The Bursaries 2019

In 2019, Cam City WI turned 7 years old - in celebration we awarded 7 different members with a learning Bursary of up to £100.  The bursary was available to spend on courses or activities that would teach them something new and something they may be able to share with fellow members. 


Here's what our bursary recipients got up to:

Modern Cakes at Denman College 

- Bronwyn R, November 2019

The lovely Cam City WI granted me a bursary to learn new skills and share this learning with the WI.

I chose ‘Modern Cakes’ at Denman, the WI college with the very skillful and patient teacher Kelly Mauger.  I had the privilege of attending WI Denman Abingdon near Oxford with a number of fellow WI-ers. Over two and a half days we were guided to learn how to make two cakes and had other cakes demonstrated. The advanced techniques of tempering chocolate, frostings and making fancy and imaginative art work on the top of the cake made me feel like a real professional. I think you will agree the cakes  did look very fancy! 


I’m not sure I will regularly reproduce the exact cakes as I experienced sugar and chocolate overload and my arteries hardened at the mere sight of the cakes. I may try to manage the calorie count in the final product.


The cakes were a huge success with neighbours, family and work colleagues, and consumer feedback was very favourable! I can’t believe this was a year ago now and that it is the last time I will attend Denman. 

My promise to the committee was I would produce a cake with the techniques or ideas I have learnt to make a cake for the WI. This will happen at the right time in the future. Thank you for the opportunity to participate and pick up some new skills.  My pantry now has assorted nozzles, food colouring and nozzles in it that I didn’t have before! 

Thank you WI for a fab learning experience. 

Adam Frost's Garden School

- Helen L, November 2019

I've been wanting to do a gardening course to further my knowledge and learn some skills to improve my little patch of sunshine. I'm also a super fan girl of Adam Frost and after an online search for classes, I found that Adam himself hosted classes at his actual garden, off of the telly! So I jumped at the chance to apply for a bursary to help pay towards the Winter Garden class. 

His house is in a lovely stonewalled village outside Stamford, so not far to travel for the day. Adam and his small team of staff run the garden school out of a converted barn in the grounds of his house. I was greeted with hot coffee and biscuits to start the day. Adam started with a slideshow of how to plan a winter garden and what plants really shine in the gloom. After a coffee break we moved to his teaching barn and went through the bulbs and bare rooted plants he'd been ordering, and showed us what to do with them. This included fox tail lily bulbs which look like face sucking aliens! 

In the barn I met Willow and Ash, the gorgeous scene stealing kittens, who thoroughly distracted me from important sweet pea planting tips. 

We were put into small groups and had a go at arranging a winter pot with plants that would last all season including ivy, sarcococca, cyclamens and grasses. 

We then had a gorgeous buffet lunch with locally sourced delights. In the lunch break we were free to pop into Mrs Frost's shop, or chat to Adam, or as I did go play in the famous walled garden with the cats. 

After lunch Adam took us round his garden and showed us winter pruning jobs he'd been doing and how he's laid out his garden to include winter interest throughout. 

We finished off with questions from the group and Adam took us round the garden to give practical answers. 

It was such a lovely day, despite the drizzle and grey skies. I was the youngest in the group but I hopefully convinced some of the ladies to try their local WI groups as you never know what's out there. 

And I got a photo with Adam! 

Sewing Machine Basics and Machine Applique

- Lorraine A, September 2019

I used my bursary to do two sewing courses at Backstitch at Burwash Manor last September. 'Machine Basics' and 'Introduction to Machine Applique'. 


The Machine Basics course was to make a cushion cover, we got to pick a plain fabric and a patterned fabric (I chose cat paws) and some buttons.


Was great for beginners, I'd not used a machine since school, some people brought their own machines but you could also use a shop one. We were shown how to set up the thread and then walked through each step of making a cushion cover. 


For the Intro to Machine Applique I think you needed to be able to use a machine or have done one of the basics courses.


The facilitator had lots of patterns for inspiration and lots of fabric scraps to use. I picked a happy cat with a fish, I had thought I might be able to put it on my cushion but that didn't work out.


My design came out a bit less delicate than some of the other attendees but I was still pretty happy for a first attempt. 


I took the days of work for a bit of me time and would not have done these classes without my Cam City WI bursary :D

Introduction to Silver Jewellery Making

- Maeva V, February 2020

Arriving at Jonathan’s house, I was warmly welcomed and offered a drink and some ginger biscuits, which is always a good start.  The class was taking place in the teacher’s garage transformed into a workshop, where he teaches small groups (3 people) and makes his own designs.

