Catch up with a Soroptimist Club – St Albans & District

Club: Soroptimist International St Albans and District

Date formed: 27 April 1957

Number of Members: 33

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Our Club has evolved over the years and continues to benefit from the energy that comes from change.

We have a busy programme with lots of projects and events for Members, guests and importantly prospective Members to come along to. This year is our 60th anniversary which we started planning a year ago. “6 0 for 60” is our plan to complete 60 projects, large and small – each the facet of a diamond. We are using this as a “diamond” opportunity for raising our profile!

The Programme is kept up-to-date on the Club website www.sigbi.org/st-albans/club-programme and events are promoted in local media (on-line, printed and radio). We are often contacted via the website by people wanting to join us as new Members, join us for an event, find out more or come and talk to us about their enterprise.

We try to keep Club Meetings interesting – once a month they are a combination of business and maybe a guest speaker or a life talk by a Member. In addition, each month the Club alternates a social event such as a “Nosh ‘n’ Natter” in a pub with speaker evenings where we will invite more than one speaker to cover a topic relevant to Soroptimists in some depth – e.g. pregnancy in prison.

All the events are publicised with lively photos in the main part of the website before and after the event and we also keep a history of Club News so people can look back on what we’ve been doing: www.sigbi.org/st-albans/category/club-news/

Here are some of the recent Club News headlines:

  • 10 Members find Herts Hidden Heroines
  • Soroptimist helps StAR and HWSF sort donated goods for refugees
  • Girls Cricket – Abbots Langley U13 – Winners of Soroptimist Audrey Collins Trophy 2016 – for the 3rd Year Running!
  • £2075 Raised for the Womens Refuge!
  • Club Welcomes New Member Katherine Clark
  • Birth Companions: Pregnancy in Prison – the harsh truth

The Club’s Executive officers work closely together on the management of the Club freeing up time for Members to focus on Soroptimist projects and getting to know one another.

The Club has gained 10 new Members in just over a year so it is important to get them all involved! The Executive Officers work as a team with clear responsibilities, consensual decision making and the President as a figurehead (this is if there is a single President – the role has also been shared). The Club has 3 Project teams each with a facilitator – Violence Against Women (VAW), Learning Opportunities (LO) and Sustainability Environment and Wellbeing (SEW). These teams meet separately to Club Meetings to focus on project work and ensure everyone has the opportunity to contribute.

Guests/Prospective Members are allocated “buddies” to spend time with them when they attend an event so help them feel comfortable and answer any questions. When someone joins they are allocated a Mentor. The Club has a greeter who ensures all guests are made to feel welcome and that everyone gets a name hand-written on an address label to aid conversation (Members who have forgotten their badge are also given a label).

A couple of quotes from Members on what they get out of being part of the Club:

“I value the support of this wonderful group of women – not just the work that we do and our achievements as a Club, but also on a personal level – everyone really cares about one another.”

“Well I realised I couldn’t save the world but by helping and supporting this international group of amazing women, we could surely make a difference – and as they say, if you can’t do everything, at least you can do something- in Edward Everett Hale’s words, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

More about this Club: www.sigbi.org/st-albans.