REGION PRESIDENT SUSAN’S REPORT for May Meeting 2023
It’s hard to believe that I am 5 months in to my year as President. I can see that it will be over before I know it! But it has been an immensely enjoyable time and I have met with so many wonderful members, not least the new members.
The new members’ lunch took place at the Faenol Fawr Hotel, Bodelwyddan on the 26th March 2023 in the beautifully oak paneled Tudor Room. It was well attended by 10 new members and their mentors, along with many Region Officers; 31 attended in total. We had some ‘games’ and some more informative aspects to the afternoon – such as an explanation of how SI is structured, how PA works at all levels and an example of a charity shop pop-up in Holywell. New members were tasked with creating a club project on Bin Twinning and others created a guidance sheet on mentoring new members which will be distributed to Clubs in due course. The event was greatly successful with a warm atmosphere and gratitude expressed by attendees.
My first toe-dipping was to Chair the Officers and Reps meeting at The Imperial Hotel in Llandudno. We managed to pack a lot into that meeting and launched the Lend with Care project which is headed up by myself, Diane Bennett (Region Treasurer), Iris Batman (Region PA) and Gudrun Rieck (Rep). We have since selected a number of women to benefit from this scheme and a separate report is included. This has since been ratified by Clubs and it was agreed that initially £500 from the Region’s deposit account would be invested. Another idea that I was keen to put into practice was a Friendship Link with another Region. Again a group was formed to steer this through and we selected South Lancashire because of geographical closeness and existing collaborative events. The group consists of myself, Yvonne Johns (Region IPP), Maureen Sayer (Rep) and Penny Clarke (Region Membership). Collaboration is in progress.
It was productive to meet Officers and Reps face to face, but I put out a survey of what they preferred, and it was voted that we have 2 face to face meetings and 2 by Zoom. Our next meeting will be Zoom in April.
The first Region meeting under my watch was on Zoom. We had an excellent speaker, Rachel Clacher, who spoke about her Wrexham based charity We Mind the Gap. The charity is designed to build the skills and confidence in young people who have fallen through the cracks and not been given opportunities. A six month course provides them with a route to gainful employment and positive attitudes about themselves. We heard of her latest project to speak to all 18 to 20 year olds in Wrexham who were the Covid cohort to miss out on exams and to establish their fate. We eagerly await the results of this year long project.
Charter and Friendship lunches are part of a President’s perk and I have attended a few so far. SI Bebington had a delightful Friendship Lunch at the Bromborough Golf Course with Annette Maudsley as their speaker. As well as being extremely informative about her role at Heathrow, she kept us amused with many anecdotes.
I was also invited to attend a splendid lunch with SI Llandudno and District at The Imperial Hotel (pictured above). Again there was an excellent speaker, Wil Aaron, who provided us with an historical account of the life of Martha Hughes Canon, 1857–1932, born in Llandudno and who migrated to the States. She was a woman who was way ahead of her time and became the first woman Senator.
There have been a few other events that I have attended such as Tackling Modern Slavery in Wrexham, the opening ceremony of Tomorrow’s Women Chester and the Sherriff of Chester’s Charity Breakfast. However, the visit I enjoyed most was to SI Northwich’s Club Business meeting. What a lovely Club this is – and so much going on. They had a great speaker, Adrian, from Northwich Community Support – a man with a heart of gold – enthusiastic to stop food ending up in landfill and whose vision is ours, to support People and Planet. Voluminous amounts of Easter Eggs were delivered by members and I had the cheek to win their raffle!
I have been greatly saddened by the news that SI Birkenhead has closed, as of 31 March 2023. SI Birkenhead is one of the oldest Clubs and would have celebrated its 90th Charter in June. Whilst the club still had 15 members, no one was willing to stand as Treasurer or Secretary. Some members will transfer, but others will just keep in touch over coffees. Let this be a solemn lesson to our Clubs – that members need to take on roles or dissolution will happen.
Forthcoming Region events:
Officers and Reps Meeting on Zoom: 22 April 2023
Region Meeting at Queens Hotel, Chester: 20 May 2023
Arboretum trip: 17 June 2023
Region President Susan Haywood