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Programme Action Report 2023 – 2024

The last 12 months have seen SI Bridgend get back onto an even keel regarding our Programme Action activity after the upheaval of the Covid period. Members have been extremely active in a range of wide projects that have fulfilled our Soroptimist aims of supporting women and girls locally, nationally and internationally.


SI Bridgend continues to work closely with Llamau, the provider of the Women’s Refuge in Bridgend. The craft group, essential cookery, confidence building and pamper sessions have been very well received and have all helped to alleviate isolation and build confidence of those in the refuge. Sue Jones, Sue Davies and Anne Hughes continue to run very successful monthly craft sessions; Judith Lewis, Joyce Chatterton and Margaret Anthony have led the essential cookery sessions which, with the Club’s donation of 12 slow cookers to the refuge, have evolved into ‘meal-in-a-bag’ packs – a project which is currently being further developed; Sharon Dixon has led confidence building sessions and together with Sue Newton has led well attended pamper sessions for the ladies – more sessions are eagerly awaited in the future.

Selection boxes and Easter eggs were given to children in the refuge at Christmas and Easter. We thank Liam Dixon for his kind donation which enabled us to extend the gifts we provide. Emergency toiletries were provided at Christmas and members have been providing further supplies of toiletries, kitchen essentials, towels, china, bed linen, tea towels etc throughout the year. We were particularly delighted to donate 12 slow cookers to the ladies in the refuge to enable them to prepare nutritious meals, quickly and easily. This area is being further developed as we explore the ‘meal-in-a-bag’ packs and potential sponsorship/support from local supermarkets.

We were delighted to be able to display a poster of this project at the Soroptimist International Convention in Dublin in July 2023. Our thanks to Sharon Dixon, Cecilia Hannigan-Davies and all involved in producing the poster and to Rayner Rees and Judith Lewis for hosting it in Dublin.

Pipal Tree, Nepal

This is the club’s primary international project in which we empower women and girls in Nepal by supporting Lily’s Leaves through the charity Pipal Tree. Lily’s Leaves in a social enterprise that trains deaf girls and those from marginalised communities in tailoring skills and silver jewellery making. As well as equipping the girls with skills they can take back to their communities, the trainees have produced school backpacks and reusable sanitary pads for distribution in the poorest area in the south of Nepal. Pipal Tree is engaged in major school building and development projects in the area, renovating classrooms, building and equipping a computer classroom and funding an additional support teacher. Our donations this year have been match-funded through the Big Give enabling us to have an even greater impact. Our thanks to Rayner Rees for her ongoing involvement and for keeping us up-to-date with developments.

Safety of Women and Girls

This is an ongoing project in which members have discussed the issues facing women locally and been made aware of the various support programmes and apps that are available. We have distributed SIGBI Safety Cards to members as well as to local venues such as hairdressers, hotels, cafes etc. We are currently exploring ways to generate greater awareness amongst secondary school girls, as well as older women.

Educate a Girl – Cape Verde Education Project

We continue to support the education of two girls in Cape Verde enabling them to continue their secondary education and improve their future prospects. One of the girls has graduated during the year and the second has a further 18 months in secondary school. We were delighted to have recently received a very moving letter from our most recent graduate thanking us and explaining how helpful our support has been. Whilst the future of this project is under some discussion, SI Bridgend will continue to support our current girl until she finishes her secondary education.

Friends Teas

Steered most ably by Joyce Chatterton, a core group of members have continued to host and provide teas to elderly friends every two months throughout the year. The teas have been very well received and help to alleviate the isolation of living alone. Thanks are extended to all members who act as drivers, hosts and tea-makers. Following a full review it was agreed to continue the project with Sharon Dixon taking the helm and Joyce continuing in support.

Orange Cafes

Members have been involved in hosting Orange Cafes at various locations across the area throughout the year. As well as being a social gathering, these events have provided a platform to highlight the issue of violence against women – assisted by the visual impact of an orange shoe and poster. The events are quietly generating local interest and plans are in play to develop them further.

Special Domestic Abuse Courts – Regional project

Several members are getting involved in this regional project, initially as observers at local courts and later in developing and publicising the report. The project aims to monitor how women are treated in the criminal justice system and to produce a report to ensure that Government recommendations are implemented.

Hands-on support

The club again participated in the Porthcawl Christmas Tree Festival held in All Saints church in Porthcawl. Our tree displayed information about the projects we have been involved with throughout this year.
Members have continued to knit or crochet blankets for the Princess of Wales Hospital.
Christine Phillips has knitted teddies for the Brave Bear Trust. This project has now come to an end.
Members continue to collect and recycle a range of items, including stamps, mobile phones, cameras, jewellery and books – benefitting a range of charities. The list of items that can be recycled is continually updated and members ensure the information is publicised as widely as possible.

Local financial support

Sue Newton is continuing to sell the collectable prints donated by Carys Brown’s daughter Sue. Profits from the sale of the prints are supporting our Programme Action projects.
SI Bridgend continues to support the local Samaritans with an annual donation.
SI Bridgend continues to support Y Bont Special School in Bridgend with a financial donation to enable infants with additional needs to access their care. Sue Davies has ongoing contact and will keep us informed of further opportunities to get more involved as they arise.
The club has enjoyed a number of speakers throughout the year and has made donations to the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) and Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Following a meeting at the school with President Lesley Davies and Lesley Dunlop, a donation has also been given to Pencoed Primary School to enable them to replenish some of their books and also to take less-able children on local educational visits.
A donation has also been made to the Motor Neuron Disease Association in memory of our much-loved member, Carys Brown.

Support to Federation and Soroptimist International

The club has supported SIGBI charities with a donation to the Diamond Education Grant and also to the Benevolent Fund.
The club has supported the International President’s Appeal 2021-2023 ‘Opening Doors to a Brighter Future’ with a financial donation. The aim of the project has been to deliver tangible benefits to some of the most marginalised women and girls in five key areas through education.
Key UN Days: The club maintained a very active social media presence during November and December to create awareness around the 16 Days of Action Against Gender-Based Violence.
Judith Lewis and I also attended BAWSO’s Light a Candle event on White Ribbon Day (25th November) in Llandaff Cathedral in support of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
A group of members gathered together on International Women’s Day on 8th March 2024 to generate awareness of Soroptimist International and the projects we undertake in the Bridgend area.

President’s Charity – BAWSO

As well as having a speaker from BAWSO at the start of President Lesley’s year, we were delighted to welcome Nancy Lidubwi to our Presentation Night to receive a cheque for £1,550 to help support BAWSO’s work with ethnic minorities across Wales affected by domestic violence and other forms of abuse.