He started by explaining the different steps of the process before we practiced cuts and patterns on copper strips (cheaper). Then we started working on our own jewellery.  I chose to do a simple ring using some lace ribbon and oxidation to create the pattern.

When I booked the course I was expecting an introductory session, and already thought about booking additional courses if I liked it but I was very pleasantly surprised by the fact that Jonathan made sure we could continue on our own, not just by showing us the techniques but also providing guidelines and references to buy tools and giving us advice to get started on our own with a minimum investment in money and space. He is clearly passionate about his work.

We had great fun during the course and were well looked after with hot drinks, homemade lunch, and biscuits. And I'm definitely going to get some of the basic tools and start experimenting! I've also convinced my partner to do the same course as I'm sure he'll enjoy it just as much.

Glass Workshop 

- Mary H

I had seen a course at the Lodge Flower and Craft School on glass fusing which looked really interesting and was something I had always fancied trying. Then I saw the note on Cam City bursaries - and that was my nudge to actually sign up!


The location is really lovely, set in a beautiful spot in Hemingford Grey and the class was small – around 6 of us. The tutor showed us the basics and then left us to go at our own pace, although always there for help and advice.


The process started with a piece of clear glass on which you created your design with pieces of coloured glass – and stuck it to the plain glass pre firing with nail varnish! Apparently having tried all sorts of proprietary glass glues this works best! We were able to make two pieces during the day and left them to be fired.


Going back to pick them up was very exciting and I must admit that I was really quite pleased with my efforts – which now both sit in my bathroom!


I am really grateful to Cam City for the sponsorship and would urge everyone – should the opportunity arise again – to go for it!

Modern Cakes at Denman College 

- Ruth B, November 2019

So a merry band of four set off (in what now feels like a very different world) to experience the wonders of both the Denman experience and a weekend learning new baking skills.

We arrived after a very pleasant stop for lunch to join the queue of excited ladies booking into both their rooms and their relevant weekend courses. It was obvious that there was a mixture of ‘Denman Virgins’ like me and some very experienced veterans!

After dropping off my bag (of course I was on the top floor!) we went downstairs to be given a talk on how the weekend would work and some of the usual health and safety rules. The rest of the evening was spent having dinner in the dining room and meeting our tutor in the cookery school as well as having a well-earned drink in the bar and a good natter with both my companions and other ladies coming from all over the UK.

After breakfast on Saturday we hurried over to the cookery school to start learning new skills from our tutor Kelly Mauger who is an absolute fountain of baking knowledge. She took us through all the processes we needed to create our cakes and the day just flew by. On Saturday evening we were pleasantly exhausted but had made our sponges and icing ready for decorating on Sunday morning. There was a lot more to it than just putting a cake in the oven!

Sunday morning was spent finishing both the American chocolate fudge cake with chocolate ganache and a mirror glaze and the rainbow cake with coloured Swiss meringue buttercream. Kelly also found the time to demonstrate a mojito Genoese sponge which gave us yet more tips about the art of baking.

We traveled home on Sunday afternoon with a car full of cake boxes and heads full of newly acquired skills. I’ve made both the cakes since attending the course which were very well received so some knowledge must have stuck (which isn’t guaranteed these days!).

Many thanks to Cam City for the bursary and to Mel R, Bronwyn and Mary for being such lovely companions (and to Bronwyn and Mary for the lifts!).

The Artful Box Subscription

- Sarah N, September 2020

With my Cam City WI bursary, I signed up for a year-long subscription to Artful. This equates to a new box every three months for a year.

I was drawn to Artful as it’s not just a box of art supplies, but a package that would actually allow me to learn new skills and flex my, rather stiff, creative muscles. It was exciting to find the first was an art form I’d never tried before – Lino printing.

After reading the magazine, watching the tutorials and more than a little Pinterest surfing, it was time to have a go. I was a bit tentative at first, just testing the different tools and practising mark making. It was thanks to Mel Reed, who was joining me for a socially distant arty day, who gave me the nudge to start with something a bit more adventurous. So glad to have followed her advice.

It started with a pencil drawing … and ended with an actual card!

I always thought art wasn’t really my thing, but the more I do, the more inspired I feel and the more confident I am to try out new ideas. I already have the next designs planned for playing around more with Lino printing, but I also cannot wait to see what the next box has in store. Thanks Cam City WI!