Programme Action

Wirral Science Under the Stars

SI Heswall had an interesting display and information boards at this event hosted by Heswall Primary School. It was an evening of scientific discovery for Wirral teachers, school children, families and UK scientific organisations. The focus was the environment and especially the Wirral area. Heswall Primary school was packed with pupils and parents from 6 or more local schools with stands from a wide variety of organisations and science experiments provided by Neston High School and  West Kirby Grammar School. Despite the cold, damp evening an outdoor screen showed the film made by school children about our environment.

Our Beach Cleaning display, including a tray of beach litter, and another contrasting lovely shells etc from a clean beach interested several children and there were a number of enquiries about how they could get involved. These were directed to the Love My Beach information and website ( Toilet twinning ( was also asked about many times.



Modern Day Slavery – Radio Interview by Glenys Hunt

Vintage Radio is a station local to Wirral, broadcasting from the YMCA in Birkenhead.  One of the presenters, Chris Youngman, is friendly with a number of Soroptimists, in particular in the Birkenhead club, but including Heswall’s very own Yvonne Ross. Chris became aware of the Anti-trafficking and Modern Day Slavery survey the Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland were carrying out. She hosts a fortnightly magazine programme and wanted someone to go on the show to talk about the survey.  The plan was for the broadcast to be prior to the survey, which would have helped with the publicity, but that did not work out. Two weeks after the survey Chris contacted Chris Loughran Programme Action Officer of Birkenhead club to ask if she could go on the show the next day to talk about the survey. Chris was unable to, and also didn’t feel she knew enough about it, so rang me and asked if I could help. I rang Chris Youngman about it, but I could not do the next day either, and Jill was away on holiday. I pointed out that it was too late for the survey now anyway and suggested we leave it until the preliminary results were available, to which she agreed. We therefore arranged to broadcast to go ahead on Wednesday November 15th at 3pm, and the plan was for both Jill and I to be interviewed by Chris Youngman and Glyn Thomas.


On the day Jill was unwell so unable to go so I turned up at The YMCA at around 2.30, armed with a copy of the survey and some provisional statistics both for the entire UK, and just for the Wirral. I was met by Glyn Thomas who asked me for more details about the survey, and trafficking and Modern Day Slavery in general. Chris Youngman was not there, as she had just had a hip replacement operation. Glyn went into the studio, played some music and said a few introductory words.  While the next music track was playing he invited me into the studio, to sit in front of a microphone, opposite him at his control desk. He then proceeded to ask me questions, firstly about Soroptimism, then about the survey, and then more general questions about trafficking, modern day slavery, and our work around both areas.  Some of the questions became a little challenging as the interview went on, as I had only prepared for talking about the survey itself. He appeared to know very little about the subject, but seemed interested to learn, which I’m sure was good for any listening public. I was in the studio being grilled for almost an hour, punctuated by music every so often (including a Nillson track which I requested, and even took along with me). I was then allowed to escape.


I found the experience very interesting.  I didn’t really feel nervous, it was just like having a chat with Glyn, he was very professional and relaxed. I wouldn’t hesitate in going back again if another opportunity arose. I am not sure how many listeners the station gets, but hopefully it will help to spread the word about Soroptimists and raise awareness of the issues of Anti-trafficking and Modern Day Slavery.

( to be repeated on Sunday 3rd December)


Breast cancer awareness

During the November business meeting club members heard a very informative talk by Maureen, our President Elect. She spoke on her work in health education and in particular about breast cancer awareness. Maureen emphasised the need to ‘be aware’ and brought the group up to date with  some surprising facts and figures. A raffle was held at the meeting with proceeds going to Breast Cancer UK (
Soon after the club meeting a coffee morning was held at Ann’s home to raise more money for this charity. It was a pleasant and sociable gathering.


Retired Friends’ Afternoon Tea 2017

Our 2017 afternoon tea for “retired friends” took place in August at St Michael’s hall in Pensby.  Members of SI Heswall & District formed a choir to entertain the guests and also provided an excellent tea of sandwiches and cakes, which were eagerly devoured – together with quantities of tea and coffee!



Regional meeting, April 2017

Contributors and presenters

Contributors and presenters

At the regional President’s day on 8th April the theme was violence against women. Glenys and Jill led the Programme Action workshop. Guests from Tomorrow’s Women Wirral spoke movingly about their experiences. Similarly one of the New Beginnings counsellors gave her perspective of the work at TWW. It was an informative session for everyone.



Mary’s Meals back packs

Update –

At the end of President Carole’s year over 300 filled backpacks were sent to Mary’s Meals. In June a further 50 were sent. The following quote is from a recipient in Malawi.

Tadala, 12,  tells us “I’m very happy . I’ll be able to keep my exercise books and pens safely in my new bag. I’m going to cherish everything within my bag.”

