Downend W.I.

 “ HAPPY EASTER & NEW VENUE “

We are back in our old familiar meeting hall at
Christ Church Parish church hall in North Street Downend.
“Hooray !!”

Hello ladies, sending you all Happy Easter Greetings, from our President Julie Walker and all of the Committee. We hope that you have a lovely Easter with friends and family, the weather forecast is for some warmer sunnier days, so that’s very hopeful.
  • Great news that we are returning to Christ Church Hall! 
  • We will be having a very interesting talk from Rowan Clarke about Open Water Swimming at our next meeting 26th April.  
  • There’s lots of planning for our May meeting too, for our very own celebration and toast for HRH Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee! 
  • Please please remember to pay your Subscriptions for this year 2022/23.   
  • Please catch me at this upcoming meeting to sign the card for HM The Queen, it will be posted immediately after our meeting on the 26th April. 
 Please take a look at the various activities that both National Federation and the Avon Federation activities, if you wish to attend, please contact Ros Langley, our secretary, who can help you make bookings.
Also, the National Federation are putting on a national game, Where’s Winnie, you have to find the Winnie corgis that have been set out by WI members, read more in this months' newsletter.

Our National Federation Women's Institute 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.
WIs 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.

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 seven years old, 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.

Downend
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.

 Our Meetings during 2021/2022

April 26th Meeting

Remember that we are back at Christ Church Parish church hall in North Street Downend.

Rowan Clarke Outdoor Swim Coach
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.
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 Meeting

Unfortunately, Annie who was going to run our Belly Dancing session has become unwell, alas her interesting talk on belly dancing has become postponed until a later date.

We have therefore arranged for 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!
More:
http://www.frenchaymuseumarchives.co.uk/NewMuseum.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Denison_Maurice

Belly Dancing  ~  Unfortunately Postponed
Don't be put off by the title!
It's not all about showing your midriff!
Annie Wotton will be giving a talk about the history of the dance and what lead her to taking it up.
She wants us to enjoy the beauty of the music as well as the benefits to our well-being.
She will demonstrate many of the dance movements and if you fancy a shimmy you can join in or simply watch.


February 22nd Meeting
Style Talk
This meeting we had a lovely speaker named Gail from https://www.notgivinin.com/
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 Meeting
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!
Experience an interesting range of non-alcoholic wines, along with some nibbles.
Remember that we are meeting in a new hall; Badminton Road Methodist Church Hall, Badminton Road, Downend. BS16 6NU

November 30th Meeting
Ladies, some of you may remember the lovely florist Rebecca from Bijoux Floral Design who demonstrated making a Spring Wreath on Zoom, well, we are delighted to announce that Rebecca will be coming to our November meeting to demonstrate some festive arrangements and ideas.

November 14th Remembrance Sunday
Representing our members of Downend WI, our President, Julie Walker, and Vice President, Sue Jones, walked in the Staple Hill RBL Remembrance Sunday Parade, and laid a poppy wreath for all the family and friends of our members who have suffered in any of the wars and battles. We Will Remember Them.

October 26th Meeting.
Downend WI Annual General Meeting Downend WI Annual General Meeting AGM & A Speaker from South West Children’s Hospice
We are delighted to say that we have invited a member of the South West Children’s Hospice to come and be presented with the Knitted & Crocheted Blanket that the Yarn group have made during the pandemic.

September 28th Meeting, our first meeting in person in Christ Church Parish Hall !
Julie, our president, welcomed all the members who bravely turned out in the pouring rain! Also welcomed quite a few new guests, who may well become members.
Julie ran through various details about being back together, then we were introduced to our Guest Speaker, Katie Bell :
“Having worked at the Bristol Hippodrome for over 22 years, I have a great love of this iconic Bristol landmark. For many years I also conducted the guided theatre tours. My talk is about the history, building, shows and stars as well as showing a virtual tour, using a projector, giving an insight to parts of the building few people get to see.” Katie answered questions from the members. Everyone enjoyed the talk, as it was very informative.
What a fantastic meeting we had, even the bunting was up! We even celebrated with free cupcakes made by Deb & Suzzie.

September 25th
We Yarn Bombed the school playground tree in Christ Church Junior School (Downend Bristol), and if that wasn't enough, we attached a 14 meter snake of crochet and knitted squares onto the schools' cricket net, then stitched some knitting to the netball goal posts, and if that wasn't enough, our yarn friends from Downend Yarn Busters made rainbow bunting for the gazebo (Outdoor Class Pod), and made knitted and crochet panels for the gazebo. They also made beautiful knitted and crochet flowers and leaves which have been added to the schools' Sensory Room. A lot of work, by many hands, to show the love for the children.

