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South West Region Meeting

Representatives from Cirencester and District Soroptimists recently attended a meeting of  Soroptimists International South West and Channel Islands Region.

The region  comprises 16 Soroptimist Clubs which spread geographically from Gloucestershire in the north and Wiltshire in the east, down to Cornwall in the deepest south west and include Guernsey and Jersey in the Channel Islands.

There are four meetings during the year, one per quarter.  They provide a wonderful opportunity to forge and sustain friendships among like-minded women who are passionate about uplifting women and girls.  Also for clubs to share their projects with each other, to learn and to come away inspired and motivated.

Project Co-ordinator of Cirencester & District club Shirley Alexander gave a heads up of a seminar that the club is planning on Anti-Human Trafficking on 24th November.  Watch this space for details of what promises to be a high profile event.

Regional meetings are also a valuable resource for guest speakers from diverse backgrounds to share information that clubs can utilize in their quest to support and protect women and girls in their communities and worldwide.

Saturday’s first speaker was Lisa Simpson, Chief Superintendent of Avon & Somerset Police. She shared some insightful statistics about serious sexual offences in the region.

Avon and Somerset Police was the pilot force for Project Bluestone, a collaboration with academics which involved research into data and cases in order to provide recommendations on how to increase charge rates and improve support and engagement with victims of rape and sexual assault.

Operation Bluestone was rolled out to a further 18 police forces.  A Government report revealed that this approach, alongside other measures implemented as part of the rape review, has led to a marked improvement in the police and criminal justice response to rape.

More about Operation Bluestone

The second speaker was Sarah, a representative of a relatively new charity “Mummy’s Star” which provides cancer support in or around pregnancy. Helping families through birth, loss and with the beyond.

They provide vital information, no only to the general public but also health professionals about recognising symptoms of cancer that are sometimes masked by pregnancy.

Sarah shared her moving personal story about her cancer diagnosis in early pregnancy 10 years ago;  The trauma and isolation that she felt alongside the recognition that her medical team were ill equipped to provide the mental and emotional support that she needed.

The Founder of Mummy’s Star is passionate about training medical professionals and creating awareness of how their patients can be supported by the charity.

More about Mummy’s Star