The children who attend BFCC get such amazing help and support with development and learning – and the garden area is a big part of this. Our team have been back throughout the season to clear the vegetable beds; leave plants for the children to put in; keep the front shrubbery at the front of the building under control and then to go back and tidy up at the end of the summer term.
Battledown Family and Children’s Centre – Gardening
We have been maintaining our contact with this gardening project and have really enjoyed seeing how the borders have developed and hearing how the children and staff have benefited from the activities.
In September three of us went in again to make a planning visit and to talk about clearing from the summer and bulb planting. While we were there Bev from the Centre mentioned a tree that was really getting in the way and an area where the Lemon Balm had taken over and how some compost would be needed in one of the raised beds …… Never a group to turn down a challenge we borrowed a saw from the lovely maintenance man, Roberto, and set to. Here are some of the results:- (The photographer was our Programme Action Executive, Pat grieve – this means she was working very hard and does not appear in any of the photos!)
We popped in during the hottest part of the summer to see if the plants were getting enough water and found ourselves tackling a Hazel which was blocking the light from a window – and it was HOT!!, hence the rather “limp” Carol and Catriona in the photos – Pat had been equally challenged watering the plants.
Partnership working with Swindon SI on their project
Swindon SI have been involved in a benchmarking exercise of Court Observation on cases of Domestic Violence. This was being sponsored by the Police and Crime Commissioners office for Swindon and Wiltshire after a similar exercise was carried out in Northumberland under the auspices of the PCC there, Dame Vera Bird (who is also a Soroptimist!)
This involved setting up a training event in Swindon, liaising with the Courts; organising a rota of fellow Soroptimists to attend the courts and complete report forms and collate the content when done.
Swindon club had a big task and needed to get support from other local clubs to make up a rota for one or two court sessions to be covered every week from April to end of June. Both Cirencester and Cheltenham have supported and we were very happy to be involved in this most interesting and thought provoking project.
Gill and Catriona were the members from Cheltenham who were able to commit to getting back and forth to both Swindon and Chippenham and to the two day training course.
With the end in view we are looking forward to the findings and the comparison between the two very different areas. In the meantime a group had a most interesting visit to the Horizon center at the Devizes Police HQ where we found out how victims of crime were supported through the Court process.
Back to Battledown – latest pictures
Eight Cheltenham club members regrouped at the Centre to continue clearing the garden and get some planting done in the raised beds. The children are already getting great fun from planting seeds and seedlings so we set up bean teepees and got the cucumbers and peas in. More heavy duty clearing in the public areas has made quite an impact!
We are committed to returning regularly to get the next stage done and move into the sensory garden.
GREAT PLASTIC PICK UP
Cheltenham SI out supporting the Great Plastic Pick up – we regularly go out to mark UN Environment Day or to keep our lovely green spaces clean and safe but this time it was in response to the national campaign launched by the Daily Mail.
Our next venture will be to mark the UN day of the Environment in June
Watch out for the dates adn we can get together and make a real difference.
Battledown Children’s Centre – Cheltenham
Our club has had a long association with the Centre – which supports children with special needs – and their parents. The gardens have become overgrown and the raised beds where the children grow plants are in need of renovation so a group of club members have got together to go on a series of visits to get some heavy duty clearing done. This is the team on day one:-
OILET TWINNING – a presentation
The cheque was sent off and the photograph of our very “posh” toilet block has been received. The Chairman and Secretary of the Victory Club in Cheltenham – our club home – came to our AGM in April 2018 to be presented with the framed photograph of the twin to go on display in the ladies at the club. Tony and Audrey were very impressed by the scheme and will be making other users of the Victory Club aware of it.
Club’s chosen charities 2017/2018 – the final donations
as a club it was decided to have a local and an international charity to raise funds towards for the club year. After some hard work and very enjoyable events – a marvelous Tapas lunch organised by Sheila Hoeman ably supported by Cherry Chappell and the club; the annual Quiz night which involves the whole club and is wonderfully supported by teams from Worcester and Cirencester clubs – we were able to present the Sue Ryder Hospice at Leckhampton Court in Cheltenham with a cheque for £1,000 and are making arrangements to “twin” the ladies loo at club HQ with a school toilet block through Toilet Twinning.
NELSON TRUST CHRISTMAS BOXES
This has appeared before on our pages – but then – we do it every year!
Jo from the Nelson Trust came to our club meeting to collect the boxes and meet Sue and Freda – the members who lead so ably on the project this year.
Jo then gave us an update on the projects being developed and issued an invitation for members to go and visit the centre in Gloucester which we are keen to follow up. The Nelson Trust will also be with us at the Forum on Tuesday, 28th November.
