Programme Action 2017 – 2018

The Heart of Soroptimism is Programme Action

Our programme theme for the year 2016/17 was “Women and the Arts” and, from the funds raised at our Quiz Night, we were able to donate £550 to Courtyard Arts in Hertford and £550 to the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Charity. The money given to Courtyard Arts has funded a four week art therapy course for women at our local women’s refuge, Safer Places; that given to Nordoff Robbins has enabled the organisation to purchase musical instruments for their new centre. The power of music will help to enhance the lives of children with learning difficulties and their parents will learn how better to engage with them.

Our Wine into Water evening raised £653.76 for WaterAid and the summer Afternoon Tea Party, £478.78 for our local Isabel Hospice. Proceeds from our Christmas Party – £165- went to the International President’s Appeal, “Educate to Lead – Nepal”, and from our Frugal Supper to our Federation Project, “Meru Women’s Garden Project, Kenya. We were delighted to host a tea party for London Chilterns Region which raised £500 for the Meru Project.
Additionally, a coffee morning supported MacMillan Cancer Care, and we collected essential items for Safer Places (Women’s Refuge), the Living Room (a centre for dealing with addictions of all types) and our local food bank. We provided refreshments at Hertford Disability support Group’s social evening in March and again in October when we also provided the entertainment.

To mark International Women’s Day in March we supported United Women of Stevenage’s sewing day when women from different organisations and girls from a local school came together to create sanitary kits for “Days for Girls”.

We have signed petitions and lobbied our MPs on issues relating to our goals and objectives, and submitted Programme Action Focus Report Forms in order to provide evidence of our work to our Federation as they seek to maintain our consultative status on the UN.

So, what of 2017/2018? Our programme theme for the year is “Women Around The World” and our series of speakers will give us an insight into the lives of women in different countries. Our Quiz Night this year will raise funds for A-CET (African Children’s Educational Trust) which helps to build schools in rural Ethiopia. We know that many girls benefit from the education they then receive, empowering them to take greater control of their lives. Proceeds from our Frugal Supper in October will go to support the Meru Women’s Garden Project, which aims to educate and empower women and girls in Kenya, and we shall continue to support International President Yvonne’s Appeal, “Educate to lead – Nepal, by donating the proceeds from our Christmas Party.

Our highly successful Wine into Water evening in March to mark World Water Day will support the vital and life-changing work undertaken by WaterAid in areas across the globe. The supply of fresh, clean water to communities is of special benefit to women and girls, leading to improved health and enabling them to take greater control of their lives, with girls being able to pursue an education.

We shall, of course, continue to support organisations closer to home. Our Tea Party in July and Coffee Morning in September will raise money for our local Isabel Hospice and MacMillan Cancer Care respectively; organisations which seek to improve the lives of sufferers and their families at a difficult stage in their lives.

In August, we will have a stall at Royston’s Kite Festival, in order to promote Soroptimism at the northern part of our area as well as raising funds for a local charity. Then, towards the end of the month, the money raised from the Diamond Engineering Award Lunch will fund our award to a young woman studying Engineering, inaugurated to mark the 60th anniversary of our charter in April 2016. This sits alongside prizes already awarded to two local schools. Still on the theme of local education, one of our members has, over the past few years, undertaken a programme of mentoring in her neighbouring secondary school. This is something which we should be exploring and developing.

Throughout the year, we shall continue to Collect for Safer Places (Women’s Refuge), the Living Room (a centre which addresses addictions of all kinds), and our local food bank. We will also continue to co-ordinate the collection of jewellery in our region, the proceeds from which go to the Federation’s Diamond Education Grant.

We shall honour our twice yearly commitment to Hertford Disability Support Group, providing the entertainment and refreshments at their social evening in September, and sandwiches, scones and cakes in March. It is a small way of helping to enhance the lives of local people living with disabilities, the majority of whom are women.

We will continue to campaign for prison reform, and against human trafficking, FGM and domestic violence, lobbying our MPs and signing petitions whenever appropriate. Indeed, in October, we shall undertake a human trafficking survey in our area to help better inform The UK Modern Slavery Training Delivery Group of the public’s awareness of this horrendous issue.

Margaret Holman
Pam Robertson