Kicking off our Centenary Year in Cornish Style!

A full house of WI members was on hand on Friday for a buffet lunch. What better way to kick off our special year than getting together with 60 of your closest friends?!

The tables were decorated with daffodils and Cornish tartan ribbon, and each place setting had a little treat of a bar of Kernow Chocolate.

With a Cornish theme and plenty of St Piran’s flag bunting on view, members were treated to a three course meal with a focus on Cornish produce. They started with smoked mackerel pâté, then moved onto local pasties, cold cuts and salads. For dessert, they were served apple crumble with clotted cream, and a variety of Cornish cheeses.

After a break to buy raffle prizes or browse some of our lovely Centenary merchandise in Trading Post, the entertainment began. A group of dancers from Danse Kernewack gave a demonstration of Cornish dancing, accompanied by music from Aggie Folk.

Before everyone left for the day, gift baskets of lovely Cornish goods were raffled off.

Big thanks to all who helped make the day a success, including our wonderful members who came out on a rather rainy day!

Click here to see more photos of our Centenary Kick-Off Buffet Lunch.

Our next Centenary event is CAKE FEST on Saturday 16 February. If you’d like to come, please ring the office for a ticket. We’d love to see you there!

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What’s Going on at the Hall for Cornwall?

On Thursday, members of the CFWI Board of Trustees and office staff were invited on a tour of the ongoing work at the Hall for Cornwall. What a fascinating experience it was!

We met at the site office of the Kier Group, the builders responsible for this mammoth project, for a safety briefing. Then, after donning some rather fetching hard hats, high-vis vests, goggles and gloves, we made our way into the Hall for Cornwall. We were accompanied by representatives from the Kier Group, HfC Creative Director and CEO Julien Boast, and HfC Head of Marketing & Communications, Charlotte Somers.

We all thought we knew the main auditorium at the HfC so well, but we were astounded at how completely unrecognisable it is at the moment! The interior has been totally gutted, right back to the stone walls. The work has revealed some dramatic granite arches, which have been hidden from sight for years. The hope is that the stone walls and granite arches will be able to be incoporated into the Hall’s new design.

The plan next is to take the roof off (!!) the Hall, in order to start work on the new third tier of seating! This extra tier will mean that, once it re-opens in 2020, the HfC will have a seating capacity of 1,354. This increase means that it will be able to be more competitive in attracting top shows and events to Cornwall.

We were assured by CEO Julien Boast that neither ticket prices nor HfC hire prices would increase after the re-development. 

Plans for the new space are very exciting. In addition to the increased seating, there will be new bars and cafes on both sides of the HfC, improved wheelchair access and a public walkthrough which will run through the building allowing public access between the new entrance foyer on Boscawen Street and Lemon Quay, offering behind the scenes glimpses into the daytime workings of an auditorium.

Among the rubble of the construction site, we came upon some real treasures. One was an old Truro market stone from 1615, inscribed with the motto, “Who seeks to find eternal treasure, must use no guile in weight or measure.” We also found a prison cell from the days when the building housed the police station in the 1800s. 

We had such a lovely day with the folks from the Kier Group and the Hall for Cornwall, and they couldn’t have been more helpful in answering all our questions!

If, like us, you have questions, here’s a chance to get them answered. Charlotte Somers, Head of Marketing & Communications for the Hall for Cornwall, is keen to get the message out about what’s been happening with the project. If your WI is interested in having her or one of the HfC team come to talk to you, please contact her on or by telephone on (01872) 321979.

You can see more photos of our day at the Hall for Cornwall here

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Are You Interested in Advice about Heating Costs?

The Heat Project will be holding an Energy Saving Event on Monday 21 January at their Advice Centre at Mitchells Corner, Perranporth.

You can get energy advice and look at how much money you could save by switching suppliers. You’ll also have an opportunity to discuss accessing heating and insulation grants (eligible benefit needed such as Income Support, Child tax credits, child benefit alongside a low income, disability benefits etc).

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Upcoming Hypatia Trust Events

The Hypatia Trust is a Penzance-based educational charity in the United Kingdom that supports and promotes women’s achievements through research and documentation, exhibition, publication and by providing training and educational activities.

You can read about Hypatia’s upcoming January and February events here. One event which may be of interest to members is a free talk about Botanical Art on Thursday 28th February, 7-9pm, 

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The Big Lunch

Last week we told you all about The Big Lunch and promised to share a little video about it with you. Here it is!

Spread the word!

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Clean Cornwall January Newsletter

Did you know that the Cornwall Federation of Women’s Institutes is a member of Clean Cornwall – a partnership of businesses, voluntary organisations, Cornwall Council and the people of Cornwall who share one common goal: Helping to make a cleaner Cornwall.

Check out the Clean Cornwall website to find local organisations, communities and groups who arrange and take part in litter picks that help to keep their neighbourhoods and our county clean. If you want help or guidance in setting up a litter pick, give them a call.

