Regional Programme Action Report – February 2021
Firstly we would like to wish members a happy and healthy 2021. Whilst we are still living in difficult and very uncertain times…….it will get better and we look forward to meeting up face to face in the not too distant future.
However difficult times have been during the autumn and leading up to Christmas clubs again have risen to the challenge and continued to provide practical support within their communities especially for the elderly who are shielding including SI members and front-line staff in hospitals, hospices and care homes. Funds have been raised and donations collected (food, toiletries & gifts) to support Food Banks, Young Carers, the Homeless, Hospital patients and staff. Women’s Refuge Centres and food collection boxes. The very talented knitters and craft workers in our clubs are still hard at work providing blankets, scarves, twiddle muffs and mastectomy cushions etc for hospitals.
In addition clubs have managed to raise funds for their chosen charities over the past 6 months. Whilst some clubs are able to continue their programme action work by organising Zoom meetings others communicate via emails and phone calls….whichever way you communicate the number of projects delivered and value of your PA work over the past 9 months has been exceptional.
The projects listed below include a number of new initiatives and a short review of activity undertaken during the 16 Days of Activism ending on Human Rights Day. A reminder about tree planting and a list of special days are also included for information:
- Two New Projects – SI Ellesmere Port: 1) The Port Grocery – Club member Rita Lewis started and is still running a service delivering food and essentials to the needy during Covid19. 170 food boxes are delivered daily 5 day per week. Funds including grants to the tune of £55,000 have been raised to purchase goods and to date 9,000 deliveries have been made reaching approximately 27,000 people (average 3 per household). Referrals are from GP’s, End of Life Teams, Child Services and Housing Associations. Rita Lewis was one of the 100 women commemorated for her contribution to society in the SIGBI #WhoIsShe campaign. 2) Flynn’s Port in the Storm Crisis Cafe – A project supported by SI Ellesmere Port and launched early November by 2 ladies including SI EP member Rita Lewis. The project was developed due to the increase in mental and physical health issues. A wide range of professional bodies are also involved and on hand to offer advice and help as required through a referral system. They are looking for more volunteers so if you live near Ellesmere Port or are prepared to travel (once Covid restrictions are lifted) do contact the club.
Two amazing projects developed during the most difficult of times.
- Modern Slavery: Following the launch of Project Glasshouse by Immediate Past President Pam last June Caroline Adams, a member of SI Llandudno took on the role of an ‘investigative journalist’ by contacting – North Wales Police; Local Authorities; MS’s; and MP’s plus BAWSO and Barnardos to find out what was being done to identify and help victims of Modern Slavery. Caroline’s continued persistence has greatly increasing awareness or the need for action amongst authorities plus local and central government. An Anti Slavery Working group has been formed with representation from all NW SI clubs to increase the pressure on authorities and organisations in addition to continuing to investigate supply chains. The forming of a Cheshire and Wirral working group is also being proposed for discussion early in 2021
- 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Clubs and the Regional Communications Team were very pro-active in raising awareness with a range of messages and ‘orange’ screen shots during the 16 days leading up to Human Rights Day. SI Chester focused on daily messages featuring front line workers including refuse collectors, delivery men and etc not recognised during the pandemic. S I South Caernarfonshire worked with the Amethyst Sexual Assault Referral Centre Several and SI Wallasey, Birkenhead and Heswall were involved with the Tomorrow’s Women Wirral Centre. Clubs were also actively working with Women’s Aid and Women’s Centres to promote the ‘Stop Violence against Women and Girls’ campaign.
- Human Rights Day: SI Anglesey walked with banners on 10th December; SI Heswall & District hosted an International Human Rights Evening with speakers from Wirral Young Carers and Barnardos talking about their work with young people; SI Rhyl & District invited Anne McDonald to give a presentation on Anti Slavery and the event was also well supported by other clubs.
SIGBI Centenary Year 2021: The Tree Planting Project is designed to energise Soroptimist across the Federation to ‘Plant Trees for a Brilliant Future’#PlantTrees – Some clubs are ahead of the game and have already planted trees to celebrate our Centenary Year and others are at the planning stage. You are invited to join the Tree Planting Webinar 23 January 2021—14.30-15.30 with speaker John Tucker, Director of Woodland Creation & Outreach, Woodland Trust. He is a Chartered forester with 30 years forestry and arboriculture experience and will be sharing his passion for all things trees. Link to access the meeting: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/359081429 (not accessible before 14.30 on 23rd January)
Special dates for information and or action in the hope that we will be able to meet if only ‘at a distance’ by spring or otherwise via Zoom.
- 6th February – International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
- 8th March – International Women’s Day
- 22nd March – World Water Day
- 7th April – World Health Day
- 10th to 16th May – Mental Health Awareness Week. Theme in 2021: Nature and the Environment https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week
- 5th June – World Environment Day
GO & ER: January 2021