Here is a quick overview of the projects we have been involved with during 2016 – 2017.
Until the end of the summer term, a number of members of SI Bridgend continued to visit a local Primary School once a week during term time to listen to and help children with their reading. This was organised and much appreciated by the Headteacher Christina Bach, one of our members. (She retired at the end of August and the new headteacher hasn’t taken us up on our offer for help yet.)
A monetary Science Award (left in Trust by a member, the late Dorothy Worthing) is given annually to two local comprehensive school pupils who are going to pursue a career in science when they leave.
The Club supports financially, the education of a teenage girl in the Cape Verde Islands through the SI Cardiff Cape Verde project. As well as Club support, individual members also support girls there. The Club is sent a photograph and an update on the girl’s progress every year by Gill Delgado of SI Cardiff.
Diamond Education Grant
Members continue to collect old, unwanted jewellery, taking it to Regional meetings for recycling for this SIGBI Charity.
Members also collect other items for recycling, including used ink cartridges, CDs/DVDs etc.. The money is saved in the SI Wales South Health & Education Hygiene Trust charity account for future projects.
Unwanted or new bras are collected for the Glamorgan Gwent Marshes club who recycle them through the charity Smalls For All.
Since December members have been donating good condition handbags, scarves, ties and belts for the Save the Children branch in Anglesey who will be selling them for their Syrian refugee children’s charity at the National Eisteddfod in August.
SI Bridgend took part in the Awareness Day for local organisations in the Bridgend area on one Saturday in the summer. This was an excellent opportunity to publicise Soroptimist International as well as highlight the many local, national and international service projects that our Bridgend members are involved in.
Under the headings of ‘Educate, Empower, Enable’ a number of projects were highlighted including the International Women’s Day event, the Trafficking Conference hosted by the club, the Knitting project for Mothers for Africa, our regular Teas for the Elderly, sponsorship of young girls’ education in Cape Verde and the Water Filtration project in Pakistan.
Fun and friendship was also conveyed with photos of members visiting our friendship link club in Finland, our Christmas Tree at Bridgend’s Christmas Tree Festival and our trip to the Hay Festival.
The display generated a great deal of interest and discussion from visitors to the event and we received a number of enquiries about membership. A lovely day and a good opportunity to spread the word about Soroptimist International.
Earlier in the year we sent money from our charity account to twin a toilet block in Pakistan. Our toilet is twinned with a school block in Tando Allahyar, Sindh Province, Pakistan, a small community in the Hyderabad area. We received the certificate telling us the exact location of our toilet block. In September, Jasmine Jones from Toilet Twinning came to tell the club all about the charity, why and where the toilets are needed and how they are built and maintained. A further donation was given to the charity.
Bridgend Women’s Aid is now run by Neath and Port Talbot Community Services and is known as Calan DVS. Members of SI Bridgend are no longer Trustees but Lily Laesser still keeps in touch with the Bridgend Office and this year, as well as delivering the usual toiletries, has collected sugar, towels and sheets. She will keep collecting from us and will tell us if there are other items we can
This year’s President’s charity was Barnardo’s and, in particular, supporting Barnardo’s in Bridgend and their community support for offenders’ families. Barnardo’s are working with Parc Prison on a Literacy project to support families, women and children. Our President, Bethan, said “Our support will help to fund workbooks for children of affected families – something that has not been done before and that, I believe, is very worthwhile.”
Members have raised money throughout the year by holding a beetle drive, a silent auction, as well as raffles and sales of craft items.
“£2200 in total was raised – £1000 was donated to Barnardo’s at the end of President Bethan’s year and a further cheque for £1200 was presented during this year. At a supper meeting, a report was given by Barnardo’s about the project, what the money has been spent on so far and future plans for the family centre in Parc prison. The recent money will be spent on setting up and giving prizes for a Short Story competition this May.
