Extract from ‘The Weekly News’ 3rd November 1955.
Soroptimists discuss world problems.
More than 1200 delegates and members of the 215 Soroptimist Clubs attended the twenty-third annual conference of the Federation of Soroptimist Clubs of Great Britain and Ireland, at Llandudno on Friday and Saturday.
Visitors from Australia and Canada attended, and a distinguished guest was Dr Louis Bar, neurologist in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Liege, Belgium, who is president of the Soroptimist International Committee for the Advancement of Women.
On Friday evening, the delegates were given a civic reception at the Pier Pavilion and in his address of welcome Councillor John Owen chairman of the council remarked on how wide and worthwhile were the manifold objectives and missions which the various Soroptimist clubs so earnestly and diligently pursued on a national and international scale.
Guest speaker on Friday was Dr JR Rees, director of the World Federation for Mental Health. In his address on ‘Mental Health and Human Relations – a World Problem’ Dr Rees advocated the need for more adequate facilities such as modern hospitals for the care and rehabilitation of the mentally sick, in place of the old type of mental institution. He also referred to the need for more trained personnel, particularly in the underdeveloped areas of the world, and for social acceptance of sufferers as being less fortunate members of the community. But Dr Rees emphasised that the problem could best be remedied by the establishment of healthy moral and social conditions, referring particularly to broken homes and the resultant effects upon children of instability and anxiety complexes which affected their character through life and which were chiefly responsible for the high incidence of delinquency.
Dr Rees’ address linked up with the ‘Four-Year-Study’ undertaken by the three federations of Soroptimist Clubs in Europe, America and Britain, on the handicapped child disabled by poliomyelitis and cerebral palsy, and on the moral handicap of delinquency on the basis of which study plans will be worked out for service work in these fields.
The formal business of the conference was opened on Saturday and the annual report was presented by the outgoing president, Mrs Dinah McNabb, a Member of Parliament of Northern Ireland. The report dealt with the work of the Committee of International Understanding and Goodwill, with particular emphasis on refugees. It was on this matter that the federation wrote to the Foreign Secretary asking that the Government should take its share of responsibility in rehabilitating refugees so that the camps could be closed in the foreseeable future.
Other matters in the report included the influence of the federation on social problems; as consultants at the United Nations, and as members of the liaison committee of Women’s International Organisations whose activities are centred round human rights, the status of women and the welfare of children.
Presenting the accounts, Miss SG Lange the treasurer, spoke of the closure of the Post-War Relief Fund in Europe, which had made grants amounting to £11,230. The fund is to be superseded by a Goodwill Scheme for furthering international relations, one suggestion being the granting of scholarships for the study of home economics. Ms Lange also referred to Elizabeth House the play centre in London sponsored by the federation in conjunction with the Save the Children Fund. Support for the centre was to be continued.
In her presidential address, Mrs McNabb said her year of office had been memorable as it coincided with the implementation of equal pay which was a milestone in the social advancement of women. Mrs McNabb also referred to the work undertaken by Soroptimists, including the care and housing of old people and the many problems that lay ahead.
Miss G.E. Allen, of the Chesterfield Club, was installed President of the Federation for the coming year.
From the archives of S.I. Colwyn Bay and District
23rd Annual Conference of Federation of Soroptimist Clubs of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Llandudno 1955.