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WHAT WE DO

Our members are involved in many voluntary and community activities on an individual level. But much of the ethos of Soroptimism is getting together to improve the lot of women and girls, not just in our community, but all round the world. As a Club we may be a small drop in the ocean of need, but as part of a large international organisation of 80,000 women, we feel we are making a difference.

Here are some of the things we do:

FUNDRAISING

Our Club President’s charities this year are Riding for the Disabled and support for refugees in and from Ukraine (via Soroptimist Clubs in the surrounding nations).

In recent years we have raised money for the Eastbourne Samaritans, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Changing Faces, the JPK Project, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, women’s cancer charities,the Eastbourne Foodbank and many other local and national charities.

Internationally, we have been working with our Soroptimist link club in Japan on various projects including improving conditions for children affected by the Japanese tsunami and raising money for work with street children in Kenya. We have also supported Mary’s Meals, Love-in-a-Box and Médecins sans Frontières‘ work with Ebola victims, and more recently, along with other UK Soroptimist Clubs, the Meru Women’s Garden Project in Kenya.

And one of our members recently walked the South Downs Way to help fundraise for the important work of Care for the Carers.

Coffee morning in support of Care for the Carers

But Soroptimism isn’t just about raising funds. Here are some of our other activities:  

PRACTICAL ACTIVITIES

Christmas boxes for Eastbourne Refuge

We support the local Women’s Refuge with parcels of toiletries, Mother’s Day gifts, Easter eggs, and Christmas boxes, contributed by Club members and their friends.

 

 

 

We’ve also filled shoe-boxes with small Christmas gifts for local homeless people, in conjunction with the Salvation Army in Eastbourne.

 

 

 

 

Each December we join up with the Lewes Soroptimists at the local Foster Carers’ Christmas Party, helping to provide and wrap presents from which children can choose something to give their foster parents.

We also support the Girls’ Network mentoring charity which aims to help local school girls achieve their potential.

Some of the Club members  meet once a month for craft activities, which started when the local hospital asked us for small blankets to cover the knees of elderly patients in the Frailty Ward. The Crafts Group have been knitting 15cm squares and sewing them together to make these knee blankets. This is now a contining activity because many of the patients become so attached to their blankets that they take them home with them when they leave hospital! The Crafts Group also makes Twiddle Muffs for patients suffering with dementia who like to have something to hold and fiddle with.

A recent initiative has had Club members sewing heart-shaped cushions for the local hospital to give to women recovering from mastectomies – they’re more comfortable to use than conventional cushions. And we continue to knit baby blankets for the local Foodbank.

AWARENESS-RAISING

In the past we have campaigned at Eastbourne Borough Council level about the dangers to wildlife and property caused by helium-filled and ‘Chinese’ balloons, lobbied for a more regular breast-screening schedule in the Hailsham area, and helped with beach cleans and surveys for the Marine Conservation Society.

Beach Clean in support of Plastic Free Eastbourne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have also taken part in various activities to promote particular causes, such as the future funding of social care, human trafficking survey and the NHS 10-year plan for East Sussex.

Club members have been involved with the WASPI campaign which is fighting for all British women adversely affected by the changes to the State Pension law.

We have been raising awareness and gathering signatures for the Purple Teardrop Campaign to oppose the trafficking of women and children.

Several members do shifts on the Eastbourne Dementia Action Alliance advice stands in Eastbourne town centre.

In March 2018 Eastbourne Soroptimists organised a conference to celebrate International Women’s Day. This was held in Eastbourne’s imposing Town Hall, with speakers from different spheres of influence in the county. It attracted a good number of outside participants, thanks to a lot of hard work by the local Soroptimists and the invaluable help of the then-Mayor and her staff. (Photos: Jo Egan and Jane de Wecke)

International Women’s Day Conference at Eastbourne Town Hall