What Helen’s Been up to This Week!

I thought it might be an idea to give you all a weekly (ish) rundown of what I get up to as CFWI Chair, so you know you’re getting value for money. I say ‘value for money’ with tongue planted firmly in cheek – of course, neither I nor any of the Federation Trustees receive any pay for the work we do. We are all volunteers, just like your own WI’s committee members. Still, I do want you all to know that I take this job very seriously and I hope you know that I’m working hard on your behalf.

My WI week began on Monday, when I represented the Federation at the Mayor Making Ceremony in Truro. The event was held at Truro Cathedral, and was full of pomp and fanfare. Mayors from all over Cornwall were in attendance, all wearing their impressive chains of office. I wore my very modest CFWI Chairman’s chain of office, but I couldn’t hold a candle to some of the very elaborate chains on display that evening! We were treated to entertainment by a local dance company, as well as a performance by a young woman with a beautiful singing voice. Councillor Steven Webb was elected Mayor for the second time – those of you who were at our Annual Council Meeting at the Hall for Cornwall last October will have seen him on stage with us. He is a lovely man, and we hope he’ll be able to join us as a guest again this October.

Truro Mayor Making Ceremony in the Cathedral

On Tuesday, I attended a meeting of our CFWI Membership Support Sub-committee – these are your WI Advisers. We meet nearly every month at Chy Noweth to discuss issues pertaining to our WIs, work out ways we can help WIs, plan future training sessions for members, and so on. We also have a good laugh and enjoy each other’s company a great deal. It’s an incredibly rewarding job, and if you are interested in joining our small group, please just drop me a line and we’d be more than happy for you to sit in on one of the meetings to see what we’re all about.

I had Wednesday off – but not really. I work part-time doing admin at Whole Again Communities, a social enterprise based in Penzance, so Wednesday was one of my working days.

On Thursday, I was in the office at Chy Noweth to interview a candidate for our now-vacant Federation Secretary position. Still no joy. If you know anyone who might be able to fill this position, I’d love to hear from you! The job is currently listed on Indeed.

That evening, I headed to Stoke Climsland, along with WI Adviser Kathy Reed, to attend one of Stoke Climsland WI’s committee meetings. As WI Advisers, we are always there to help WIs with any issues, concerns, problems or questions they might have. In general, these can be resolved with either a phone call or an email, but sometimes it is necessary for us to meet with WIs in person – whether it’s the WI’s committee or the full membership. We do take these matters very seriously and always respond to your questions. If you have an issue that needs addressing, your first port of call should always be your WI Adviser. If she can’t help you, she’ll know who can! Her details can be found in the Year Book which is currently available on the CFWI website – but a hard copy of the latest Year Book will be sent to each WI in a month or so, once it has been printed. If you cannot access the digital Year Book, please just ring the office (01872 272843), and our lovely staff will be able to give you contact details for your Adviser.

My WI week ended on Saturday, when I was invited to a delightful 100th anniversary celebration at St Dennis WI. I attended with WI Adviser Yvonne Toms, and we were treated to a lovely cream tea. We helped cut the beautiful celebration made by one of St Dennis WI’s members, and we were able to look at a fantastic display of archive materials showing the history of St Dennis WI over the past 100 years. St Dennis members all dressed in the style of different decades from the past century and they looked wonderful. Members from other local WIs were present as were people from the community who had been invited. It was great to meet so many people, and I think I may even have helped recruit a new WI member from one of the visitors! Of course, I was too busy enjoying myself and chatting to people to take any photos!

The empty WI Marquee on the Royal Cornwall Showgrounds!

In between all of that, there was the usual WI admin work to see to. Proofreading the July/August (Yes! July/August already!) issue of County News for Editor Wendy Fiander, working on booking venues for upcoming Federation events, sorting out details for our upcoming Garden Party at Tregrehan Garden, and a non-stop flurry of emails among Trustees as we prepare for the Royal Cornwall Show.

Federation Vice Chair Pam Selley is our Royal Cornwall Show Coordinator, and she has already visited the Showground and seen that the WI Marquee is up and ready for us! It’s hard to picture what it’ll look like when it’s full of our stalls, competition entries and all the tables and chairs for tea!




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  1. Hi Helen
    What a good idea to do a weekly diary. It’s interesting to gain insight into your role.

  2. Steven was booked weeks ago Helen! Yes, I’m having a nose at the goings on, interesting to read. The marquee looks enormous. Hope everyone is well.

  3. Very interesting Helen, enjoyable but obviously hard work too.
    You also do well on keeping the emails and social media up to date. It’s lovely seeing what your Cornish ladies get up to! Best wishes to Pam also, Liz x

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