Skip links

Projects and Events May 2019 – April 2020

Our club representative for 2019-2020

Jean Thomas handing over the Chair to Darryth Jenkins. Jean chaired on behalf of the outgoing presidential group. Darryth has agreed to be the public representative of the club for the year 2019 – 2020.

SI Abergavenny & District become Dementia Friends

A Dementia Friend is somebody that learns about dementia so they can help their community. Dementia Friends help by raising awareness and understanding, so that people living with dementia can continue to live in the way they want.

Debbie Powell Assistant Home Administrator, Foxhunters Care Community kindly delivered the Dementia Friends Session at their establishment in Llanfoist. The session was informative and thought-provoking. The session also offered an opportunity to ask questions and find out how we can all help. Debbie was a wonderful host and after a tour of Foxhunters we were treated to coffee, tea and delicious cakes.

What does a Dementia Friend do?

Dementia Friends help people living with dementia by taking actions both big and small. These actions don’t have to be time-consuming. From visiting someone you know with dementia to being more patient in a shop queue, every action counts! Dementia Friends can also get involved with things like volunteering, campaigning or wearing a badge to raise awareness.

Who can be a Dementia Friend?

Everyone! Dementia Friends is open to anyone who wants to help people with dementia in their community.


 Soroptimists boost local projects…

An innovative water purification project will benefit from funds raised by Abergavenny and District Soroptimists.

The club staged an Ethiopian themed evening to raise £500 for Lifestraws, an ingenious device that makes water safe to drink in challenging environments and where disaster relief is being provided.

Brynmawr Rotary Water Projects are the only charity in the UK working with Lifestraws and directors of the project Rotarians Chris Thorpe and Vic Meredith are pictured receiving the cheque from Abergavenny Soroptimist’s Officiating President Darryth Jenkins.

Presenting Michelle Sawyer of Abergavenny Women's Aid with a Cheque and Trauma Teddies

The Abergavenny club also recently presented a cheque for £200 and Trauma Teddies to Abergavenny Women’s Aid whose refuge support worker Michelle Sawyer is pictured with Darryth.

Twiddle Muffs - donation to local mental health unit

The Teddies were made by members and friends of the Soroptimists who have also been busy making Twiddle Muffs which have been donated to a local mental health unit following a talk by Registered Mental Nurse Sarah Evans who is also Darryth’s daughter.


Abergavenny Soroptimists are part of the worldwide organisation Soroptimist International which is committed to a world where women and girls together achieve their potential, realise aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong and peaceful communities worldwide.


Life Between The Wars

A themed fundraising event with a presentation entitled “Life Between The Wars” delivered by Macolm Meadows.

Malcolm’s enlightening talk covering social and political changes in the 20s and 30s.The presentation was highlighted by photos and music that brought the period between the wars to life,

The Abergavenny and District Soroptimists and guests got into the mood of the era and dressed in the style of the 20s and 30s.

Following the presentation a buffet including foods typically eaten during the period between the wars was enjoyed.


As a Club we contribute practical items to a number of organisations on an ongoing basis – and sometimes as a one off, as we learn of the need.

Cyfannol (formerly called Women’s Aid)

In October 2019, for the first time we collected and donated Baby Boxes containing items such baby grows, sleep suits, hand knitted cardigans and hats, soft toys, a blanket, packs of nappies and a range of baby toiletries.   This was in response to a growing need of families entering the Refuge.   In addition we donate items each Christmas usually nice toiletries for the women and toys and books for the children.


To mark World Food Day on 16 October, for the second year running we donated 31.5 kg of foodstuffs (which is equivalent to 14 meals) and toiletries to our local Foodbank.    With 23% of children in Monmouthshire living below the poverty line the Foodbank is a vital resource. Thank you to everyone for their donations.


We have found a very worthwhile destination for our books.    Over the summer and early autumn we donated approx. £100 worth of second hand books to Ty Siriol, an Elderly care and Dementia Unit in Pontypool   These will be available to patients and visitors for a small fee and help to raise funds for new projects for the clinic.

