This year has been another very busy and mostly rewarding year with all the Programme Action projects we support.
The club supports financially the education of a teenage girl in the Cape Verde Islands through the Cape Verde Education Project. The club is sent a photograph and an update on the girl’s progress every year by Gill Delgado.
Members still collect items for recycling – used ink cartridges, CDs, DVDs etc. and the money is saved in the SIWSHEHT – Soroptimist International Wales South Health & Hygiene Trust charity account for future projects. Bras are collected for the Haverfordwest club who send them for recycling to a given charity.
Jewellery is still collected in club for recycling collection at regional meetings by Erene Grieve. The money is sent to the Diamond Education Grant. Old pens and markers are collected and recycled at a local primary school with Terracycle.
Members ran Tombola stalls at the Cowbridge Lions May Fair and at the ESU’s summer garden party in Fonmon Castle again this year to raise money for our education charities. A white elephant stall was run at Laleston Church fete. Members contributed gifts and good ‘unloved’ items for all the stalls – after Christmas is a fruitful time!
ChoraChori project – now Empowering Girls in Nepal: How a project can escalate! The club and its members have continued to support this charity and now, of course, it is the SIGBI Federation project for the next 3 years with its own title of Empowering Girls in Nepal, it will work closely with ChoraChori. Helen Murdoch and Rayner Rees from our club are joint SIGBI Project Liaison Officers and are responsible for leading and directing SIGBI in all aspects of the project and will be the main link with our partner ChoraChori. They have been busy already visiting clubs to talk about the project. Sadly, their visit to Nepal had to be cancelled in March because of travel restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully the visit will be rearranged in the future.
Sales nationally of the Empowering Girls in Nepal pin badges have been going very well and more are on order. The original cost to the club has been covered so profits will now go to the project.
Fundraising for Empowering Girls in Nepal took off to a flying start literally with myself doing a sponsored zip wire ride, the longest in the world at Penrhyn Quarry in North Wales with my 3 older grandchildren (not for the faint hearted). Amongst Soroptimists, family and friends, £350 was raised.
More money was raised at a very successful Big Curry lunch held at the end of February in Bryncethin Rugby Club’s refurbished premises. An excellent lunch was brought in and served by the Nepalese caterers Ruchi from Nantymoel. In excess of £400 was raised from the tickets sold and the raffle and this will be sent to SIGBI for the project.
Christmas Tree: This year the club Christmas tree was displayed in All Saints in Porthcawl and in Nolton Church in Bridgend, beautifully decorated by members with woven blue and yellow felt hearts, thanks to Sue Jones and Sue Davies, and tagged with all the charities and projects we support. This helps to raise the profile of our club and the organisation. This year we also has an opportunity to do this at Bridgend and Pencoed Colleges where they had open days for the students with local organisations having stands to promote themselves.
Barnardo’s (Parc Prison): Members still support Barnardo’s work with families at Parc Prison by helping in the café run for visiting mothers and children. We were delighted to hear recently that Bridgend Soroptimists helping there have won this year’s Marsh Trust Volunteers’ Award after they were nominated by Barnardo’s Cymru members working with them at the prison. £100 worth of selection boxes was sent for the children visiting the prison at Christmas time.
Contact the Elderly/Re-engage: A number of members continue to provide teas for the elderly on Sundays every 2 months at members’ homes. We now have 7 members in our group and have had a very happy year with six tea parties, a summer trip and a Christmas lunch complete with Father Christmas in St German’s Church Hall in Splott, Cardiff. We also provide birthday cards birthday candles and a small gift whenever one of our group has a birthday. Although our activities have been curtailed due to coronavirus, our drivers and teatime hosts are phoning our ladies throughout these difficult times.
Calan DVS (Women’s Aid): Members continue to supply toiletries, towels, instant coffee, tea and sugar as well as other items when requested. In addition, 20 selection boxes were provided for the children in the refuge at Christmas time and 25 wash bags with essential toiletries were given to the women in the refuge for Mothers’ Day.
Cruse Morgannwg (Bereavement Care): SI Bridgend is linking with Soroptimsit Clubs in Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot to support this project. This year, £50 was sent to buy 5 worry bears for children attending bereavement counselling. Several club members attended the main fundraising event for this year – a lunch hosted by SI Swansea at Langland Bay golf club.
Y Bont: Craft meetings have still been attended by some members to make items to support charity fund raising for this local charity. £300 was donated from our charity account earlier in the year.
Food bank: A collection of suitable food for the local food bank is made at some meetings.
Operation Christmas Child: More boxes were collected from members in November for delivery to children in eastern European countries.
International Women’s Day: This March, members of SI Bridgend walked around Parc Slip nature reserve, litter picking on the way, to celebrate International Women’s Day. The group was led by one of the rangers at the reserve who tried to show us, unsuccessfully, adders in a muddy field. Even then a couple of members managed to get lost and walked much further than anyone else! The coffee and cakes in the centre on return were most welcoming. The weather was blustery and damp but those Soroptimists who did turn out had good fun and friendship and our latest Soroptimist Sebastian had great fun in his wellies in the puddles and mud – and picked up litter!
Remembrance Service: In November, our President Sharon and other members took part in the Bridgend Town’s November 11 Remembrance service and laid a wreath with the Soroptimist Logo at the town’s war memorial in the centre of town. A very moving occasion and thankfully the sun shone this year. Members also attended the Remembrance Services in Porthcawl, Cowbridge and Maesteg.
International President’s Appeal: This year’s International President’s Appeal evening was celebrated with a service involving members and Priest-in-Charge Anthony Beer in St David’s Church, Laleston, followed by a really good buffet in the Mackworth Arms. Money in lieu of Christmas cards and the money made on the evening were sent to the International President’s Appeal, Women, Water and Leadership.
Conservation: We had a talk last autumn from Brian Jones of Keep Wales Tidy and a couple of members joined him and a team of litter pickers to litter pick at Kenfig Pool Nature Reserve one Saturday. We have plans to increase our activity in the area in the coming year working with the Wildlife Trust of South Wales and the West based at Parc Slip near us. Sadly our talk from Megan had to be postponed this March when meetings were suspended but we hope she can come to us when meetings resume.
All these activities provide a service and support to various organisations as well as raising the profile of the Soroptimist organisation.
Carys Brown, Club Programme Action Officer