SI Heswall Club history
Twenty founder members attended the inaugural meeting of the Heswall Club on November 26th1948. This and subsequent meetings were held in the Spinning Wheel Café. Mrs Astin the proprietor of the café, was elected President.
The Charter Dinner was held at the Hotel Victoria on April 21st1949. Birkenhead, the Mother Club of Heswall, presented the block and gavel.
Dr Brill produced the design for the badge on the regalia that depicted a spinning wheel, in recognition of the first meeting place, and the motto ’Looking Further’.
The early years saw the establishment of a Sister Club link with Halifax, Nova Scotia and others soon followed. A monthly Club Newsletter was started and a member was appointed ‘Carer of the Club Scrapbook’. Parties and day trips for local pensioners were held, fund raising benefited local hospitals/organisations and members were invited to serve on various committees in the Heswall area.
Under the aegis of Civic and later Programme Action the Club has been involved in a wide variety of local, national and international issues. Locally the Club has concerned itself with such projects as youth provision, the staging of mock interviews for pupils at a local secondary school, helping primary school children with reading, story sacks, the collection of items for recycling and the disposal of waste.
In the 1990’s the Club’s safe disposal of drugs survey was chosen as the first Cheshire, North Wales and Wirral Regional Project Action project. A study day on women’s issues, to which other organisations were invited, was arranged by members of the Club. This was followed by two Programme Action based conferences organised by a committee from the Soroptimist Clubs on Wirral and chaired by Heswall.
In 2002 the Club began regular beach cleaning at Thurstaston. The garden at the Breast Care centre at Clatterbridge Hospital was developed and tended by two members. Locally support, for example, was given, and continues to be given to Wirral and Women’s Children’s Aid, and Asylum Link. Internationally the Club has supported such projects as the Gambia School’s trust and Mary’s Meals
At the SIGBI Conference in Glasgow a motion proposed by the Club highlighting the need for legally binding regulation to restrict access to Tanning/Sunbed machines for under 18s was passed. This subsequently was enshrined in law.
A member was closely involved in the setting up of Tomorrow Women’s Wirral. Club members helped at the Breakfast Club and supported in other ways. As an offshoot another member set up the New Beginnings Counselling Group. A presentation on the work of both groups was given by two members at the Liverpool Conference in 2018.
Members have enjoyed a wide variety of social events including day trips and local visits. As a Club members have visited the House of Lords, the European Parliament, and a holiday in Malta that included a joint fund raising dinner with SI Malta for the Zaffe Clinic in Benin.
A Club mentor was first appointed in 1999 and in the same year responsibility for pastoral care became a Club appointment. A buddy system was introduced. A post of Development Officer was established in 2011. A development Newsletter has been circulated regularly and various outings arranged. Events aimed at attracting members have been held. New members have been, and continue to be, invited to social evenings to discover more about the Club and the work of Soroptimist organisation in general. For many years retired members have had held a monthly coffee morning at member’s homes and a lunch at Christmas.
Long standing Friendship Links exist with Maidstone and Lund and more recently with Chennai Downtown, Masaka and Torquay.
Since its foundation the Club has raised money for many charitable causes and taken part in a wide range of social events. Many people have found, and continue to find, friendship and the opportunity for service in the Club.