The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is 25th November and marks the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls initiated in 1991. This year’s theme is ‘Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now’. At their meeting on 25th November SI Heswall members wore orange and donated a wide range of orange foods and toiletries for the Food Bank recognising its support for women who have been victims of gender-based violence.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and Heswall Soroptimists marked this with a pink themed evening. Members wore pink and held a pink raffle to raise funds for Breast Cancer Now. A light-hearted quiz with a pink theme followed an excellent talk by Maureen Sayer on the current statistics and research findings on breast cancer. The Breast Cancer Awareness message was spread locally with posters and collection points for bras which have been sent to Smalls for All Home
SI Heswall held a candle lighting ceremony to celebrate 100 years of Soroptimist International. Candles were lit to remember Soroptimist International, SIGBI Federation, Cheshire, North Wales and Wirral Region, and SI Heswall. Through a play several members took the meeting along the timeline of the past one hundred years and introduced a few of women who have made great contributions to the evolving organisation.
Members held a very successful auction to raise funds for the Presidents’ charities. Although planned to be held outdoors heavy rain meant a move inside. Nevertheless, members and friends enjoyed an entertaining afternoon as it was an auction with a difference – all the items were gift wrapped and a surprise every time! Auctioneer Maureen’s skill and enthusiasm helped to raise over £300. The charities which will benefit, chosen by Presidents Jenny and Cynthia, are Tomorrow’s Women Wirral (tomorrowswomen.org.uk) a centre looking after the welfare of women, Parkinson’s UK (parkinsons.org.uk) and Health Help International (hhi.org.uk) an organisation providing medical equipment in Zambia and India.
The Region’s Centenary Fun Walk was held in September in perfect walking conditions – mild and dry. Many of SI Heswall’s members took part and enjoyed the opportunity to meet up and walk with members from other Wirral clubs. Additionally, SI Heswall members assisted with marshalling and driving for the walkers. The aim was to walk a hundred miles for a hundred years and Wirral Soroptimists achieved a total of 135.5 miles. The walkers began at Hoylake and walked in four stages to Connah’s Quay where they met walkers who had followed a route across Cheshire. The next day walkers from Welsh clubs walked from Connah’s Quay to Llandudno where at Happy Valley, on the Great Orme, a ceremony was held to celebrate the 100-year anniversary. Trees were planted to mark the occasion, a Soroptimist bench was placed, and a time capsule buried.
Inspiring brighter futures. Meadowside School is a small school and a specialist provider of education for pupils aged 11 to 19 with complex learning difficulties, communication and/or sensory needs, autism, ADHD and varying health conditions. It is well established within the community and its learners and staff are highly motivated and work hard together. The school ethos is to promote a safe, happy, fun, and caring learning environment, with a willingness to try hard and achieve. Within this framework members of SI Heswall have been pleased to contribute a sensory rainbow panel made up up of numerous rainbow coloured woollen pom poms.
Parkinson’s UK (www.parkinsons.org.uk) was founded in 1969 and the Wirral group began in 1993. Wirral branch Chairman Ken Fraser and colleagues Georgie and Paul recently spoke to club members about living with Parkinson’s and how by recognising it and adapting they are able to continue with their busy and fulfilled lives. Members learned a great deal about Parkinson’s and its impact on daily living from them. The society is here for everyone affected by Parkinson’s and it is fighting for fair treatment and better services. Its aim to find a cure and improve life for people with Parkinson’s is focusing on accelerating breakthroughs in research, better support and every day getting Parkinson’s better understood.
The first meeting of the new Soroptimist year marked membership month with a warm welcome to members old and new. As we move towards meeting in person President Jenny introduced two new members on zoom. We look forward to resuming meetings in June at our new venue, Heswall Hall.
Soroptimist Centenary 2021