Canterbury Soroptimists joined together on Monday July 22nd to celebrate and support the SIGBI theme for 2018 -19 “Think on it”. This asks us to focus on our own wellbeing and mental health as well as supporting others, and is an important reminder to us all of the importance of friendship and care within our club. Eight members spent two hours at Expressions Arts Café in Canterbury being creative, talking, laughing, sharing friendship and feeling happy. During the morning we decorated some amazing mugs which will now be fired before being returned to us. We’re all looking forward to seeing how our efforts look once they are glazed and they will no doubt provide a reminder of our friendship and creativity. Expressions Arts Café is popular with children and families in the area but also works extensively in the community providing opportunities for elderly
Seven club members and some partners took part in the SIGBI Saturday of Service on July 20th, organising a litter pick on Seasalter beach, Whitstable. After approaching the Canterbury coastal warden to see which stretches of our local beach needed to be cleaned, members and partners cleaned a stretch of the Seasalter beach collecting 15 kilos of rubbish and raising the profile of SI Canterbury. As well as supporting our Federation’s Day of Service their work also supported the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life on Water and we are all grateful to those who were able to take part.
Members of SI Canterbury gathered for an afternoon tea party to thank member Maureen Keppler as she returns from SI Canterbury to SI Ashford. Maureen transferred from Ashford in 1999 to support the survival of Canterbury. She served as President and took on the responsibility of Treasurer for many years. Her sense of what is right, experience as a successful business woman and her energy and good judgement are all qualities that have made Maureen a wonderful Soroptimist and advocate of equal rights for women and girls. Maureen engaged with many Programme Action projects and she has always championed Soroptimist aims. Most of all, Maureen brought friendship, warmth and generosity to our club. We will miss Maureen very much at Canterbury, but we are sure she will enjoy being back with Ashford and I’m sure our clubs will now share a very special relationship.
Canterbury Soroptimist Jane Webb and her husband David used tomatoes to raise funds for the Meru Women’s Garden project for the second year. David grew the plants from seeds and then sold them raising over £70 to support the women in Meru, Kenya. Members thank Jane and David for their great effort.
Members from Canterbury, Croydon and Lewes Soroptimist clubs walked 8.5 miles from Shepherdswell to Dover on May 26th. They had much better weather for the second stage of the Via Francigena but it still took five hours to complete the walk! The clubs have now walked the entire way of the Via Francigena in England, from Canterbury to Dover! The next stage is from Calais to Wissant in France. Pilgrims can then walk across the north of France into Switzerland and down into Italy and finally to Rome, a total of 1800 kilometres.
Canterbury Soroptimists welcomed Frances Timberlake from, Help Refugees, to their meeting on May 23rd. Frances gave an interesting and informative talk about the support the charity gives to refugees at Calais women’s camp and gratefully accepted member’s donations.
The international freight forwarder John Shirley Ltd has joined forces with anti-slavery charity Unseen, Canterbury Soroptimists and the UN to launch a new campaign this May raising awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK and across Europe. Stickers plastered on around 200 freight vehicles will call people to action, asking for those who suspect human trafficking or modern slavery to report it. Jane Webb, of Canterbury Soroptimists, said “Slavery continues to harm people in every country of the world. Canterbury Soroptimists campaign to improve the lives of women and girls. We want vulnerable people to know where to go for help and the public to know where to report slavery. We are grateful to our partners for their help to raise awareness throughout the UK and Europe.”
A beautiful Choral Evensong, at Canterbury Cathedral, was dedicated to the Centenary of Save the Children by the Dean on Sunday 19th May. Members of SI Canterbury and Save the Children Canterbury board attended alongside members of the public. Carol Reed, an active member of SI Canterbury since 2000, joined Save the Children Canterbury in 1985 and has been chairman for twenty five years. Save the Children was founded on 19th May 1919 and has played an invaluable role in supporting children around the world since then. Carol planned the centenary celebration at the Cathedral plus a Gala lunch to be held in June to celebrate this impressive hundredth anniversary. Carol with members of the Save the Chlidren Canterbury board.
On two Wednesdays in May members of SI Canterbury’s Anti-Trafficking group organised film nights for club members to highlight this tragic issue and facilitate discussion. Members agreed that watching this very moving story together was a useful and enjoyable way to learn more about the story behind the statistics.
Millie Brierley became the new President of Canterbury Soroptimists at their AGM on 25th April 2019. Millie, who has been a member of the club since 2014, said she was honoured and proud and that she hoped she would be a ‘good enough’ President. Members are delighted with her programme and excited about the coming year.