SIGBI Project – Meru Women’s Garden Project
Following a successful coffee morning and other fundraising, a cheque for £585 has been sent to SIGBI for the project. Rayner gave an illustrated talk at one of our club evenings, to tell members who haven’t been in Regional or SIGBI conference meetings all about the project and our involvement.
Regional Project (SI Wales South)
Members continue to support the Anti-Slavery Initiative by carrying the handbag labels. One member held a ‘Brunch’ recently on Anti-Slavery day. It was well supported by members of SI Bridgend and her church and resulted in £171 being given to the Purple Teardrop Fund.
Toilet Twinning has already been reported on and one member volunteered to help on the Toilet Twinning stand at the National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny on 2 days in August.
International President’s December Appeal: Educate to Lead – Nepal
We raised money on International Night last December when we had supper at Frances’ home with everyone contributing a ‘plate’ of food. A fun Christmas quiz was held after supper and a very enjoyable evening was had by all. The funds went to the International President’s Nepal Project.
WORK WITH PARTNERS & GOVERNMENT
SIGBI Federation Project (Meru Women’s Garden Project) supported – see above.
As well as Women’s Aid and Barnardo’s members organise and support the following:-
- Contact the Elderly – a number of members continue to provide ‘Teas for the Elderly’ on Sundays once every 2 months at members’ Members also provide transport and have a summer visit with tea out as well as attending Contact the Elderly teas.
- Knitting Project – members of SI Bridgend are knitting (and crocheting) squares to make baby blankets for the charity ‘Life for African Mothers’. This is a maternal health charity aiming to make birth safer in sub Saharan Africa. Members were moved to take action after Angela Gorman, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of the charity, spoke at a Club meeting. Last year’s President Bethan said, “Angela was an inspirational speaker and members were very moved by the work the charity does. This is one way we can all get involved and make a difference.”
A total of 65 baby blankets were handed over to Angela at the Club’s AGM in 2016. She will be overseeing the safe delivery and distribution of the blankets along with the large quantities of baby clothing generously donated by the people of South Wales.
Members of SI Bridgend enjoyed the project so much that several members and friends are continuing to knit and crochet. More blankets are ready along with baby cardigans and hats for new born babies.
This year our President, Sue, is supporting ‘Y Bont’, a pre-school facility in Bridgend which provides support for children with disabilities and their families.
As well as the usual fundraising activities, we had a very successful Fashion Show in October, attended by members and friends from across the region and organised by a local fashion shop, Samantha B, from Ewenny. The evening was very successful and fun and to date over £700 profit was raised.
At an afternoon tea meeting at Coed Y Mwstwr Hotel in March, President Sue gave a cheque for £1400 to members of Y Bont and we were told that it would finance 73 more One-to-One tuition sessions for the children and their families there.
Members have run tombola stalls at the Lion’s Club summer fair in Cowbridge and at the English Speaking Union’s summer garden party in Fonmon Castle, raising money for our charities. Our Treasurer is always asking and collecting ‘prizes’ for the tombola stalls and immediately after Christmas is proving to be a fruitful time!
Christmas Tree Festival
The Club once againtook part in the Nolton Church Christmas Tree Festival and has provided promotional material alongside the tree to tell everyone about Soroptimist International and our projects.
International Women’s Day
This March, on International Women’s Day, members of SI Bridgend were joined by 2 other women who had read about us in Seaside News to walk from Porthcawl Coney beach to Rest Bay and back to the Atlantic Hotel (or points along the way) for coffee to celebrate International Women’s Day. Some members wore Soroptimist sashes and were stopped a few times by members of the public who were curious to know who we were and what we were doing. Spreading the word!
Remembrance Day Service
Last November, our President and other members took part in the Bridgend Town’s November 11th Remembrance Day Service and laid a wreath with the Soroptimist Logo at the town’s war memorial.
With many thanks to everyone who has supported or been involved with Programme Action work this year. No need to ask you ‘Why am I a Soroptimist?’!
Programme Action Officer – SI Bridgend