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8th May 2017 Two Aunties in India

8th May 2017 Two Aunties in India

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Gish and Lucy gave a stimulating talk about their recent trip to Northern India. They gave a very personal account of their impressions of life in the places they travelled. During their three week stay they learnt about life in India and were impressed with the government’s attempts to increase the number of girl children who are born and who then complete an education. The government pays families on the birth of a girl baby and then at intervals as the girl goes through education. Trying to change such a huge country with many long held customs isn’t easy and will take a long time. They found the country huge, the people welcoming, the wildlife varied and the food delicious. India is a real assault on the senses, as their driver said: “you see anything and everything in India”. Fly drive certainly won’t catch on!    

13th February 2017 Refurbishment of the Colston Hall

13th February 2017 Refurbishment of the Colston Hall

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Louise Mitchell, CEO of Bristol Music Trust was an inspirational speaker and covered all aspects of the refurbishment of the Colston Hall.  She also told us about the amazing music made by disabled students. The Bristol Music Trust and Bristol City Council are working together on the project and amongst other things they plan to: Remodel the existing main hall. Redevelop The Lantern (most of us knew this as “The Little Theatre”). Restore the Victorian foyer and include a restaurant on Colston Street side (the current restaurant will probably become a meetings area). Open up the historic cellars to create a third performance space and a dedicated music centre. Improve the stage and also have access for disabled artists. Install new comfortable seating, air conditioning, toilets and improving access throughout the building Improve the outside of the building on Colston Street. An SI Bristol Club member said

14th November 2016 ‘South Bristol Youth’

14th November 2016 ‘South Bristol Youth’

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At our supper meeting on Monday 14 November 2016 we had an informative presentation given by John Lee about “South Bristol Youth” (SBY), a charity using a new approach to working with young people in south Bristol. We learnt how and why the charity was formed, what it had achieved in its three years of working and the hopes for the future. South Bristol is a diverse part of the city that has benefitted from significant capital investment over the past few years. However there are large areas of deprivation, relatively low but recently improving levels of educational achievement and the second lowest level of participation in higher education in England. SBY has brought together six secondary schools, community organisations and the two universities in the city to tackle the lack of progress that many young people in south Bristol make. The schools work with

10th October 2016 The History of Halloween

10th October 2016 The History of Halloween

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On October 10, Professor Ronald Hutton gave a talk at the supper meeting. Professor Hutton is Deputy Dean of the Arts faculty at the University of Bristol, Commissioner for the Heritage Society and Chair of its Committee for the award of Blue Plaques, as well as Vice President for Life of the Sealed Knot Society. He has written 16 books on Early Modern Britain and Pagan Myths and Legends. He is an inspiring and very well informed speaker and gave us insights into the origins and traditions of Halloween, and discussed the facts, theories and mystiques which have been the subject of academic research and debate between prominent historians over many years. The traditions of Halloween go back to early Celtic Britain and to the ceremonies for celebrating the Dead at the beginning of the winter season. The idea of Trick and Treat comes from America

September 12th 2016 The Vietnam holiday makers don’t see

September 12th 2016 The Vietnam holiday makers don’t see

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At our supper meeting on Monday 12th of September, the speaker was Anne Woolley a member of SI Weston-super-Mare, who had a remarkable story to tell us of her adoption of a Vietnamese little girl called Tam. Anne had 3 little boys and she and her husband wanted to complete her family with a little girl. She saw the terrible, but now infamous picture of the little child running naked down the road having been burnt by napalm, and decided at that moment to adopt a Vietnamese child. She then related how she surmounted tremendous obstacles with great tenacity with the help of contacts that she made in Vietnam, and a campaign mounted by the Daily Mail editor David English to bring orphaned children to the UK and give them a fresh start in life. Anne recalled the terrible air crash in which many of the

June 13th 2016 Hearing from our Charity of the Year – Off The Record

June 13th 2016 Hearing from our Charity of the Year – Off The Record

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On the evening of 13th June SI Bristol’s focus was firmly on the President’s Charity of the Year – Off The Record (OTR). We were warmly greeted by Simon Newitt CEO who informed us that last year OTR celebrated their 50th Anniversary, having started in Bristol in November 1965. They formed initially as part of the Youth Club Association and were entirely run by volunteers, focusing on marriage counselling. How times have changed! OTR’s current mission is to support, promote and defend the mental health rights and social position of young people. Simon told us how the social element of their work is essential, since stresses for young people are often related to their identity which can only be resolved by openly talking about how young people fit into society, alongside empowering them to develop their own voice. Anxiety is the most prevalent condition in

May 9th 2016 The How and Why of Fashion – by Jonquil Brooks

May 9th 2016 The How and Why of Fashion – by Jonquil Brooks

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When the next special social invitation arrives, a quick browse through Jonquil’s historic Fashions may be just what is required for inspiration. Fashion Historian and lecturer Jonquil Brooks recently treated Soroptimists to a very interesting talk and display of beautiful clothes dating from the late 19th Century to more recent times. Very early outfits came in several pieces with intricate fastenings which would definitely have required your maid’s assistance, but moving into the 1900’s both the fit and the fabric became softer and floaty allowing women to actually and work as times changed. Jonquil also displayed a typical ‘power’ suit with padded shoulders and brighter colours – as worn by herself to impress in business. She also showed much simpler War-time pattern Magazines which enabled working women to maintain their wardrobes using whatever fabric was available – definitely early re-cycling opportunities. With much more flexible dress