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Projects and Events March 2018 – April 2019

See also Recent Projects for other initiatives that run each year.

Ovarian Cancer

We arranged for SI Abergavenny to use the charity table in the town market on International Women’s Day to raise public awareness of Ovarian Cancer.


Care Home Ask and Talk (CHAaT) 

Lynn Tanner (SI Member) gave SI Abergavenny a fascinating talk about her work with CHAaT and the incredible difference this makes to individuals she meets through this project. Lynn, C.H.A.aT Volunteer, was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours (2015) for services to the community of Torfaen. CHAaT is a unique partnership between Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) and the NHS Retirement Fellowship (NHSRF). Retired NHS staff, acting as  volunteers offer support to patients living in nursing homes and their families. Volunteers offer confidential one-to-one support to: 

  • provide an opportunity for older people living in care homes and their relatives to talk about their experiences
  • identify those good practices which seek to personalise, individualise, respect and maintain an older person’s dignity
  •  identify and act on what may need to change.

Days for Girls

Turning Periods Into Pathways

Days for Girls increases access to menstrual care and education by developing global partnerships, cultivating social enterprises, mobilizing volunteers, and innovating sustainable solutions that shatter stigmas and limitations for women and girls.

Days for Girls provides sustainable menstrual products and health education for girls and young women. The kits are provided in washable materials to enable girls to go to school as normal during menstruation and women to continue for daily life.

Through its education programme, the charity seeks to break down menstrual taboos such as exit in countries like Nepal and Bangladesh.

To support this important work SI Abergavenny donated wash cloths, face flannels, pants and travel-size soaps which are included in the Days for Girls (DfG) Kits.


STEM Project


Prospects are great for girls in science and technology, teachers from Monmouthshire and Powys were told at an event organised by Abergavenny and District Soroptimists at King Henry VIII School, Abergavenny . Prof Averil MacDonald delivered a talk to teachers from schools from south east Wales on a STEM project ‘People Like Me’. Professor MacDonald has developed this resource pack to help girls to discover their aptitudes through describing their personality.   The programme illustrates that people like them can be happy and successful working within STEM and that STEM subjects can open doors to suit their personality type.

The Soroptimists received a message of support from the Welsh Assembly cabinet secretary for education, Kirtsy Williams who highlighted the importance of STEM skills for women’s careers stating “STEM skills are vital for our children’s future success and it is important that we continue to support the STEM agenda in Wales.”

An independent review by the Open University has shown that 57% of girls undertaking the activity changed their attitudes to science and indicated an intention to study science post 16.   Interested schools can incorporate the activity into their curriculum.

The event was well attended with 17 teachers representing 10 different secondary schools from across south east Wales.  The teachers were interested and inspired by the project; with many wanting further information and the intention of looking to introduce elements People Like Me programme into their own school.

Prof Averil MacDonald

Helping the Homeless (via  Gateway Church)

We are supporting the local homeless by donating shoe-boxes full of supplies. The boxes can contain any range of items from biscuits/sweets or chocolates to socks, hats, gloves, torches to body spray, tissues and wipes to crossword puzzles or word searches. This year we have donated 29 packed shoe-boxes.

Socks for Socktober (Run by Yorkshire Building Society)

We have also been collecting socks in response to the Socktober Appeal and have donated 52 pairs of socks to this initiative.

Yorkshire Building Society launched its month-long Socktober appeal throughout October as part of its charity partnership with End Youth Homelessness (EYH) and to raise awareness of World Homelessness Day on 10th October. Donations of new pairs of socks, plus other items such as woolly hats, gloves, scarves and toiletries can be made at the Society’s branches and agencies around the UK.

There are an estimated 83,000 young people in the UK that are homeless. Tanya Jackson, Head of Corporate Affairs at Yorkshire Building Society, said: “It’s shocking that so many people have nowhere safe to call their home. As the weather turns colder we want to do what we can to help keep them warm and that’s why we’re launching our Socktober appeal. We’re really proud of our partnership with End Youth Homelessness and providing help for young people in need.”

Fundraising Evening for “LifeStraws”

“An experience of Ethiopia” Talk on the Hidden churches of Ethiopia, the people and culture by Susan Langford Johnson

The fundraising evening for ‘LifeStraws’ treated us to a fascinating talk accompanied by wonderful slides showing the variety of landscapes, cultures, traditions, and  people of Ethiopia. During her stay in Ethiopia, Susan was able to travel widely and meet first-hand individuals from various cultures. She also was able to try their delicious cuisine. On her tours, she visited the hidden churches of Ethiopia.  These are amazing architectural structures which are carved into the rock face to create the whole building. Many churches are very inaccessible high in the mountains; only reached by using tortuous narrow paths. Following the talk, we shared a meal that was created using the traditional dishes of Ethiopia.

The evening raised £500.00 for the purchase of LifeStraws. The LifeStraw is designed to filter water and removes almost all of waterborne bacteria and parasites. Each straw enables one person to have clean drinking water for three years.

This was a marvellous cultural experience and tasted good too!






Our speaker for Volunteering for Wellbeing, Jill Cole, (one of the Volunteer Co-ordinators) described the several schemes that the Bridges Centre Initiative ran throughout Monmouthshire.   The two most popular schemes and the ones for which volunteers are always being sought are the Community Car Scheme and the Befriending service.  The Befriending service matches older people who are lonely or isolated with a like-minded friend who can visit or take them out for an afternoon.  The Community Care Scheme which provides friendly one to one transport for people who require extra support to get to appointments and local shops and facilities.   The drivers are local volunteers and they get paid a small amount to cover fuel costs.

Wellbeing also organises weekly informal group meetings where people can chat over a cup of tea and also perhaps enjoy a quiz or some board games.   There are also weekly Craft sessions with volunteer tutors/leaders.    In addition there are now Library reading groups where a wide variety of reading material from poetry to short stories to novels are read and discussed.    Recently Gardening Groups have been set up at Mardy Park where there is an opportunity to work on raised flower beds.

For young people who may have disabilities there are Building Bridges groups across the County where a variety of activities are carried out – to suit the needs and wishes of those attending.

As the brochure says –‘we all need different things to feel well and happy.   Some people may be able to give support while some may need to receive support, but we can all benefit from being with others and doing activities we enjoy.’

It was a friendly and informative Club meeting and we were impressed by all that Wellbeing

achieve through its volunteers and a very small number of co-ordinators.    This is truly a service organisation.

Soroptimists hear about blossoming business

Justine Scouller with one of her displays

Justine Scouller, co-chair of Flowers from the Farm, entertained Abergavenny and District Soroptimists with a lively,colourful talk and demonstration of her work.

Justine is based at Far Hill Flowers near Trelleck, a business she started  with the objective of growing organic British flowers.

Soroptimists and their guests learnt that 95 percent of flowers bought in the UK come into the UK via Holland and are estimated to have a carbon output three times higher than British grown flowers.

Justine Scouller and Sara Phillips, winner of the raffle prize of a tied bouquet donated by Justine.

The event raised several hundred pounds for charity.