About Us


As we begin December, many of us are busy preparing for Christmas.
We wish you a very Merry Christmas, but more importantly, we wish you good health.
Stay safe.


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.

Latest Information

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 2021
We are delighted to announce and congratulate that Ann Jones, Ceredigion WI, has been elected as the new NFWI Chair.
Ann has been a member of the NFWI Board for several years as NFWI Vice-Chair and Chair of Public Affairs and brings a breadth of 

experience, knowledge and enthusiasm to the role of Chair. We look forward to working with her as she begins this exciting new chapter.
We would also like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you and goodbye to our retiring NFWI Chair Lynne Stubbings. For the 

past four years Lynne has been a passionate and dedicated Chair and we wish her all the best for the future.


Message from our President Julie Walker
Hi, our new WI year is upon us with our next meeting on Tuesday 27th April at 7:30pm on Zoom.
We would love to have new members join us and although the annual subscription is normally £44, National Federation have given us flexibility to reduce our share of that, so for this year only the subscription to join us is £34.
For this, you get 11 meetings a year, currently being held on Zoom but when it is safe to do so we will be back in Christ Church Hall.
We normally have an external speaker, so far this year we have had a Magician showing and teaching us tricks, Baroness Bolsover teaching us Victorian high tea etiquette, Dame Chocolates, demonstrating how to make delicious treats and for April we have a Flower arranging demonstration, and for May a Self Care Massage speaker.
You also receive regular magazines from National Federation, a monthly newsletter from ourselves and access to a Book Club, Film Club, Craft and Yarn Club !
If you would like more details about joining us, then please email me at downendwi@yahoo.co.uk
Best Wishes
Julie
President


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

March 2021
Our speaker for the March meeting was locally based Chocolatier, Sarah Clements trading as Dame Chocolate.
My word, we had a fantastic evening, Sarah demonstrated all the elements of working with chocolate. Sarah is a fantastic speaker, who we are booking again for as soon as we meet in person again in the hall. Cannot wait to try out the samples!!

February 2021
Our speaker for the February meeting was the Right Honorable Baroness of Bolsover.
With light-hearted banter the Baroness demonstrated the essentials of Victorian Tea Etiquette showing us how to become the Crème de le Crème.

"Show The Love", getting involved with the NFWWI Campaign regarding Climate Change.
Turning red hearts green to bring peoples attention to the campaign.
Our members made various green hearts.

January 2021
At Downend WI we celebrated our 7th Anniversary.
We were joined by Wayne Trice from Magic-In-A-Trice on Zoom for our monthly meeting.
Wayne was Fab-u-lous entertaining us with his magic tricks and also giving us some historical information.
We were also shown how to do a couple of tricks, which will come in handy when we come out of the Lockdown!

Remembrance 2020

This year, it was decided that our Institute would lay a Remembrance wreath in Downend. But not just for those lost, or wounded or widowed from World War II and World War II.
Our thoughts and prayers go to all who are suffered in battles, and especially the families who continue to suffer the loss of their loved ones.

Please see more


Coronavirus Notice 

Our Downend W.I. Committee have made the difficult decision that we will cancel our regular monthly meetings while this pandemic is active.  

With this said, not to be denied our meetings, we have turned our hands to using Zoom for virtual meetings. Our members have developed more IT skills to log into these meetings, typical of W.I. ladies, we like a challenge! We have played virtual games and quiz's which were great fun, and we have continued to have a guest speaker when possible! We even had a Spanish lesson which was great fun! Our sub-groups Book Club and Yarn Club also continue to meet on Zoom. With Cinema & TV Club meeting on Facebook.

Before the Pandemic, we had a planned year of interesting "Guest Speaker" talks and activities, however, as with many things, we have become adaptable to this situation.... especially as some of our speakers also had to adjust to using Zoom, it's a big learning curve, and we are holding on tight around the bends!

Quite a few of our members have dedicated many hours to helping make scrubs, masks, uniform bags and mask button bands, etc.

We usually met up on the last Tuesday of every month up until the Pandemic started
Christ Church Parish Hall, North Street, Downend, Bristol. BS16 5SG at 7:30pm

None of us know just how long this next wave of the Pandemic will last, however, not to be outdone, we will continue meet every month on Zoom.
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