The aim of the Backpack Project is to fill backpacks with basic educational materials to send to children receiving Mary’s Meals. Most of the children who benefit from Mary’s Meals and the Backpack Project have suffered war, poverty, famine, or natural disaster. Very often families cannot afford to buy basic things like pencils and copy books, or even suitable clothes for their children to wear to school. And so their children miss out on school and an education. A simple backpack with educational materials can be a lifeline to these children as studies show that an education is the best way a chronically poor child can escape poverty in later life.


Knitting for Peace-to help babies survive

Inspired by our Crafty Ladies group and the results with colourful blankets etc  members have produced more than 250 knitted vests for babies.. The first batch of 100 went to ‘Tools With a Mission’ in response to appeals for  poor African babies born with “Anti body Immune Deficiency” (AIDS). The new-borns are called “Fish and Chip babies” because they literally leave hospital wrapped in nothing more than paper. Another batch has been sent to ‘Knit for Peace’ who have asked us to knit some long-sleeved vests for cooler countries like Afghanistan. Members display some of the the completed vests.

The request for 6″ squares produced a great response from members, friends and family, who have provided over 300 squares in a riot of different colours and shapes.During two very pleasant evening sessions members transformed these squares into eleven colourful, warm cot blankets.Those wanting a greater challenge, have produced a range of hats, scarves,mittens, and jumpers. As well as knitting, a wide range of medicines, sterile dressings, etc. have been collected.




Beach Cleaning Project 14th Year Anniversary

In October 2016 we completed our 14th Anniversary Beach Clean. Soroptimists and friends collected rubbish from a busy stretch of beach at Thurstaston. The project is run in conjunction with the Wirral Ranger Service.  Some beach cleans  take place  under  beautifu blue skies while others are a battle against wind or rain. Nevertheless the team tackle the litter and leave the beach looking well. The Shore Cottage Studio overlooks the area which the team visit and their hospitality with refreshments is always welcome.

Support for Wirral Women and Children’s Aid

This is an ongoing and developing project.
Club members provide Christmas gifts, underclothes, exit buckets and food items etc. The exit buckets contain a range of household cleaning materials which are to help families being re-housed and to save them the cost of these products. We have made “welcome” packs and products available for both women and their children.
Recently, the Project Manger visited the club to update members on current needs. She left, armed with litres of long life milk. for sudden emergency arrivals. We also have made available an “emergency fund” of £200. Examples of use include buying a twin buggy for a family who had arrived with nothing and had three young children and  paying for a van to collect belongings for a women who was not eligible for payment from other sources because she had found a job! One of our Soroptimists decided to appeal, for toiletries for Wirral Women and Children’s Centre, in the changing room af her local health club. The photo shows the overwhelming response and a       generous donation was received as well.

 Tomorrow’s Women Wirral (TWW)

The Tomorrow’s Women Wirral Project, officially opened by Baroness Corston in September 2011, offers support in an all female environment to help women offenders work through the issues affecting their lives. Heswall & District Soroptimists have been involved with the centre from its conception with one member playing a major, lead role in planning, seeking funding and setting up. Another key factor was the availability of our Soroptimists to be there in the mornings from 9am to welcome service users and lend a friendly ear, offer encouragement as well as drinks and breakfast, and activities e.g. crafts, cooking and other skills to small groups. Whilst sometimes challenging, it is very encouraging to see the growth in self-esteem and development of positive attitudes that some of the women have achieved. This has led to a few going forward to a mentoring course to provide peer support for other women. Being imprisoned can have a devastating, long-term effect on women and their families. The small number of women’s prisons means that many women serve their sentence a long way from their homes, making family contact difficult. This service aims to provides a real alternative to prison  and to give  assurance that women will complete their court orders and receive the help and support necessary to turn their lives around. Women can refer themselves to the centre, or attend voluntarily as part of their probation supervision, or will be referred to the project via a specified activity requirement of a Community Order.

The centre aims to help these women change their lives and prevent the massive disruption and distress that prison causes children and families. It is a wide ranging, practical approach to improve their long- term chances and to prevent families breaking down. Working with other agencies across Wirral a sort of one-stop shop has been set up, offering the many different types of support that women need to deal with their often complex situations.


SIGBI’s Photo in NCVO Competition

SIGBI entered this wonderful photograph from SI Heswall and District, winner of the October 2014 Club Photo of the Month, into a National Council for Voluntary organizations photography competition where it was awarded second place for an inspirational photo. Sue was In Malawi visiting the school kitchen which she had donated to Mary’s Meals. The prize was a camera which was sold to raise funds for meals. Our club have continued to support Mary’s Meals financially through 2015.

NCVO Photography Competition SIGBI 2nd Place


NCVO Photography Competition – SIGBI 2nd Place

Posted: June 17, 2015

We are delighted to announce that SI Heswall’s photograph “Stir it up” came 2nd place in the NCVO Photography Competition. SI Heswall’s photograph received 29.3 % of the vote and so did really well. The winners only had about 6 % more!

The photograph shows SI Heswall member Sue Donovan visiting a School in Malawi, where she funded the building of a School kitchen. She is pictured with the volunteer mothers who make porridge each morning for 2,300 children.