Our members are involved in many voluntary and community activities on an individual level. But much of the ethos of Soroptimism is improving 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:
Our President’s Charity this year is Care for the Carers in Eastbourne who represent and support unpaid carers who often face so many challenges.
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, breast cancer charities,the Eastbourne Foodbank and various 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. We have also supported the Meru Women’s Garden Project along with other British Soroptimist Clubs.
One of our members recently walked the South Downs Way to help fundraise for the important work of Care for the Carers .
Club boot fair to raise club funds
But Soroptimism isn’t just about raising funds. Here are some of our other activities:
We support the local Women’s Refuge with parcels of toiletries, Easter eggs, etc.
Christmas Boxes for Eastbourne Refuge.
Once again Eastbourne Soroptimists have prepared Christmas boxes for Eastbourne Refuge. With Covid this year they were prepared early and delivered before the end of October. Each box was carefully wrapped and contained gifts from Soroptimists and friends. They included boxes of chocolates, teddy bears with crackers, toiletries in home-made bags and winter spice reed diffusers. We hope these will be enjoyed by the women at the Refuge and bring a little happiness to their Christmas.
Members and families helping with a beach clean in support of Plastic Free Eastbourne.
We fill shoe-boxes at Christmas for local homeless people. This is run in conjunction with the Savation Army. in Eastbourne.
We have joined with Lewes Soroptimists at the local Foster Carers’ Christmas Party, helping to provide and wrap presents from which children could choose something to give their foster parents.
We also support the Eastbourne Dementia Alliance Network on their advice stands.
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 to distribute, and twiddle muffs and knee blankets for people with dementia in the DGH.
Supporting the Eastbourne Dementia Alliance Network in Eastbourne’s Beacon Shopping Centre.
We also support the Girls’ Network mentoring charity which aims to help local school girls achieve their potential.
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.
Eastbourne Soroptimists also 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)
And we have been raising awareness and gathering signatures for the Purple Teardrop Campaign to oppose the trafficking of women and children.
Club members have been involved with the WASPI campaign which is fighting for all women born in the 1950s who are adversely affected by the changes to the State Pension law.
We have also taken part in various activities to promote particular causes. These have included the future funding of social care, human trafficking survey and the NHS 10 year plan for East Sussex.
Some of our members have been investigating the history of our club which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2014.
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