An Important Anniversary in 2018

This year marks the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which gave the vote to some women.

There are events, exhibitions and celebrations held all over the country, but what will your WI do to mark the occasion?

You might hold a Suffragist meeting or tea (an equali-tea!)? Or what about inviting some school-age girls to a meeting to talk about the importance of voting? You might want to hold a competition for a suffrage-themed poster or poem? There are lots of possibilities!

If your WI has a book group, why not read a book about the suffrage movement?

Some newly-published books you might be interested in on the subject are:

The ties between the WI and the Women’s Suffrage movement are strong. Grace Hadow, the WI’s first Vice-Chairman, suggested that Jerusalem should become the official WI song. Jerusalem had been used by the National Union of Suffrage Societies in the 1918 celebrations of women’s enfranchisement, and many of the leaders of the NFWI, including Hadow, had been part of that struggle to win the vote for women. Millicent Fawcett, the leader of the suffragists, wrote to Hubert Parry, ‘Your Jerusalem ought to be made the women voters’ hymn’, which of course in a way it was, being adopted by the WI.

Have you forgotten to pick up a 2018 calendar? If so, the Fawcett Society is selling beautiful limited edition Suffrage Centenary calendars. Click here to buy yours.

The National Trust is celebrating by showcasing some of their properties that have strong connections to women who influenced the suffrage movement. Gunby Hall in Lincolnshire was home to the women’s rights campaigner Emily Massingberd. Cliveden in Berkshire was home to Nancy Astor, the first sitting female MP and Bodnant House in Conwy was the home of Laura McLaren, the founder of the Liberal Women’s Suffrage Union.

If you’re planning to be in London in the coming months, you might be interested in The National Archives season, “Suffrage 100”, throughout 2018. There will be talks, a film screening, displays and story-telling at the National Archives in Kew. Click here for more details.

The London School of Economics is also planning a programme, Suffrage 18, to mark the Centenary. It includes introductions to new books, talks, hands-on activities for adults and families, performance, an exhibition and online schools resources. They have also published this handy suffrage timeline:


But you don’t have to go to London to join in. Have you ever tried a FutureLearn course? These are free high-quality online courses from top universities and specialist organisations. Beginning on 5th February, you can start a three-week course entitled Beyond the Ballot: Women’s Rights and Suffrage from 1866 to Today. During the course, you’ll travel back to the 19th century to explore the legal, social and economic frameworks that limited women’s rights prior to the vote and discover the pioneering women campaigning for change. You will learn the story of how and why the vote was extended to women in 1918, the movements behind this change and how the struggle for equality continued throughout the twentieth century. To sign up for the free course, click here.

Whatever you choose to do to mark this very special anniversary, do let us know. We’d love to share your stories here on our website and in County News!



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Resolutions: Make Your Voice Count!

Every resolution passed throughout the WI’s 102-year history has stemmed from a concern put forward by members. This uniquely democratic model offers the opportunity for you to combine your voice with 220,000 others to make a real difference on important issues. This time, 68 resolutions were submitted. These were narrowed down to five by representatives from federations at a shortlisting meeting in London last October.

You can read summaries of the five shortlisted resolutions either in the November/December 2017 issue of WI Life, or by clicking here.

The next step is for you to consider all five and select the one you would most like to go forward for further discussion and final voting at the Annual Meeting in June. The selection process is open to all WI members and you can make your selection by filling out the selection form found in the November/December issue of WI Life. If you have already recycled your copy of the magazine, you can download and print a selection form here.

Your completed selection form must be submitted to Liz Anderson before 9th February. You can do this either through your own WI (see your WI Secretary) or by sending it directly to Liz at: Liz Anderson, Bodriggy, Lamorna, Penzance, TR19 6XW.

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Happy Christmas to All!

The Cornwall Federation of Women’s Institutes wishes all our members and friends a very Happy Christmas!

Please note that the CFWI office at Chy Noweth an Conteth will close at 4:30pm today (Thursday 21st December) and will re-open at 9am on Tuesday 2nd January 2018. 

