]Soroptimist International Glamorgan (SI Glamorgan) is a Soroptimist club in South Wales covering quite a vast area – from Llantrisant to Newport. We currently have 12 very active members of the club, who are busy putting the action into programme action (projects). We welcome interest from new members – the best way to contact us is through Facebook Messenger: www.facebook.com/SIGlamorgan
We wanted to create a club that was accessible to modern, working women, so we are a hybrid club. We make the most of digital technology through a WhatsApp group, a Google Group (great for those newsletters and SIGBI documents!), and Zoom. We try to keep business to a minimum during in-person meetings, which are informal.
When: First Monday of every Month (although please check our Facebook page for updates)
Where: The Castell Mynach (Groesfaen, Llantrisant Rd, Pontyclun CF72 8PN). We reserve an area towards the far left of the pub, which is sectioned off and gives us some privacy.
What happens in a meeting? This is a chance for us to get together and share ideas, discuss club, region and national issues, and talk about our ongoing projects or plan new projects. We do try to keep business issues to a minimum so that we can make the most of the opportunity of being together. The meetings are therefore very informal and most of us usually have something to eat. If you can’t get there in person, no worries. We understand that it’s often hard for professional women who may work away from home or have additional caring duties, so we can bring you in on Zoom or WhatsApp, and sit you at the table via iPad!
Supplemental meetings: Our club is about action, so we often have additional meetings which focus on the work that we do. These meetings may be virtual, at the location of a particular project, or at a club member’s house.
Are there rules about attendance? SI Glamorgan is a modern club and we don’t have any requirements for you to attend a certain number of meetings. We all have different talents and interests, and we feel that our club provides a number of different opportunities to appeal to all our members. We encourage members to engage in ways that suit them (or to try something new!).
What is a Soroptimist?
The name Soroptimist is a combination of the Latin ‘soror’ (sister) and ‘optima’ (best) – it could be interpreted as ‘the best for women’ or ‘best sisters’. The first Soroptimist Club was founded over 100 years ago and there are now over 3000 clubs throughout the world.
Each club chooses what they want to do, but all our projects have the aim of helping girls and women locally, nationally or internationally, and align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We often take part in wider projects within our Regions or at National level. SI Glamorgan won a programme action award (Region level) for our first project as a club (collecting over 10,000 bras for Smalls For All and educating the community about how something as simple as underwear could help save a woman from assault).
SI Glamorgan’s current projects are:
- #OrangeCardiff2022 – this is an annual event which we have been doing for a number of years as part of the UN’s 16 days of activism (#OrangeTheWorld) to raise awareness of gender-based violence. Look out for upcoming blogs and our regularly updated social media!
- Women’s Aid – our club is very actively involved in projects with Women’s Aid.
- Donning overalls, we gave a lick of paint to some of the rooms in one of the refuges.
- We held daffodil plantings with afternoon tea for women and children in refuge and the staff who support them (for me, nothing could beat the delight of the children who loved digging the holes to plant the bulbs, and then wolfed down club member Enid’s delicious brownies).
- A number of club members have undertaken training and are community ambassadors, helping to support women who are still in situations of domestic abuse.
- We fundraise and provide necessities:
- We have provided pillows and bedding.
- We have most recently acquired a triple buggy for a woman in refuge.
- We have provided garden and play equipment for one of the refuges.
- We have a small gardening team (more gardeners wanted!) who look after the garden at the main refuge that we support. This is a peaceful place for the women who are in refuge, and a safe place for the children to let of steam.
- We planted 3 apple trees (as part of SIGBI president Cathy’s tree planting project).
- We make welcome packs to give to women when they arrive in refuge.
- This year, we partnered with BAWSO and Llandaff Cathedral to reinstate the Light a Candle Service at on the 25th November
- Fundraising Events
- We usually hold one fundraising event per year, often to raise money for the International President’s appeal.
- One of our members collects funds from the sale of plants.
We are now researching our next main project (once we’ve recovered from #OrangeCardiff2022!). We are open to new ideas from current, new, and potential club members, and also from organisations that we could partner with, but please note that our club prefers a hands-on approach as we do not have the capacity for additional fundraising due to our current commitments.
How does SI Glamorgan fit into Soroptimist International?
We are part of the Wales South Region – a cluster of clubs from all over South Wales.
For further information on Wales South, please have a look at the facebook page: www.facebook.com/groups/829943674846357
Clubs and Regions are part of SIGBI (Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland). SIGBI is our national level of SI. As well as GB and Ireland, we also have countries in Asia, the Caribbean and Malta – 6000 members and 270 clubs. We have a conference every year towards the end of October which gives us the opportunity to hear motivating speakers who have made incredible differences to those who they have provided opportunity for change, and for us all to come together – old friends and new.
For more information about SIGBI, please go to their website: www.sigbi.org/
SIGBI is part of Soroptimist International – current president is Maureen McGuire, former SIGBI president. SI conventions are held every 4 years, the next is in Dublin, 2024.
Please go to their website for more information: www.soroptimistinternational.org/about-us/
What connects all these levels is our goal…
We are a service organisation with the aim of improving the circumstances of women and girls globally through educating, enabling, and empowering. The range of work that has been done by Soroptimists across the world is truly inspiring, and some of this work can be seen on the websites listed above as well as various social media sites. As a result of the work that is undertaken by Soroptimists, we have representatives at the UN, an indication of the importance of our services to girls and women.