In the 2023/24 subscription year FEWI introduced an educational bursary scheme to encourage our members to learn a new craft or skill and then share their knowledge with their WI.  One of the conditions of taking up the bursary is to write a report with photos which will be printed in Essex WI News.  There isn’t room for all the photos in the magazine so the full reports are shown below.

If you would like to know more about the bursary or would like to apply, please click here for the information and form.


Despite storm Ciaran, Covid and hospital appointments 24 members attended our meeting yesterday afternoon the November 2nd.

Our demonstrator Naeema from Cocoa Bocoa London started by giving a talk about the growing of chocolate, how the pods are picked and the process of getting the chocolate from this into the form that we know. She explained about the tempering of chocolate and finally how she uses it in the making of her truffles or as she called them Bon Bon’s, she told us about adding flavourings and the difference between white, milk, dark and vegan chocolate and making ganache. When this part of the demonstration ended Naeema came to each table and gave a demonstration on how to make our own truffles, she provided us with three ganache’s milk, dark and vegan, the vegan was flavoured with mint, we could also dust them with the choice of toasted coconut, chocolate dust with cinnamon or pink sugar.

There was a lot of chat, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon we tasted our chocolates there and even took some home. Most of us agreed we will be making more and we all agreed we learned a lot from the afternoon. At the end of the session Naeema gave us all a Bon Bon that she makes and sells which was flavoured with caramel.

The cost of the afternoon was £170.00 and without the bursary we would have missed out on a great learning experience.


With the bursary we were able to book Andrew Summer from Essex 100 for his talk called History of Boudicca and her rebellion.

Andrew led the group through the myths and facts around Boudicca.  Members were taken first through the reason behind the inconsistencies in names, Boudica, Boudicca and Boadicea.  Where a mistranslation of Latin created Boadicea and the Victorian flair created Boudicca.  Now that members were straight on the name, Andrew moved onto the history of the Iceni, where they were based and how Boudica came into power, which involved her husband’s death and Rome overruling her inheritance of the “crown” so to speak. 

Finally, after speaking about various accounts of her life, from various sources, some not proven or embellished, Andrew covered Boudica’s death and resting place.  Waltham Abbey’s own claim as her death location has apparently been debunked, with most, if not all historians believing that the claim has no merit.

While it was disappointing to find out that our claim is not valid, it was felt by all members that Andrew’s talk was incredibly interesting and informative.


Member Janine Kent attended an online course arranged through Hobbycraft with the money from Federation’s Educational Bursary. All the materials needed, and written instructions, were delivered a few days in advance. The tutor was excellent and demonstrated a couple of different knots to produce this plant holder. Janine has supplies left over and is looking forward to showing the Old Moulsham Mavens what she has learnt soon.


We had an enjoyable and productive day led by Susan Sparrow.  16 people attended and made a broach from leftover fabric, a reusable Christmas Cracker, table decoration and a card decorated with quilling.  Thanks for the contribution to the costs.


Our WI art group Tea and T’Art shared a fabulous evening exploring acrylic paints led by our super subgroup leader Dawn Hoyle. Dawn recently attended a workshop with Suffolk artist Christopher Humphries funded by a FEWI Educational Bursary. Inspired by her experience Dawn shared lots of tips and tricks as we experimented with the new medium. We daubed, stabbed and brushed the paints all attempting a beach scene of crashing waves onto rocks to capture sea spray and texture. With guidance we tried out applying paint with palette knives and will continue the beach theme with more painting individually at home. As the sun set on our endeavours we reflected on what an enjoyable evening we had spent together and just how far we have come as a group on our painting journey.

Dawn was delighted with the workshop at Christopher’s studio in Yoxford. She had a wonderful day starting with an introduction to his studio filled with paintings before setting up her easel and starting a painting of Southwold beach with guidance and advice on composition and painting techniques. The day with a professional artist gave Dawn the confidence to introduce acrylics to the subgroup with great enthusiasm and very pleasing results. Building on this success our WI is planning an acrylics painting meeting for all our members to enjoy next year.