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President’s Blog – October

It has been a busy month of events. The nights are drawing in and I’m still getting used to ‘gaining’ an extra hour. I write this the day after my return from a fabulous 4 days at our Federation Conference, Climate for Change in Belfast. More about that later.

Since our last meeting I’ve

  • met with the Elves chaired by Chief Elf Liz Stickney;
  • experienced an outside Hygge event organised by Heather Goodall and Di Fleming that raised over £720 for Dementia Forward;
  • walked around Swinsty Reservoir with our Stride Out walking group and
  • celebrated the 89th Anniversary since we were chartered in 1933 at wonderful Goldsborough Hall.
  • attended a very active Toilet Twinning meeting with Sue W and the team at Horticap.
  • met with Maureen and handed over the cash raised for the Food Bank to  Dawn from Harrogate and District Foodbank. Well over £800 including Gift Aid.

Watch out for Santa!

Liz is making great progress for our Christmas Party. It will be a fun event and I know information will be coming out about Christmas Cards and Secret Santa.

Hygge Event raises £720 for Dementia Forward

The Scandinavian Hygge Event at Heather G’s on the wettest day so far in October didn’t deter us from feeling enveloped in a feeling of well-being, helped by home-made soup, bread and cakes. All to help support Dementia Forward in providing more support to people with, and those that care for people with the dementia. As an organisation that is here to improve the lives of women and girls it is a salutary to know that the leading cause of death in women in the UK is dementia. Also, women are usually the main carers for people with dementia.

A walk around Swinsty Reservoir

In contrast the walk around the reservoir was a beautiful Autumn Day. It was a pleasure to walk with Heather G, Sheila, and Di. Pat has sent out future dates so please do feel free to join us.

89th Annual Charter Luncheon

We were also so lucky that again the sun shone on us at Goldsborough Hall. The gardens looked magnificent. Thank you, Maureen, for organising the lunch. I know how much time and effort goes into getting everything sorted. We were joined by members from ten Clubs from Yorkshire as well as SI Yorkshire President Lyndsey and President Elect Jane. Our special guest was the Mayor of Harrogate Borough Cllr Victoria Oldham.  I hope those of you who attended have planted your crocuses. A big thank you too to my husband Jonathan. A very gifted musician who entertained on arrival and for those who stayed after lunch. A truly wonderful day.


And so, to Conference

Climate for Change, held in Belfast was the first face to face conference in three years. It was great to catch up with friends I’ve not seen. And meet our Friendship Links from Milford Haven, Paisley, and Middlesbrough. The title of the Conference says it all. We heard and saw how:

  • plastic pollution in the sea is affecting avian and sea life – as well as us.
  • one woman’s action changed the lives of marginalised children and families in Kosovo.
  • the Red Cross/Crescent works across the world and locally in responding to disasters.
  • many disasters now are linked to Climate change.
  • women and children are disproportionately affected by disasters including displacement, trafficking, and abuse.
  • to question research and information to be relevant to gender, race, social variations etc
  • female leadership and voice of agency is required at all levels of decision making.
  • the global response to Covid proves that when mankind wants to it can work to save the lives of billions.

Peace Patch for SI San Fernando

I was also delighted to present the Peace Square to SI San Fernando from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. Thank you, Tricia Chapman for all your hard-work in embroidering the square . It looked fabulous and will be on display with the other Peace Squares at Soroptimist International Convention in the Dublin  next year.

The eight of us who went to Conference had a great time together. We ate, we drank, and we laughed. I am not sure what is happening next year, but I would certainly recommend Conference to all members. It really does broaden our knowledge of what’s happening in the world. It celebrates the fantastic work of Clubs at grass root level that changes the lives of women and girls. If you want to find out details of the presentations, please visit the Conference Blogs on the SIGBI website.