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Christmas Wreaths in Mawnan

For the fourth year running Mawnan WI has held an open community event inviting those interested to join members in making their own Christmas wreaths.

Mawnan Memorial Hall was transformed into a winter wonderland with foliage, baubles, cones and ribbons available to participants. Twenty four ladies took part including some of the mums of children in the village school who have enjoyed this event in the past, and later on in the afternoon three grandchildren of WI members came along and made their own wreaths too.

Refreshments including mince pies and cake kept up the energy levels and there was a lot of laughter! There will certainly be some stunning wreaths adorning front doors in Mawnan this Christmas.

What Christmassy things has your WI been getting up to? Do let us know! Just send your stories and photos to

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Gardening Challenges in Marazion

If you missed the deadline to apply to attend our ‘Gardening Challenges’ event at Marazion Community Centre next month, you may not be too late!

The event will be held on Saturday 20th January from 10:30am until 3:30pm and will include a series of fascinating talks for the curious gardeners among us. 

Lottie Allen, Head Gardener at St Michael’s Mount, will speak to us about the Mount’s beautiful gardens and the seemingly impossible task of gardening in those conditions. This should be particularly helpful for those of us who try to garden near the sea! A further delight will be a talk from Ian Wright MCIHort, Consultancy Manager (Garden Specialist), National Trust, South West Region, on “Plant Conservation: Can We Meet the Challenge?”.

You are welcome to bring along some samples from your own garden and learn how to present them should you wish to enter your local show. Members of the committee from the West Cornwall Show will be there to explain and assist as you set up your entry.

A light lunch of soup, a roll and a piece of cake will be available to buy.

We know that many WIs don’t meet in December and sometimes paperwork slips through the cracks. So if you’re still interested in attending but missed out on the deadline, just ring the office Monday-Thursday on (01872) 272843 to see if there are any last-minute spaces available.

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Women with Vision Exhibition at RWA in Bristol

Touchstone, Sandra Blow, 2003, collage on canvas, copyright Sandra Blow Estate. Photograph by Simon Cook

If any of you has plans to be in Bristol between now and March, you may be interested in a new exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy.

Women with Vision is a celebration of women in British art – past, present and future.

In a year of national milestones, the RWA marks the impact of female artists on our country’s artistic landscape with four diverse exhibitions of historic and contemporary works.

These exhibitions are Frink-Blow-Lawson, Women of the RWA, Cornelia Parker: One Day This Glass Will Break and Anne Redpath ARA RWA RSA.

Women with Vision coincides with the Vote100 celebrations, marking the centenary of British women’s suffrage. The exhibitions also commemorate 160 years since the RWA first opened its doors and 250 years since London’s Royal Academy was founded. Featuring members of both Academies, Women with Vision celebrates the pivotal roles the artists have played in the histories of both institutions.

A ticket to Women with Vision grants you access to all of the galleries. Please note, Cornelia Parker: One Day This Glass Will Break and Anne Redpath RA RWA RSA do not run concurrently.

Times & Prices
Tuesday–Saturday 10am–5.30pm
Sunday 11am–5pm
CLOSED Mondays

Last admission is 30 minutes before closing. The RWA occasionally closes early for special events. Please call ahead or check the website for details.

Adults: £6.95 (includes a 70p donation)
Concessions: £4.95 (includes a 50p donation)
Under 16s/SGS, UoB & UWE students: FREE
National Art Pass holders: 50% discount on ticket price

Queen’s Road,
Clifton Bristol BS8 1PX

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A Message from NFWI re: Voucher Booklets

Please note the following message from NFWI regarding shipment of the 2018 WI Membership (Voucher) Booklets:

Firstly, our thanks to all those of you who have been taking calls and email enquiries from WIs who did not receive their 2018 Voucher Booklets before last Saturday’s deadline. As many of you have already realised, the adverse weather conditions have caused considerable disruption across the country. The distributors have been liaising with Royal Mail to try to establish when they expect to have caught up on the backlog they are currently having to tackle in their various depots. We have just heard from them that Royal Mail expect to be back on track by this Thursday, which we believe should mean that all the booklets will have arrived by then, future weather permitting!

