucester. We were taught stage by stage to make cards using scraps of fabric and a sewing machine. Everyone had a great evening, and some members managed to keep up with Claire and produce their own very effective and festive cards.

Zoom Monthly Meeting 27th October 2020 - AGM - Speaker from Riding for the Disabled

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
AGM - Riding for the Disabled
Location: Zoom

We had our AGM on ZOOM!!! That was an experience!!
Followed by our speaker Gill Edwards who talked us through the work they do and how they are coping through Covid. For over thirty years, Avon Riding Centre for the Disabled has provided the positive experience and proven therapeutic benefits of horse riding to children and adults with a wide range of complex special needs. Avon Riding Centre is recognised as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for disabled riding regionally and throughout the UK. The Centre enables around 200 disabled children and adults per week to benefit from a carefully structured programme of riding lessions, amounting to 7,500.
individual rides annually (in a normal year). We found this a very interesting talk indeed.

Zoom Monthly Meeting 29th September 2020 - Wellbeing Month

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Location: Zoom

Wellbeing bags were made by Committee Members Ros and Suzzie, and other Committee Members Julie, Claire, Shelley, Sue, Debs and Pippa delivered the bags, so that our members would have them ready for the zoom meeting. Our committee member Pippa Osbourne headed the Talk about Wellbeing, and also discussed the various items in the bags. Everyone appreciated this very sensitive discussion.

Zoom Monthly Meeting 28th July 2020 - Heavenly Hedgerows

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Heavenly Hedgerows
Location: Zoom

It was decided at the Zoom Committee meeting that we would make August a summer break for everyone. So we did not meet on Zoom in August.
Our speaker Chris Westgate, was borne of a love of cooking, walking and foraging. Heavenly Hedgerows produces award winning gourmet jellies, jams and liqueurs, mostly from hand-picked local wild plants and berries. The business was borne of a love of foraging for wild food, inspired by a free-range New Zealand childhood and the delights of the West Country’s bountiful seasons. This talk was amazing, awesome! We learned so much about the plants that we pass by.

Zoom Monthly Meeting 30th June 2020 - Let's Talk Spanish

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Let's Talk Spanish!
Location: Zoom

Hola! We had a speaker who will give us taster lesson learning Spanish for our summer holidays, whenever they maybe!.
A lovely lady will be our teacher for the evening, Senora Fabiola Doano who we can call Faby!
Faby runs her own Spanish Training Courses called Let’s Talk – Hablemos! Faby comes from Peru and is a qualified language teacher. Also, we made a recipe for Sangria and Tapas that we made during the session! We gave Faby a very warm welcome., and had a great evening. Muy bien!

Zoom Monthly Meeting 26th May - Celebrating May Day & VE Day

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Celebrating May Day & VE Day
Location: Zoom

The Pandemic was not going to get us down, even though we were all in Lockdown. It was decided that we would celebrate our May Day and V.E. Day as best and as inventive as we could given the circumstances. So we made cakes, of course, hung bunting, of course, and were patriotic, of course, wearing red, white, and blue for our zoom meeting. We still had fun and still continued to smile.

Zoom Monthly Meeting 28th April - Hives and Herbals

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Hives and Herbals
Location: Zoom

Alyson Hurst is a beekeeper based in Bristol who keeps hives in and around the city. She is focused on making a difference to the environment and educating others on the importance of bees.
She founded Hives & Herbals several years ago to spread her message, but it was a long path to get to her dream job. This was a very interesting talk.

Zoom Monthly Meeting 31st March 2020 - Our First Zoom meeting

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
1st Zoom Meeting
Location: Zoom

We held a virtual meeting with 8 ladies who had expressed an interest in doing this.
Suzzie Belcher has done a fabulous job of setting up Zoom so this could be achieved, so thanks to her.
Obviously it wasn’t a normal meeting, but it was good to see some familiar faces and make sure that everyone is ok.
This was the beginning of an unknown length of time meeting on zoom. Some of us had never heard of zoom, and some of us didn't want to know. That's okay.

Monthly Meeting 25th February 2020 - Boxercise

07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Location: Christ Church Hall

We invited Paul Green, a Boxercise Instructor, to come and talk to us all about Boxercise.
So some of us shook off the winter blues and the cold by having a fun session for all to join in. So we Boxercised our way around the hall (or on a chair) A bit like circuit training but with
boxing style activities. It was great for fitness, muscle conditioning and stress relief! Everyone enjoyed it.
However, there were lots of unsure discussions about Covid, we had no idea of what was to come.