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Our Meetings and Speakers 2022-23

Club Meetings

At our meeting in March 2023 we started to plan the future of our Club and its Programme of Speakers, the Projects we undertake (there is obviously a link) – so look out for more information soon.  We will be following up with more activity on Modern Day Slavery and starting a new project as well as supporting our usual charities.

This will be followed by our AGM on the 20th April 2023 and, of course, a chance to have supper together at The Ipswich & Suffolk Club where we usually meet.

Club Meetings in 2022/early 2023 included:

An update on Lighthouse Women’s Aid (LWA),  on how they have coped during Covid and the significant increase in their work due to more women being subjected to domestic abuse.  We support LWA with toiletries bags and are now supplying Kettle foods for those who have to seek safety in a room without kitchen facilities.  We raise funds for them when possible.

In the run up to Christmas 2022 (also in 2021) we gave £200 of our funds to them so they could put this with other money received to buy Christmas presents for the children of women who sadly are their clients, due mainly to having suffered domestic abuse and having to leave their home.

A presentation from Carol Dickinson, Modern Slavery & Vulnerable Communities Co-ordinator, Suffolk Constabulary, who we have kept in touch with on developments following her response to our questions on how the Force tracks and counters such crimes.

A talk by Patricia Ferreira, Suffolk Refugee Support on their work with Refugees together with a client of their organisation from the Ukraine who received a Bursary from us.  The latter was particularly enlightening.

Our chosen book in recognition of UN International Day of Literacy, ‘An Extra Pair of Hands’ by well-known author Kate Mosse, was an honest account of what it is like to be a carer for family members.   She is in a privileged position compared to most who find themselves in the situation of becoming a Carer but her depiction of both the practical and emotional side of this role would have applied to most Carers.   We had launched our Sponsorship of an Award for In Home Carers in conjunction with Suffolk Family Carers earlier in the year. 

Also we heard from Gill Jones,  Community Development Manager, Healthwatch Suffolk who told us about the work of her organisation and how it can impact on the quality of the health services we receive in Suffolk. 

Their remit is to be Suffolk’s health and social care champion for anyone who uses a GP surgery, hospitals, dentists, pharmacies, care homes and other services.  They want to hear about users’ experiences because they can use them to shape, influence and improve local care.  They also help people to find reliable and trustworthy information and advice.

Club Projects

As part of our research into Modern Day Slavery we also wished to know what steps are taking place within our County’s authorities, such as Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council, Town and Parish Councils, Suffolk Constabulary and we received responses from all of them .  Our research established that in the last few years major interventions have been put in place by these organisations, they have responsibilities established by law to undertake, they are focusing on increasing awareness of the issue and more emphasis will be placed on helping those who are victims and catching the perpetrators who are responsible for this appalling crime. 

We now plan to ask businesses how they check their supply chains to  ensure that slave labour is not being used – a social audit carried out by a 3rd party is not sufficient.  So members will be following up to obtain a better picture of how this crime against humanity is being investigated and what success is being achieved. 

We are also lobbying Government to appoint an Anti-Slavery Commissioner, a role that has been very important in tackling this issue.  Is it a deliberate ploy on their part to not have this role filled whilst they are trying to rush through their latest bill on Immigation, one has to ask.

We know there are no easy solutions to eliminate all forms of slavery and slavery like practices throughout the world but want to play our part and encourage others to do likewise.

If you care about social issues as we do please get in contact via this website or on our Facebook page: Soroptimist International of Ipswich.

Regional Meetings

In addition to our monthly Club meetings we have Regional Meetings three times a year when all 10 Clubs in the London Anglia Region get together to exchange ideas, knowledge and have speakers who have a lot to of experience in the issues that are important to us. 

At Essex University on 18th June 2022, we heard from Aneeta Prem who started and runs the Freedom Charity, which supports girls being forced into an early marriage and having to submit to Female Genital Mutilation (Cutting).  She was recently awarded an MBE for her Charitable services. We also heard about Soroptimists new campaign ‘Orange the World’ where we will increase awareness of violence against women on a monthly basis.

In November 2022, the Regional Meeting was at our usual venue, Newnham College, Cambridge and our guest speaker was Professor Jules Pretty, Professor of Environment and Society at the University of Essex, and Director of the Centre for Public and Policy Engagement, an acknowledged expert on Climate Change.  He used stories to get key information across to us in a meaningful way.  For example, he made us think about how we feel when our body temperature increases by 1 degree (a bit off colour), 2 degrees (unwell), 3 degrees (running a fever),  4 degrees (seriously ill), 5 degrees (dead!).  Well our planet is the same – the temperature only has to rise by a small amount to create a lot of damage to our way of life; those living near the oceans will need to move en masse, availability of fresh water will become an increasing problem, agricultural production will be seriously disrupted – current ‘basket’ bowls will become dessert.

Go to: Jules Pretty – Flyer for more information about this speaker

Our Region will be meeting again this coming June, September and November and we eagerly await to know who the key speakers will be.