About our Club

The Friendship Force of Cornwall was formed by our former president, Jenny Dyson, in 1999 after she had been a guest on an outward exchange with the Friendship Force of Devon to Koriyama in Japan. Shortly after her return, an incoming exchange of garden enthusiasts from Baton Rouge had their original destination cancelled and needed somewhere to visit. As Jenny says “Cornwall is famous for its mild climate and beautiful gardens and I had enjoyed such a good time in Japan that starting a club in Cornwall just seemed the obvious thing to do”.

We have around 42 members at the moment and pride ourselves in our enthusiasm and the strength of welcome that we give to our visitors. We are always working hard to increase our membership in anticipation of our next incoming journey with Friendship Force visitors.

Being in the far south-west of England, we are a long way from most centres of transportation. Our visitors usually arrive by coach or train from London, a journey of some six hours, although there are links between London Stansted, London Gatwick and Manchester airports and Newquay. We normally meet our guests in Truro, Cornwall’s only city.

Please note, it often comes as a considerable surprise to many guests on their first visit to Cornwall to see how narrow and winding our roads are. We do point out to overseas visitors that, if you come to Cornwall, please do not expect to be able to travel widely outside our county during your stay with us. We are a long way from everywhere, in time if not in distance!

A typical week’s hosting could involve a Welcome Party, a visit to meet the mayor of Truro; a trip to the increasingly world-famous Eden Project; a full day’s tour of Cornwall and the Farewell Party. Cornwall contains a wide variety of beautiful countryside, stunning coastal scenery, many historic gardens and sites, and is packed with attractions of all types for the visitor. It is renowned as a favourite holiday destination for many British people and our guests can be assured that they will have no difficulty in filling every day with interesting sights and experiences.

At present we host one incoming group per year and travel on one outward exchange.

If you would like our application form, please send us a message via the “Contact us” button and we’ll email one to you. If you would like to see our Constitution please click HERE

Here are a few questions that we are occasionally asked:

Don’t I have to be wealthy to join?

No, absolutely not! When Friendship Force members travel to another club, they do so to meet the people and learn, not judge how they live. A Friendship Force "journey" will cost you about the same as a package tour to the same location - the difference is that you will go home with so much more.

I’m not a good traveller

You don’t ever have to travel if you don’t want to - you can still be a member of the Friendship Force. Lots of members enjoy being either Hosts or Day Hosts, offering home-stays to incoming journeys and they meet other Friendship Force members that way.

What is a home stay?

Simple - when you travel with the Club to another country, you stay free of charge as a guest in the home of another Friendship Force member. You share their life for a week and probably their friendship for the rest of your life.

What does it cost to join the Friendship Force?

Annual club membership varies slightly from club to club. In Cornwall, we currently charge £22 per year per member.

What about travel costs?

When we go on an outward journey, we pay our own travel costs and, in addition, a fee to the Friendship Force as follows: $140 goes to Atlanta to help to pay for the running of the club (Friendship Force is a non-profit making organisation). Around $150 goes to each club visited (an exchange may involve one, two or even three clubs) which helps them provide facilities (trips, parties etc) on your exchange.

I work all day, so how can I participate in an incoming exchange?

You could perhaps provide the accommodation on a bed-and-breakfast basis and let another club member assist you by “day hosting”. They will look after your guests during the day whilst you’re at work. Alternatively, you could perhaps contribute by inviting a couple of guests to join you for a meal one evening, or just provide some food for the welcome or farewell party. There are many ways to be involved in an exchange.

Does it matter that I can’t speak a foreign language?

No, not at all. If you can smile, mime and point, you’re going to do just fine! Even mundane events can sometimes become hilarious that way. Remember that everyone in the Friendship Force is a member because they want to communicate and learn. They will be trying as hard as you. Learning just a few words in the hosts’ language will guarantee a delighted smile, no matter how badly pronounced.

How are Journeys organised?

Each year, clubs decide where in the world they would like to go to be hosted; also where they would be prepared to accept clubs from as guests. This information goes to our head office in Atlanta, where the hard-working staff do their best to match up the clubs. (Obviously, if several clubs ask to be hosted by the same club, only one can go). Atlanta sends out the list of matches for agreement by the pairs of clubs and, if they both agree, the journey is on. A member from each club will act as Journey Co-0rdinator and they work together to agree dates, organise the pairing of hosts and guests (trying to match up people of similar ages and interests if possible); committees of club members will work to organise outings and entertainment for their guests. The success of all journeys depends on both clubs working together.

Isn’t the Friendship Force just a travel club?

No. The whole point of the club is friendship - at home and abroad. Our motto is “Faces not Places”. A journey involves commitment and effort on your part. If you are looking for just a cheap holiday, then the Friendship Force is not for you.

What our members really like?

They are just very ordinary people of all ages who like to do something rather special. We have no religious or political associations, just a desire to learn more about our fellow humans and be friends with them, no matter what their creed, colour or background.

How many clubs are there?

In the UK there are currently 5 clubs. Worldwide, there are over 350 clubs in over 60 countries