We would be most grateful if you could pass this information on to your WIs, suggesting that Secretaries allow until next Monday before considering a parcel to be missing. We would respectfully ask, however, that the deadline for reporting missing parcels remains 1 February 2018.

Once again, our very grateful thanks for all the help you are giving to help contain this unexpected situation.

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Eden to Host Sustainable Beekeeping Event

Saturday, 17th February 2018
9:30am to 4:30pm
At the Eden Project
Tickets: £17 (£15 for under 18s)

Click here to book your ticket.

This exciting event has been organised in response to the increased interest in native and near native honey bees. Many beekeepers now realise the benefits of working with bees that are hardy, productive, healthy and best suit their conditions.

Bee researchers believe that native bees are an important resource that shouldn’t be lost. European studies have shown that locally adapted bees perform better than imported ones, with possible health and survivability benefits.

The event is organised by the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association (BIBBA) and B4, in conjunction with BIPCo.

Attendance for the full day on Saturday will include entry to the Eden Project on Sunday 18th February. Tickets will only be issued to conference participants at the end of the day on Saturday.

8.45 – 9.30 Registration
9.30 – 9.45 Opening Address by Sir Tim Smit KBE
Introduction by Mike Maunder, Director of Life Sciences at The Eden Project
9.45 – 10.45 Norman Carreck – “Why we need to conserve the dark European honey bee”
10.45 – 11.15 Break
11.15 – 12.15 Mark Barnett – “Mapping honey bee health and genetic diversity in the UK”
12.15 – 13.00 Mairi Knight/Victoria Buswell – “Local adaptation in UK populations of dark European honey bees”
13.00 – 14.00 Lunch and Tour of the hives with Julie Kendal and Rodger Dewhurst.
14.00 – 15.00 Jo Widdicombe – “Sustainable Bee Improvement”
15.00 – 15.30 Break
15.30 – 16.30 Roger Patterson – “The Journey to Sustainability”
16.30 Questions and close

For further details and for speaker profiles, click here.

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Recycling Changes – Have Your Say!

A message from Cornwall Council:

Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Members met in November to discuss recommendations on the new waste collection contract, which will commence in April 2020.

In order to make a recommendation, an Inquiry Panel considered the costs, performance, risks and benefits of a range of options and recommended that we adopt a model which is used extensively in Welsh and English authorities which should help us increase recycling rates in Cornwall from 36%.

The recommendation proposed a weekly collection of recycling and food waste and a fortnightly collection of waste that cannot be recycled. Evidence shows that by making recycling collections more frequent, increasing the range of materials that are recycled and introducing food waste collections on a weekly basis, we can deliver our recycling targets.

Analysis of black bin bags shows that most people’s waste is currently comprised of 22% of materials that can be recycled, e.g. paper/cans/glass etc.; 35% is food waste; and 43% is other residual waste. If in future we collect food waste each week, and recycling collection also moves to weekly collections, this would make collections of recyclable material easier and mean we would change the frequency of collections of waste which cannot be recycled to a fortnightly basis. This means food waste will be collected at the same frequency as it is now (weekly), with the added benefit that it would be recycled (by anaerobic digestion), which is currently not the case.

Before the Cabinet meets in February, to make a final decision on the new contract, we have started talking to our Town and Parish Council partners and will be hosting a Cornwall Council all-Member briefing in January.

We also want to give residents the opportunity to help inform and shape Cornwall’s future kerbside recycling and waste collection. What people tell us will help us to understand the impact on residents of proposed changes to the waste and recycling contract in 2020. To obtain this information we will be undertaking a survey and focus groups.

We would appreciate your help in sharing the survey with the people you work with and represent, as well as your own family and friends. You can find the survey here. It will close on 3rd January 2018.

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Christmas Lunch at Whitsand Bay

More Christmas County Lunches around Cornwall – this time at Whitsand Bay Hotel in Torpoint. Do you recognise any of this happy bunch?

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