Due to Covid restrictions and no in-person Soroptimist meetings, it has not possible to collect any of the items needed for the Mary’s Meals backpack project over the past year. Usually club members collect and donate serviceable children’s backpacks together with an assortment of items to go inside: School uniform, flip flops or sandals, stationery materials, a tennis ball, a spoon and some toiletries and a towel. However, a young student, Ella, has taken up supporting the project on Bristol Soroptimists behalf as part of her voluntary work for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. This was going to last for three months but she so enjoyed encouraging family and friends to donate items for this good cause that she decided to continue collecting for a bit longer! The filled backpacks will bolster the number Bristol Soroptimists will be able to send to Mary’s Meals
As part of our centenary celebrations we have had various tree projects during the year mainly led by Ivete and a further tree project led by Maureen. The first tree was planted following a television documentary “The Queen’s Green Planet”. The Queen and David Attenborough invited the public to plant a tree to contribute to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy https://queenscommonwealthcanopy.org/ Ivete and her husband Reg, donated an English Oak tree to contribute to this venture and also as part of our centenary activities. The tree was planted in the autumn in the Muller Road Recreational Grounds, a relatively deprived area of Bristol. The second planting was organised by Maureen through the Forest of Avon Trust. SI Bristol dedicated 32 native trees to community woodlands. One tree for each of our members and to celebrate our 100th anniversary. In March President Marion, President Elect Sue P
International Women’s Day 8th March 2021 Once again Soroptimist International of Bristol join Bristol Women’s Voice to mark International Women’s Day. Across the world thousands of Soroptimists will mark International Women’s Day with hundreds of activities and events on and around 8th March. In some countries just gathering puts women’s lives at risk. Events highlight the economic, political and social achievements of women, and raise awareness of work still to be done to build a better world for women and girls. Due to the pandemic members of Soroptimist International of Bristol are marking this very special day in a different way to that originally planned. Below is the link to a short video (1.35 minutes) we have made to support the rights of women to equal treatment, their right to respected and their achievements in society with the theme “We Choose to Challenge”. If you can’t open the
We reached our ambitious target and raised £1,590. Donations were made by Club members, but read on! This included their participation in a virtual event (in place of a porridge fundraising event on the Downs) as part of International Porridge Day (10th October) and the Christmas ‘lay a spare place’ appeal. By sending the money before January 31st 2021, the £1,590 was matched through the UK Government’s ‘double the love’ funding programme. Thus, SI Bristol’s donation instead of only supporting 100 children supported 200 children for a school year. Well done indeed.
This is the third year that SI Bristol has participated in the St Mary Redcliffe Treefest. Until this year, it has been a spectacular festive display of Christmas trees in the gothic church of St Mary Redcliffe. This year, due to the restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic, it was an online event. The Treefest Gallery consists of 35 trees decorated by resourceful people in local charities, schools, businesses and other organisations. SI Bristol’s entry is the first one in the Gallery. Thanks go to Denise, Ivete, Jen, Sally and Yvonne for decorating the crab apple tree and to Ivete for taking and submitting the photographs. As of 15th December, SI Bristol’s tree had secured 5% of votes. Check it out and vote. There is an opportunity to donate to this year’s charities: Treeaid (www.treeaid.org.uk) and St Mary Redcliffe Community projects.
SI Bristol embraced the ‘16 Days of Activism’ for 19 days! (22nd November to 10th December) A cohort of our members ‘attended’ The Creative Forum that Tara Arkle organised to replace the SI Weston super Mare annual Railing Against Abuse planned to gather in London this year. This Forum was on 22nd November – three days prior to the United Nations (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women annual awareness day. This multi-year UN End Violence against Women campaign is an effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls. This year the focus was “on amplifying the call for global action to bridge funding gaps, ensure essential services for survivors of violence during the COVID-19 crisis, focus on prevention, and collection of data that can improve life-saving services for women and girls.” The 2020 theme was “Orange the
Our 16 Days of Activism (see programme Action Report “Orange the World”) culminated with a talk delivered via Zoom by Andrew Wallis. In addition to members of SI Bristol, the talk was ‘attended’ by members from our Friendship Link clubs: SI Chester, SI Halifax and by SI Weston super Mare. Unseen has been operating in Bristol and beyond for over 10 years and we have been involved with them in many different ways since 2013. “Human trafficking is a crime. It does not always involve international transportation. Trafficking in the UK includes commercial, sexual and bonded labour. Trafficked people have little choice in what happens to them and often suffer abuse due to violence and threats made against them or their families. In effect, they become commodities owned by traffickers, used for profit”. Andrew is an inspirational speaker and he started by telling us
Ruth started her presentation telling us about the history of Vision Aid Overseas. It was founded in 1985 and the first country to benefit was Tanzania. It has now, for over 30 years, been helping some of the world’s poorest people in African countries to see clearly. Interestingly most people in these countries need glasses from the age of 30 where as in the UK they need them from the age of 40. Ruth told us that the spectacles we donate are of a very high quality. They are washed, prepared and sent to the countries needing them. On a practical note it is important that children who require glasses get them early or they fall behind with their work. Volunteers (4-6) go to the country where they are needed for two weeks at a time and they contribute to the cost. They set up
More Trauma Teddies find new home where they will be very happy comforting children Teddies, 50 in total, were delivered to Next Link a charity providing domestic abuse support and Missing Link a charity providing a range of housing and support for women who have either acute or long term mental health needs. These little bears will be treasured as so often mothers and children have none of their possessions especially toys. Another 50 teddies were delivered to Above and Beyond the local charity supporting Bristol city centre hospitals and other services. This includes The Bridge helping people who have been raped and sexual assaulted including children. In 2013/14 The Bridge was our Club Charity for the year. Prior to that we also sponsored a 4 year old girl who needed their counselling services, at that time the NHS did not fund counselling for children
On September 22nd 2020, 25 Trauma Teddies were handed over to Poppy at the Unseen charity offices in Bristol (top left). The following week 400 Trauma Teddies were delivered to The Park Community Centre in Knowle (bottom left). We have been connected to Unseen for many years and were delighted to see the outside of their new premises. Unseen works towards a world without slavery through supporting survivors and providing them with a safe place to recover from trauma and rebuild their lives. They do not have a children’s safe house but they do have clients with children and the teddies will be very welcome. Wendy, the Supervisor of Families in Focus South, at The Park Community Centre in Knowle received 400 teddies. The Centre has kindly agreed to distribute the teddies to Children’s Services across Bristol.