September 16th
Today marks 106 years since the first WI meeting in Britain and we’re proud to be celebrating the bold and inspiring women of the WI. 💚For many women joining the WI is a chance to make new friends and connect with their community and we know many of our members have found sisterhood and friends for life in their WI. So today we’re celebrating WI friendships and 106 years of empowering women.
Our WI has introduced members to new friends, new information, new crafts, new recipes and new energy for charitable works.
Culture, Charity, Craft & Cake too!

August 31st Meeting The Summer Picnic that DID happen !!
Thankfully the weather was kind to us, and we braved the evening to gather together in the evening air.
This was the first time that some of us had seen each other since the pandemic started!
Bunting was raised, raffle tickets were sold, knitting came out of bags, and picnics were munched while we all played the Ice Breaker game "Two Truths & A Lie". It turned out that quite a high percentage of us had met members of our Royal Family, who would have known that? It was great fun!


July 27th Meeting Picnic that did not happen!!
What a let-down!! And all because the weather decided to be typically British, and be “Changeable”, which as we know, means RAIN on and off, but mostly ON. The day came when the committee had to make a decision at 1 o’clock on the day. During the day the sun came in and out during the downpours, which made deciding quite difficult. We checked the BBC weather forecast which stated that we would have rain that evening, even though in our local areas we were all having different weather?? The grass was wet and the weather-person said that the evening would be wet. We didn’t think that you would want to sit out in plastic macs eating soggy cream scones, so the picnic was called off. However, we had a lot of fun with the quiz. Julie showed off her cream scone made my Mr Sainsbury, and I showed off my scone with a new product from M&S, Strawberry Clotted Cream, a cheaters answer to buying (or making) jam and buying clotted cream, one single product, in my mind saved money and was absolutely delish! Though not traditional! But we W.I. ladies have to move with the times don’t we??? The quiz was great, for some, who have good memory cells and could remember the names of people and things in answer to Julie’s questions. We had 5 groups of questions, from general Knowledge to Food & Drink, Film & TV, etc and also Photo quiz with dog breeds. So we come to the winners of the Downend Summer Quiz. Both Liz and Claire shared equal marks being the winners. So well done Liz and Claire. We all had such a giggle!


June 29th 2021
Location: Zoom
Burlesque, Me and the WI Talk (aka How Burlesque Saved My Life!)
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 epitomise the Fun, Friendship and Education ethos of the WI.


May 25th 2021
Therapist Chris Biggs
Location: Zoom
We were delighted to have booked experienced Speaker 30 year+ Therapist Chris, will give us easy moves to help with mental health, anxiety and pain.

April 27th 2021
Florist Rebecca Hobbs
Location: Zoom
We were delighted to have 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.
During this Zoom meeting, Rebecca will demonstrate how to create a beautiful Spring Wreath.

April 21st 2021
It was announced from Windsor Castle that our Patron, HRH Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 95th Birthday.

April 9th 2021
Buckingham Palace announced that His Royal Highness, Prince Philip passed away during the morning. His century of life was defined by his Duty to Service to his Country and Commonwealth and to his Wife and Queen, and to our Royal Family.
Rest In Peace

2022 PROGRAMME

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

Learn More
  • Christ Church Parish Hall, 57 North Street, Downend, Bristol, South Gloucestershire. BS16 5SG

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
SEE THE SIGNS: OVARIAN CANCER

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 https://www.notgivinin.com/
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 from the Children's Hospice Sth Wst
Location: Christ Church Parish Hall Downend

Downend WI AGM & Guest Speaker from the Childrens' Hospice South West, and presentation of handmade blanket .

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 !!

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 !

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 epitomise the Fun, Friendship and Education ethos of the WI.

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....


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.

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!

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.

These are small groups set up by our W.I. members for other members of our Downend W.I. Group. These sub-groups can be anything that you think others would be interested in. Many people meet in members’ houses but the venue can be anywhere suitable for the activity. If any members are interested in creating a new Sub-Group; e.g.: Park Walking Group, Calligraphy Group, etc (these are just suggestions) Please contact any member of the Committee with your ideas, so that you can be supported to set up.

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Yes, we have a very active page on Facebook.

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Yes, we still like to meet up with our members and enjoy tea-time with cake, and sometimes we bake when we have time in our busy lives. So this is where you will find some lovely W.I. Recipes. All very tasty. Enjoy!

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"Some information of our roots..."

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Key Campaigns Our key campaigns are those current WI campaigns that are closest to our hearts right now. Therefore, the list doesn't cover all the campaigns our members are working on. If you would like more information go to: https://www.thewi.org.uk/campaigns

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Various other links and websites related to the WI

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November 14th 2021 Remembrance Sunday Representing our members of Downend WI, our President, Julie Walker, and Vice President, Sue Jones, walked in the Staple Hill RBL Remembrance Sunday Parade.

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