It is both an honour and a privilege to be President in this special year in the history of SI Crosby – seventy five years serving local, national and international communities and improving the lives of both women and girls.
Before moving to Crosby in 1976, I worked in Tullie House library in Carlisle. The Dewey Decimal System became my friend and books stood in regimental fashion on the shelves before me, inspiring a love for words, maps, illustrations and beautiful leather bindings. Children’s books especially have always been a favourite of mine – tempting children, stimulating and inspiring young minds with facts and feeding the imagination.
In 1987 I took a temporary Christmas job for four weeks as a bag-packer in Sainsbury’s, Crosby. Twenty-six years later I am still there – but no longer packing bags!
It may seem, on the surface that working in a library and then in a supermarket are quite diverse occupations, but I have realised that they are not too dissimilar. Customers – shelves – ingredients (both food and literature) from all over the world which is there to tempt and inspire. Thinking about both of my occupations brought me quite easily to my theme for the year – ‘Food for Thought’ – food for the body, food for the mind.
After collecting at Sainsbury’s for the North Liverpool Foodbank last Christmas, I was made all too aware of basic needs in the community. I was privileged to be invited to visit the centre to see the foodbank operating at first hand. The volunteers there explained that the community has needs beyond food donations. Foodbanks help to prevent family breakdown, housing loss, crime and mental health problems. They also take time to listen and signpost people to further support.
Continuing with the theme of food, at the Christmas Tree Festival in 2011 I became aware of Sefton Green Gym – a community allotment serving a diverse group of people in Crosby including those who have learning disabilities, older people, children and people from minority and ethnic backgrounds. The Green Gym works towards improving emotional and physical well-being for some of the area’s disadvantaged groups and helping improve the local environment; not only food to eat, but food for the mind.
To complete the focus of my theme, I came across a charity called ‘Book Bus’. It began in 2008 delivering books to schools in Zambia, working with children to inspire them to read. Today, the scheme operates in Zambia, Malawi, Ecuador and India, supplying books that are both relevant and accessible to children.
These are the three main areas that I wish the club to support during my presidential year. I would also like our links with Sialcot Hospital in Pakistan to be maintained, for the proceeds from the ‘small change’ collections to continue to go to the Alzheimer’s Society and for Sefton Women and Children’s Aid to continue to receive the revenue from the sale of Baggatelles.
Programme Action is at the heart of our organisation, generating ideas and activities within the Club and supporting our aims, objectives and ambitions. I would encourage all members to try and become as involved as they are able in these activities.
Reading Hilda’s ’60 Years of Service’ booklet gave insights in to the Club’s history and progression from 1938 until 1998. The focus for the Club hasn’t really altered since the day it started, despite the social changes that have taken place around the world. The need for Soroptimists to continue to inspire action and create opportunities to transform the lives of women and girls is as relevant today as it was in 1938.
In this very special year in SI Crosby’s history, I look forward to all the events planned and in the planning:- The Pamper week-end, birthday meals, Gateshead Conference, the Murder Mystery evening and speaker evenings. Along with those we have the Anniversary celebration, the Friendship week-end, the trip to Sweden and the Alexandra War Memorial refurbishment venture with Crosby Rotary Club who are also celebrating their 75th anniversary this year.
The ever present spirit of friendship which touches us all in some way during our membership truly astounds me. I have been overwhelmed by the love and friendship shown to me and look forward to what promises to be a memorable year with plenty of the fun and friendship which epitomises SI Crosby.
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