Remember: By joining in a litter pick, you’ll be helping to keep our county clean and you can tick a box off your Centenary Passport!

Clean Cornwall holds meetings several times a year and if there are issues that you would like us to raise there, contact Julia Havard at

You can read Clean Cornwall’s first newsletter here.

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Lady Denman Cup Competition 2019

The Lady Denman Cup is an annual prize awarded to a WI member for writing a piece on a subject selected by NFWI.

This year’s topic is: ‘Amazing Discoveries’.

The schedule is as follows:

A description of a discovery or invention in the field of science – real or imagined? Using no more than 500 words, you are invited to write a piece of science, fact or fiction, describing a historic breakthrough or a future invention as yet unknown.

Entrants must submit 4 copies of their entry, typed if possible, on A4 paper to CFWI by the closing date of Thursday 27 June 2019.

Please include a total word count of your entry.

Up to 3 finalists will be selected by CFWI to go forward for judging at the National level. Book tokens will be given by NFWI as prizes: 1st prize, book tokens to the value of £75; 2nd prize book tokens to the value of £50 and 3rd prize book tokens to the value of £30. The winner/winning federation will be presented with the Lady Denman Cup.

Click here to download an entry form.

Why not do Cornwall proud and make sure we have a name on the list of winners this year?

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Is Your WI Using Your Passport?

Is your WI going on a journey this Centenary year? A virtual one, that is. It’s not hard! All you have to do is stamp all the ‘destinations’ you reach during the year, and you could win a prize.

Your WI was sent a passport in September, ready for you to start completing in 2019. Your WI Secretary should have yours, but if you’ve misplaced it, just ring the Office for a new copy.

It’s not difficult, and your WI probably does (or will be doing) many of these things already.

Enter one of the Royal Cornwall Show competitions – the deadline to send in your application is 31 March, so there’s still plenty of time!

Come along to Spring Countdown in April. Guest speaker Cal Major is going to tell us all about how she paddleboarded the entire length of the UK to raise awareness of plastic pollution in our oceans and seas.

Come to one of our brilliant CFWI Centenary events! We have so many exciting things in the diary this year: A garden party, zip wiring at the Eden Project, a camping weekend, a tea dance, a county lunch and much more!

Invite a Board member of WI Adviser to one of your monthly meetings. You can find all their names and contact details in the Year Book – your WI Secretary or President will have a copy of it.

Get a photo or mention in WI Life. Has your WI done something extra special recently? Something you’d like WI members all over the UK to read about? Send your stories and photos to

Appoint a new committee member. With Annual Meetings just around the corner in February and March, now is the perfect time to start recruiting among your membership. There must be someone with the perfect skills to join your committee!

Send a photo or write-up to County News. We try to publish all WI news items, so please drop us a line and show us what you’ve been up to. Just email your story and photo to

Get a photo in the CFWI Calendar. The deadline to send in your photos for the 2021 calendar is the end of October, so you have plenty of time to get out there and start snapping. The theme is ‘Cornish Gateways’ which should give lots of scope for some fantastic shots!

Sign up three new WI members. The best way to get new members for your WI is word of mouth. If you meet someone new, tell her how great your WI is! You are your WI’s best recruitment tool. And why stop at just three new members?!

Take part in a beach clean or litter pick. With all things environmental very much on the WI radar and with spring approaching, what could be better!?

Team up with another WI for an activity or event. Why not plan an outing together? Or perhaps a coffee morning? Or an afternoon tea? Any excuse for a party!

If you need any tips or advice on how achieve some of your stamps, just ask!

And have fun with it!

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Come to CAKE FEST!

The deadline for Cake Fest has been extended until the end of January! Make sure you don’t miss this exciting event! Come and help us celebrate on Saturday 16 February! Please note that although this event is free to attend, you will still need a ticket. Contact the office or see your WI Secretary.



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Bodmin Gaolbirds WI Get the Year off to a Flowery Start

Some of the beautiful winter arrangements produced by members of Bodmin Gaolbirds WI

Bodmin Gaolbirds WI kicked off 2019 on a cold January night with a bit of flower arranging. There was good attendance on hand to watch Angela Hyland demonstrate her take on a Winter Flower Arrangement. Members then had a go themselves, and some wonderful arrangements resulted. These were judged with Margaret Elliott coming first, Sandra Annear second and Shirley Trewin third.

It seems a long time ago now, but Bodmin Gaolbirds members enjoyed an excellent Christmas Party with a twist in December. Instead of celebrating at a local hostelry it was decided to have caterers in. The conference room at Bodmin Regimental Museum was decorated and long tables laid for a three-course Christmas Dinner under the supervision of Shirley Trewin and Sharon Edyvean. Between courses members were invited to guess a who’s who from baby photos, which caused great amusement.

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