On 25th August 2020, 50 Teddy Bears were given to Children’s Hospice South West at Charlton Farm, Wraxall. Six members of SI Bristol (President Marion, Programme Action Officer Yvonne, Ivete, Lizzie, Pauline C and Sue P) made sure the bears were happy in their new home. The bears will be given to children, who use the Hospice, to help comfort them. Many thanks to Yvonne for organising the event and to Pauline C who made our lovely new table dressing, which made its debut
The theme for this day was originally Climate Change, but with the situation we have been in since the beginning of the year, the theme is now #SoroptimistsConnect. We were asked how we are you connecting with each other and with your local community during lockdown? Also to use this opportunity to let the world know what we are doing to help during the pandemic, using the hashtag #SoroptimistsConnect. Of course Ivete has already done this on Facebook and Twitter Since Lockdown we have been connecting with each other on a regular basis. This includes our Zoom meetings (Club and Committees) talking on the telephone for those unable to connect to Zoom, social distancing in members gardens and joining Marion on her fundraising walking challenge “100 miles for 100 years”. To mark the Day of Action, ten of our members (Yvonne, Marion, Sue P, Liz
In advance of our Teddy Bear’s Picnic these teddys lead the way. As part of our centenary celebrations and in support of Covid-19 patients a collection of Teddy Bears was handed over to staff at Southmead Hospital who were delighted to ‘adopt’ them. We hope it will go some way towards bringing a smile to children being looked after at the hospital. Watch this space as more teddys are handed over.
These six members of SI Bristol each wrote a story for SIGBI’s “The Big Story Challenge”. This was in support of SIGBI’s project ‘Empowering Girls is Nepal’. Collectively, they donated £200, which together with Gift Aid and matched funding amounted to £450. Well done ladies. We received nice ‘thank you’ messages for Daphne Dowsing on behalf of the SW&CI Region and Philip Holmes the Founder of ChoraChroi.
Nurses at Bristol Royal Infirmary launched a ‘Heart to Heart’ campaign to connect families with their loved ones who are unable to be together due Coronavirus restrictions. Club members have taken up the challenge of knitting these hearts in addition to making teddy bears, draw string bags for scrubs, theatre hats, and tubes to help hold intravenous needles in premature babies. St Monica Trust has also welcomed some of the many scrub bags we have made. We will continue to help provide more items as they are needed.
As part of the activities to celebrate the forthcoming Centenary year of SI Bristol , a small group of interested members decided to design and make a quilt using “ upcycled “ materials. Vice President ( now President) Marion sourced unwanted upholstery material from a variety of outlets in the city for free ( they are simply thrown away at the end of each season to make way for new stock. The group discussed the purpose, size, design and colours, being mindful that some of the group were not familiar with quilting techniques, or experienced with a sewing machine. We agreed on a simple log cabin design which could be machine or hand sewed and provided a pattern to ensure uniform sizing of each block. The sashing is made from an unwanted tablecloth and beautiful glass buttons were donated for embellishment. The backing is
On Saturday 7th March we joined many other women at Bristol City Hall, organised by Bristol Women’s Voice, and showcased our work over the years. We showed the work we have done supporting women and girls locally, nationally and internationally. It was a huge success and many people visited our “stall” and were interested in what we do.
Unseen’s specialised care is the first step in the fight against slavery. Through supporting survivors, their provision gives them a safe place to recover from trauma and rebuild their lives. We have supported Unseen for a number of years including Christmas Presents for those in the Safe Houses. Two groups of four Soroptimists, organised by Yvonne , spent a few very convivial hours wrapping up individual Christmas presents and the boxes to house them in. They said “we had such fun together making these presents look pretty and inviting”. The presents were donations from SI Bristol members and fulfilled a pre-determined list of items from Unseen for 8 women and 5 men currently being cared for at Unseen’s safe houses.
Once again we collected items for backpacks for girls and for boys and we were able to fill 15 packs in total! Three sacks contained 5 completed backpacks each and a fourth sack was full up with “extras”: Pens, pencils, other stationery, children’s t-shirts and some large flip-flops. Each of the completed backpack contains: Notepad, pencils, pens, crayons, eraser, ruler, sharpener, pencil case, towel, shorts or skirt, t-shirt or dress, flip-flops or sandals, small ball, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste and spoon. The sacks go to a collection point in Glasgow (free pick up from a delivery company) where they are sorted and despatched to various destinations in Africa, Asia etc. where there is a need. Schools and children in these places all lack the basic items needed for an education. Each backpack is labelled for a boy or girl and with an age range. SI
The weather might have been damp, but it did not dampen Soroptimist Bristol’s spirit at the Railing Against Abuse event. We have supported this event for many years and this year we travelled to Swindon. The Bristol club joined several other clubs from the South West and Channel Island Region. We met outside Swindon’s Railway Station for a walk led by Tara Arkle (writer and activist) through the centre of Swindon to demonstrate against all forms of violence against women and girls and we handed out Healthy Relationship bookmarks on the way. These were very well received and we engaged with many members of the public during the walk.