RAISING THE PROFILE
In September 2017 we have been concentrating on preparing the way to get questionnaires on Modern Day Slavery completed by as wide an audience as we can, plus advertising the forum that we are holding in November on The Elimination of Violence against Women. To start the work off we took a stand at the University of Gloucestershire’s “Freshers Fayre” We had a very lively and productive day, during which we handed out cards with details of how participants can undertake the MDS survey online from 1st October 2017, collected signatures on the Purple Teardrop campaign and also gave out flyers advertising our November Forum.
Christmas Gifts for the Nelson Trust Women’s Center
For the third year running Cheltenham Club have made up Christmas gift boxes for the women using the Nelson Trust Center in Gloucester.
This project started when we were gathering information for our contribution to the SIGBI research for the Corston Report on Women in the Justice System. We visited the centre and were very impressed by the work that was being done to support women to rehabilitate after, or in place of, custodial sentences.
The support team told us that many of the women have absolutely nothing when they come to the center. They get support to rebuild their confidence and self esteem through counselling; literacy; art; practical skills from cooking to painting and decorating. They also get help with housing; benefits and finding work.
What is apparent is that many of the women are alone, with no family contacts and few friends. Christmas is a particularly tough time so the Centre arranges some treats – there is a special lunch; if there are children they get a present; but not a gift for the adults. This is where we got involved.
The first year we made up 30 gifts – shoe boxes covered in pretty Christmas paper and filled with small items that should appeal to women – little practical items and some just “pretties” – a nail polish; a note book and pen; a jazzy pair of socks; hand cream; sweets and etc.
The feedback was humbling – the recipients loved the boxes and were delighted with their contents – we seemed to have got it right so we repeated last year.
This year when we asked if Nelson trust would like us to do it again they said “Yes, please – but we have expanded our activities and there will be 45 women at the Christmas lunch”
The club took up the challenge! We set to and collected together all the usual bits and pieces, just rather more of them. Secretary Judith gave up half her house to storing and sorting and, a team of 5 got together to pack the boxes.
Judith’s car was filled to the gunnels and she and Barbara delivered the gifts to Gloucester in good time for the party which is held in mid December.
The Modern Day Slavery event
Monday November 21st 7.30 -9.30pm
The purpose of the event was to raise awareness, challenge complacency and inform action and all these aims were met. We learned about definitions, current activities, signs to look out for and how to contact the authorities and charities to report concerns.
We showed the file “Yoke Farm” for a visual example and had a lively Question and Answer session.
Feedback from the people attending was immensely positive and we were thanked for putting together a lively and informative event.
Martin Surl, Police & Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire and the lead on Modern Slavery in Gloucestershire, DCI Gavin Webb.
The Road Haulage Association was represented by Steve Barry – Business Unit Director (South)
We were also very pleased to welcome the two first citizens of our town, r Cheltenham Mayor, Councillor Chris Ryder and Deputy Mayor Councillor Klara Sudbury. It seems appropriate that they were in attendance supporting Soroptimists.
This was a well attended event with 72 local people coming together to learn more about this very important subject.
Soroptimists will be glad to know that we upheld tradition and had a very pleasant tea break, making our guests hot drinks and feeding them home made “cookies”.
Some more examples of our on-going project work activities
Supporting ISIS Women’s Centre in Gloucester, raising awareness of the difficulties facing women in the criminal justice system
Marking United Nations Days; International Women’s Day, Literacy Day, Day of Peace, Human Rights Day
Supporting petitions against Trafficking, Female Genital Mutilation and Purple Teardrop’s ‘Ban Sex for Sale’ adverts
Donating filled toilet bags for Stroud Women’s Refuge
Supplying cakes for the Butterfly Garden’s Sunday café
Arranging speakers from Save the Night; Sue Ryder Hospice; Nowans Community Trust; Modern Bee Keeping; Head Park Ranger on the Environment.
UN Day of the Environment 6th June 2016
To mark The UN Day of the Environment our Project Executive, Patricia Grieve, contacted Janice Peacey; from Cheltenham Borough Council; who looks after maintaining our wonderful green areas in Cheltenham. Janice had no hesitation in finding a very necessary job for the team – a clean up and prune of the entrance to Sandford Park. Our team of five was warmly welcomed by a group from The Friends of Sandford Park who wage a constant battle on the lush green areas of a large and well used park area to keep it litter free and, particularly at this time of year when everything is growing so quickly, to keep the greenery and brambles at bay.
The gateway to the park was getting very overgrown so that is where we set to.
We can now look forward to the Club event on the 20th June 2016 when we will be hearing about modern Bee Keeping.
Clean for the Queen
On April 20th, the day before the Queen’s 90th birthday, five members met to undertake a “Clean for the Queen” litter pick.
International Women’s Day 5th March 2016
This year we marked IWD by arranging for a display in Cheltenham’s busiest shopping area, Regents Arcade, to promote the theme of Parity and to raise the profile of Soroptimism. We ran a rota throughout the day and engendered a lot of interest from passers by.
Those people who expressed an interest in the club have been invited to our information evening on Monday, 16th April 2016.