It isn’t an easy time if you aren’t at home for Christmas and that is certainly true for the children who find themselves in the Women’s Refuge at this time of year. To help ease things for them, Bridgend Soroptimist members bought and wrapped small gifts for the eleven children aged between one and 14. On behalf of Bridgend Soroptimists Past President Sue Davies was delighted to present Katie Davies, regional manager of CALAN DVS, with the gifts and a selection of goodies for distribution to residents at the Bridgend Refuge. Katie thanked the club for their donation and said such generosity means so much to the women and children who have fled domestic violence, as they will be able to celebrate the season and have some fun. She emphasised that being in an unfamiliar place with strangers is incredibly stressful for children and CALAN
Celebration evening at Rayner’s home to enjoy the festive season and also raise money for the International President’s appeal. Members also participated in the special Water Advent Calendar produced as a fundraiser for the appeal. The calendar was a fun way to remind us how much water we use and just how much we take it for granted.
Following the excitement of having won the next Federation Project with Empowering Girls in Nepal, SI Bridgend is keen to continue supporting ChoraChori before the SIGBI project is officially launched in October 2019. Several members had unwanted jewellery and handbags and decided to have a stall selling these items at the SI Wales South Regional meeting in December. We were delighted to raise over £150. Club President Helen Murdoch said, “Together with a further £500 from the Club’s Charity account, we were able to make a significant donation – this was made even more significant as the sum was doubled through the Christmas Big Give Appeal. This will certainly go a long way to helping ChoraChori in their work with vulnerable and trafficked girls in Nepal.”
Bridgend Soroptimists once again took part in the Bridgend Christmas Tree Festival held at Nolton Church. As the Club is supporting ChoraChori, the tree was decorated with beautifully made gift pouches which contained a felt heart-shaped pocket to hold a baby’s first tooth. Club members made the organza keepsake bags as exact copies of the ones produced by the girls in Nepal who sew and craft a variety of items which they sell to raise funds for ChoraChori. The tree was very well received and helped raise awareness of the work undertaken by ChoraChori.
The 25th of every month has been designated as Orange Day by the UN Women campaign Say No, UNiTE to End Violence against Women. Participants the world over are encouraged to wear a touch of orange in solidarity with the cause – the colour symbolizes a brighter future and a world free from violence against women and girls. Bridgend Soroptimists certainly ‘oranged their world’ at their recent business meeting. President Helen said, “As Sunday 25 November is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, this was an ideal opportunity to show our support and to tell others about the campaign.” #OrangeTheWorld
A simple shoe-box packed and gift-wrapped with love can have a huge impact. Bridgend Soroptimists once again packed their shoe-boxes full of toys, hygiene items and school supplies for children overseas. The shoe-boxes were collected and will be distributed by Operation Christmas Child.
18,378! That’s how many people signed the End Hunger UK petition to ask Prime Minister Theresa May to ‘fix Universal Credit’ – and members of Soroptimist International of Bridgend were among that number. The petition which was produced by End Hunger UK seeks to tackle food poverty in the UK claiming that everyone should have access to good food and nobody should have to go to bed hungry. Evidence from front-line food aid providers across the UK reveals that the roll-out of Universal Credit is currently causing hardship for vulnerable people and putting pressure on emergency food supplies. Members of Bridgend Soroptimists came across the petition when they were supporting their local Foodbanks run by The Trussell Trust. Bridgend Soroptimist Club President Helen Murdoch said, “Local Foodbanks have been telling us about people who have found themselves in debt or food poverty as a result
President Elect Sharon and seven members of Soroptimist International of Bridgend attended the Remembrance Day service in Bridgend, with other members attending services in Porthcawl and Maesteg. President Elect Sharon laid a poppy wreath on our behalf. This year’s commemoration was even more poignant than usual owing to it being the 100th anniversary of the WW1 armistice. The names of all the men on the memorial who died in WW1 were read out during the wreath laying in Bridgend. A special service was held in All Saints church on the Saturday evening, as well as the usual Remembrance Day Service on the Sunday morning. Again the names of all the men who gave their lives from the town in WW1 were read out and a display commemorating each of them was mounted by Porthcawl Museum in the back of the church.
What a journey this had been. Rayner Rees introduced us to ChoraChori and its CEO Philip Holmes having been impressed with the project when they had gained funding through the Soroptimist International Educate to Lead programme. Philip captured the hearts of Bridgend members when he spoke to us in a Club meeting in November 2017. The idea to propose it as the next Federation project was born and Empowering Girls in Nepal began to take shape. A small group of members worked on the initial proposal and having been shortlisted everyone got involved. Helen and Rayner together with Philip put the full proposal and presentation together – and then shared their efforts with the whole club. Following an evening of critical review, the presentation was re-worked slide-by-slide, word-by-word! Now we were ready for Liverpool! Four projects were shortlisted: Empowering Girls in Nepal HEAL Mayuge Think
Six Bridgend Soroptimists and one Soroptimister attended the 84th Federation Conference held in Liverpool Arena and Convention Centre. The theme of the conference was Empower Today, Enable Tomorrow and it was packed with fantastic content. Keynote speakers included Terry Waite CBE who had us mesmerised with his calm yet powerful address, adventurer Sally Kettle who told us about rowing across the Atlantic with her mother and Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE, who had us all on the edge of our seats as he regaled us with his incredible lifetime of adventures. Our other speakers, including Emily Rose Yates, Ellie Bird, Dt Ann-Marie Wilson and Professor Helen Pankhurst informed, entertained and engaged us, as did the updates on a wide range of Soroptimist projects. The General Meeting heralded the business of the Federation and the selection of the new Federation Project was exciting and daunting as