And I visited a number of Clubs to meet their members during business meetings: SI Anglesey, SI Bebington, SI Runcorn and Frodsham, SI Llandudno, SI Heswall, SI Chester, SI Northwich and in August SI Ellesmere Port and in September SI Nantwich and SI Denbigh’s Macmillan coffee morning.
Another highlight was the afternoon I spent at the Eisteddfod. We were blessed with a warm day and it was my privilege to present the beautiful dancers from Thailand with a certificate and £200 donation towards their costs. I watched their colourful and upbeat dance in the main tent and they were delighted to get second place. Our tent, this year in a great location, had been set up immaculately by the LIME committee to appeal to passers-by to enter. Jewellery, bags and scarves brought in much needed revenue.
Other events I have attended have included both face to face and Zoom meetings with Programme Action Officers and regular meetings with the PA Officer, Treasurer, Secretary and Membership. I also went to the opening ceremony of Tomorrow’s Women Chester and the Sheriff of Chester’s Charity Breakfast. I attended the North West England’s Conference in Brockholes near Preston and a Modern Slavery Conference in Wrexham. I will be going to Dublin for the Convention and (undecided) this year’s Conference in London.
A number of initiatives have been set up this year.
An informal friendship link with South Lancashire has seen two meetings with their team of five and our team of four. South Lancs were very keen that the link be kept as informal initially with an exchange of News Letters, shared ideas of projects and membership recruitment. The Micro loans project saw the release of £500.00 from the Region account to help women with their sanitation and businesses managed by a team of four. We endeavour to loan to single women, single mothers and widows. Steady loan repayments have enabled us to begin reinvesting across the globe. As well as the new member’s guidance sheet I have also produced a guidance sheet on trying to standardise information to members concerning Charter Dinners and other Region events.
I have also joined the SIGBI Microloans team and we meet monthly. Although on a larger scale than that at Region, it has provided an insight into the management and accounting that we can adopt or strive for.
My President’s Appeal to collect products for period poverty was overwhelming. All clubs participated and brought vast amounts of products to the Region meeting in May at The Queen Hotel. I asked for a mountain – and that is what I got. The products were taken back to Clubs for their own distribution to local food banks or other outlets. Well done to all the Clubs for giving so generously and providing women in your area with some dignity. Photographs were sent to The King and Queen, but sadly no reply was received. This project was linked with The Big Help Out to get Soroptimist publicity on Social Media. Penni Nicholas gave clubs training on how to use the App in order to gain publicity and volunteers for the BHO.
I would like to thank all the Officers for their expertise and professionalism in their roles and if I can be indulged in naming a few; Pat for keeping me on track and with whom I have met on many occasions, Janet who helped me with the Arboretum trip, Diane who has navigated hotel contracts and bookings, Penny for her help with the New Member’s Lunch and all the other Officers. Thank you also to the Club Reps who have attended meetings, whether that be on Zoom or face to face. Above all, thank you to all the Region members who continue to come to Region meetings and, as a consequence, give us unity, a common friendship and a feeling of being one big family.
I have enjoyed my year as Region President and will be reluctant in some ways to hand over to Janet in November, but on the other hand it has been a busy year – a full time job – and I look forward to having something of a rest
Region President Susan Haywood