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.
Monday 25th November at our Club Meeting we had an interesting talk from Emma Murray the manager for Bristol North West Foodbank. Emma spoke about the wonderful work the Foodbank carries out for people who need support in the community and how the system of referral works. She also spoke about how they are expanding the services to a Homebank service which includes the provision of white goods, kitchen utensils, blankets, towels and various other goods for those who have nothing or very little. By March 2011 they had given out 33980 “support packages”. The need is increasing year on year for example there was a 28% increase last year and 24% increase this year. Food is donated, sorted, packed and distributed from 4 pickup points. Clients arrive with a referral letter from one of the 180 referral agencies that the food bank works with.
As part of its Centenary year celebrations, SI Bristol made a target to knit 100 teddy bears to be given to the Motorway Police for children involved in traffic accidents. On 15th October, five SI Bristol members (Maureen [originator], Patti [knitter], Marion [President Elect], Denise [President], Anita [Organiser]) visited the Police Head Quarters in Portishead. They were met by the Chief Constable Marshall and Sergeant Sales, who made it clear that Teddies were a valuable tool for comforting a child involved in an accident. Interestingly, we learnt that the Teddies are not given to children involved in serious accidents, especially those involving fatalities, because of the risk of a long-term association of the teddy with the incident. However, they will be distributed between the Almondsbury, Bridgwater and Portishead police stations and the Avon Fire and Rescue Service. The Teddy bears were placed on the windscreen
On Saturday 19th October 2019 a team worked at Marks & Spencer in Broadmead to collect money for the Lord Mayor of Bristol Children’s Appeal. Helpers stood at the end of the check-out counters in the Food Hall and offered to help shoppers pack their bags. Of seven helpers, four were SI Bristol Soroptimists (Liz N, Marion, Ruth, Yvonne). For the day’s effort, £437.46 was raised making it possible for two vouchers (£20 each) to be given to 10 (almost 11) children at Christmas.
On Saturday, 22nd June, 2019, a team worked at Marks & Spencer in Broadmead to collect money for the Lord Mayor of Bristol Children’s Appeal. Helpers stood at the end of the check-out counters in the Food Hall and offered to help shoppers pack their bags. Six SI Bristol Soroptimists took part (LC, DH, PH, YM, LN and MR). For the day’s effort, £419.96 was raised, making it possible for two vouchers, of £20 each, to be given next Christmas to 10 children.
On Saturday, 16th March, 2019, a team worked at Marks & Spencer in Broadmead to collect money for the Lord Mayor of Bristol Children’s Appeal. Helpers stood at the end of the check-out counters in the Food Hall and offered to help shoppers pack their bags. Seven SI Bristol Soroptimists took part (LC, PC, DH, IH, YM, LN, MR). For the day’s effort, £402.27 was raised, making it possible for two vouchers, of £20 each, to be given next Christmas to 10 children.