Trauma Muffs

Since April 2019, 30 muffs have been donated to Ty Siriol unit and a further 3 to Social Services at Mardy Park to distribute as appropriate.     The muffs have been knitted by a Club member.


The very smart Teddies (31 in total) knitted by two of our members have been widely distributed locally to Cyfannol, to Nevill Hall Children’s ward, a couple of local primary schools and also to the Police, Fire and Ambulance services to give to young children who might be traumatised.

Abergavenny Town of Sanctuary

Abergavenny Town of Sanctuary logo

Dr Lyndsay Wright presented a fascinating talk about background and role of the Abergavenny Town of Sanctuary and her first-hand experience as a supporter and team member.

Abergavenny Town of Sanctuary is a voluntary organisation which is affiliated to a nationwide initiative, the City of Sanctuary which was established in 2009 in Sheffield. Abergavenny Town of Sanctuary offers a welcome towards refugees and asylum seekers with dignity and respect. Wales has now become a Nation of Sanctuary.

In August 2016, initially, three Syrian families were settled in Abergavenny as part of the Government resettlement scheme. Every local authority in Wales agreed to support this resettlement scheme. Lyndsay outlined her role in the resettlement scheme and the positive effects on the families.

The Abergavenny Town of Sanctuary has 80 supporters. Supporters meet the families in an informal setting at the Conversation Café.

Soroptimists Say NO to Violence Against Women

Last year over 1.3 million women were subjected to violence including domestic abuse, rape, forced marriage, and sexual exploitation. There uncounted numbers of emotional and financial manipulation and online harassment.

November 25th is the day that the United Nations have designated for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls. Soroptimists in Abergavenny and district are supporting this with an awareness campaign running from November 23rd to December 8th.

During that time local shops will be displaying the Say No poster supported by the mannequin outside the library, a tourist office window, banners and ribbons.

On Saturday Nov 23rd and Tuesday 26th members of the club will be present in High Cross, Abergavenny to talk about the purpose of the campaign and to hand out leaflets.

We are not alone: branches of the WI are staging action and Cyfannol (Womens’ Aid) will have an exhibition in Plas Gunter Mansion.

Our Regional President

Congratulation Lesley on your role as Regional President for South Wales.

Daryth presenting Lesley with a bouquet of flowers
Darryth Jenkins presents Lesley Morgan MBE with a bouquet of flowers

Package-free Shopping

Chloe and Robin Masefield, seen here with their small baby, started up their company ‘Natural Weigh’ with the aim of promoting sustainability and this is why they set up Wales’ first zero waste shop.   They explained how selling organic, additive free food from hoppers in their shop in Crickhowell straight to customers’ own containers helped us live a more sustainable life. The grocery retail sector in general was the biggest user of plastic packaging in the UK so Natural Weigh went to great lengths to source sustainable packaging when buying their stock.   For consumers they believe every day choices make a difference.

Their aim was for their company to be part of the plastic solution in the UK.

Chloe and Robin Masefield with Darryth
Chloe and Robin Masefield with Darryth

Abergavenny and District Soroptimist International STEM (Science Technology and Maths) Award

Darryth presents the annual Abergavenny and District SI STEM Award to Jessica Miles at King Henry VIII School presentation evening.

Abergavenny and District STEM Award presentation
Darryth presenting shield and £20 book token to Jessica Miles

Lockdown Activity

The club has been busy during lockdown knitting Trauma Teddies, Twiddle Muffs, and Christmas and Easter knits for the Velindre Cancer Care Centre fundraiser. Supporting charities through knitting has long been a tradition at SI Abergavenny.

Valerie has been by far  the busiest!

eddies in Abergavenny observe PPE
Teddies in Abergavenny observe PPE but have been allowed to relax social distancing rules
Valerie with Trauma Teddies, Twiddle Muffs
Valerie has been busy knitting in lockdown

Then and Now

In 1991 our members were busy knitting Teddies for Tragedies

Knitting through the yearss
Teddies for Tragedies (l to r) Judy Jenkins, Joyce Breillat and Elizabeth Jones.