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President’s Blog February/March

It’s great that our regular meetings have started again. The first meeting in February focused on Programme Action.  It was an excellent meeting organised by Club Programme Action Officers’ Christine A and Paula. The PowerPoint presentation really encapsulated all that we do.  It is available on YouTube  It’s already had 54  views and is also on our Face Book  page @Soroptimist80.  I recommend you watch it if you haven’t seen it.  It’s also an excellent way of  sharing  ‘What do we do?’ Our current projects, Dementia Forward and Toilet Twinning will be finishing in September so  this was followed by an opportunity to think about what our future projects may be.  There was a great buzz to the evening. Lots of interaction and discussion.

Turkey/Syrian Earthquake

I am sure, like me, many of you were shocked of the scale and loss of life and livelihoods caused by the horrendous earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Our Federation, Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland donated £2000  to Oxfam on our behalf . It is great that we were able to donate £250 quickly to the Disaster Emergency Committee without having to wait for a Club meeting. Thank you, Treasurer Jennifer, for organising our response.  We know that the quake is only the beginning of people’s problems and relief will have to be long term. The second earthquake on the 20th  February put people’s lives in jeopardy again. Our thoughts are with all those affected by the earthquake.

Climate Change

We welcomed  Harrogate and Knaresborough  MP Andrew Jones as our speaker to talk about what Parliament’s response to achieving Carbon Zero status.  I certainly learned quite a lot about what is happening in parliament and cross party working. Andrew gave a sense of the task ahead.  For instance, there are currently  40 million homes with gas boilers.  Becoming carbon neutral does present challenges and opportunities too. Harrogate’s buses will soon be all electric but the reduction in services results in more people using their cars.  There was some excellent question,  about transport and ecological new housing.  An excellent way to Celebrate the Great Big Green Week.

Thank  you to all those of you who managed to find something green to wear.  It was great that Poppy, Pinkie, Alice from Rossett 6th Form, and prospective new members could join us too. Andrew encouraged us all to get involved with the recently formed Nidd Action Group who will be holding a ‘Cleaner Nidd, Fit for Life’ community Drop-In event on the 14th March.    The river water  quality is deteriorating. Andrew is on a mission for the River Nidd’s water to be safe to swim in at the Lido.

Soroptimist’s Stride Out

What a delightful way to spend a morning after the February gales. Meeting up with Jennifer, Heather G, Heather L, Sandra J. Christine A, and Soroptidog, Ozzy. We walked from RHS Harlow Carr to the Fat Badger in Harrogate where we had a hot drink then walked back. Spring is certainly in the air as the crocuses make an appearance.  We saw the damage that the recent storm caused on some of the trees. It was so good to chat and laugh and have a good catch up.  I certainly recommend joining the group in their next planned events. A good way to keep fit too.

Enjoying in late winter Stroll in Valley Gardens

Harrogate College

Sandra J, Pat, Sylvia and I had a very useful meeting with Kate Herbert at Harrogate College.  Kate was very interested in finding out more about our organisation. She also updated us on what is happening at the College.  We hope we can work more closely with the college in the future.

Resurrected Bites

Jan and I both volunteer at Resurrected Bites – Pay What You Can Cafes.  I was asked if I would be willing to make a short video on why we support Resurrected Bites. Here is the link   to find out what I said.  Congratulations are in order too to Resurrected Bites fantastic achievement of putting Food in Bellies not Bins. The Stray Ferret has awarded Resurrected Bites the  Sustainable Business Award. Well done on recognition of the fantastic work of Michelle Hayes and the volunteer team.

Harrogate Sea Cadets

One of the last things I did in February was to attend the Harrogate Sea Cadets Annual Award Night. This was the first Award Night since 2020 due to Covid.  It was great to see the young people (boys and girls) who are learning so many life skills as they learn about the Navy and sailing and music. The room was full of proud mums and dads too.

International Women’s Day

On the 1st of March we celebrated International Women Day and wore purple –  one of the main colours chosen to represent the day.  International Women’s Day takes place on the 8th of March.  It started 110 years ago as women campaigned for the Vote and equality of pay.  This year we remembered local women from the 1920s, 30s and 40s who led the way in medicine, Soroptimism and politics including our own erfordDr Kathleen Rutherford MBE   #embraceequity

We also celebrate the long service of Club Member Elsie Johnston who has been made an Honorary Member.  Elsie has served Soroptimist and the community for many years. She has held many roles in the Club and at Region. For nigh on twenty- years Elsie organised and led our Contact the Elderly Service project to reduce loneliness for people living alone – she organised Drivers and Hosts for our monthly tea parties and kept a watchful eye on our guests even when we couldn’t meet. It was a delight to present her with her certificate.

Club Newsletter

A big thank you to Christine Grainger who has edited the latest Club Newsletter.  It is a great way of capturing all we do to raise awareness, take action, and find out more about each other. It is a fantastic source of information for our Friendship Links, as well as information to our prospective members. Editions of previous Newsletters are available on the members only part of this website