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Past Events and Other Information

Just some examples of great speakers, projects and events that we have organised or been involved in during the last few years.

Dame Vera Baird, Victims’ Commissioner’s Talk to Soroptimists in London Anglia Region

Back in November 2020 we had a fantastic Regional meeting with Dame Vera Baird, then the Victims’ Commissioner, giving us an insight into her role, resources, and priorities in making change so that Victims of all events are included in the process, kept up to date, treated with respect and, whether the crime ends up in court or not, understand the issues. Few crimes are victimless. Be they burglaries, personal physical attacks or events of serious intentional or accidental deaths, the resulting trauma can significantly and negatively affect the victims’ lives. Only by treating victims inclusively can they feel their life can move on. Those who suffer from domestic abuse and their children are also victims, usually traumatised by their experiences of going to court. It is time for change.
This is a massive task for the Commissioner who had few powers, a small budget and very limited resources, but Dame Vera Baird is nothing but ingenious when it comes to persuading those that make the law, police it and work within the judicial system.

Despite her tenacity we were extremely upset to hear via The Daily Telegraph that in September 2022 Dame Vera decided it was time to quit her post.   In a resignation letter to the new Justice Secretary, Brandon Lewis, she accused the Government of sidelining her and downgrading victims’ interests.  Not mincing her words she said the criminal justice system was in “chaos” but added that she could not stay on given the way she and victims had been treated by the Government.  She revealed she had not had any access or meetings with his predecessor, Dominic Raab, for the eight months since February when she was told she would not be reappointed and would have to reapply for the three-year post, unlike her predecessor. 

“The lack of engagement from the top at a time of great upheaval for victims reflected poorly on the MoJ’s priorities and the Government’s approach,” she wrote.

She was the right woman for the job in our opinion and victims have been dealt a raw deal by the way she has been treated by the Government.

Women Don’t Do such Things!!

We were invited to the launch/preview of the Women’s History Exhibition, entitled ‘Women Don’t Do Such Things‘, at The Hold, the new home of Suffolk Archives.

It was a fascinating exhibition and we were delighted to have been invited (the Prossecco was a nice surprise!).  Essentially it let visitors  step back in time and walk in the footsteps of Suffolk women past and present who have broken down barriers in their lives throughout history.  Here Joyce, Secretary of SI Ipswich & District is standing by the timeline which goes back 250 years and summarises much of what is shown at the Exhibition.

‘Women Don’t Do Such Things!’ was a free exhibition at The Hold in Ipswich, telling the stories of pioneering Suffolk women, which opened in February 2022.

From activists to doctors, archaeologists to pilots, visitors to the exhibition were able to experience these and many more moving and poignant stories of women who have challenged expectations and led change.

In fact, we are going back to The Hold in April 2023 for a tour behind the scenes – should be very interesting.

Centennial Tree Planting at Morland Primary School

Tree Planting at Morland.

Saving Trees was one of the first actions taken by Soroptimists in 1921.  100 years on we are planting trees across the world.

Morland Primary School has a small orchard, plants and other vegetation which is cared for by the children in the school’s Nature Club.

Recently the children have been planting fruit trees in the pond area as part of our Soroptimist International’s Centennial Tree Planting.  We approached The Tree Council and they supplied the trees as part of their project ‘1000 orchards in 1000 schools’.

We look forward to seeing the trees grow.  In years to come children at Morland will be able to enjoy the shade these trees provide in the summer and their fruit in the autumn.  

Lighthouse Women’s Aid


In 2020 we raffled a quilt and made a donation when we had a presentation from Women’s Voices on the Gender Equality Quilt which is now kept in perpetuity in The Hold, Suffolk’s new Record Office.  The money generated went towards furnishings for their new Therapeutic Room at the time.









In the distant past we have provided support to Every Six Seconds A Woman Cries Lighthouse via Art Classes and Creative Writing sessions, the latter culminating in a book written by some of their clients who participated.  Jo Brand and Sally Dynover (Coronation Street) wrote the Foreward.  Our Ipswich Club won a Federation Award for this initiative.



Collecting Bras for Women in Other Countries to Start a Business

We wanted to help women who had escaped from being sexually trafficked so they could become financially independent.  Wearing a Bra is a status symbol in some countries where women who have been victims of this crime live.  Each woman would be given 100 recycled bras to sell on a market stall.  They would also be trained in making bras by taking apart some of those provided to see how they are made.  Along with other Soroptimist Clubs we asked the women of Ipswich and surrounding areas to donate unused or gently used bras that they no longer had need for.  We were inundated with bras in all shapes, sizes and colours.  Some people went out and bought new bras to give us.  In all, we collected over 1,000 bras to send out to start off these women’s businesses.  Thank you to all who were so generous.

Coastal Action Against Abuse (CAAA)

Coastal Action Against Abuse (CAAA) is a group of professionals who work in partnership to raise public and professional awareness and understanding of the impact of Domestic Violence/Abuse on victims, their families and the wider community within East Suffolk.

Prior to Covid we were privileged to be invited to Coastal Action Against Abuse (CAAA) meetings.  It kept us informed of what is happening on the ground and we could tailor our help as need be. Together this multi-discipline forum develop ideas for social media campaigns to reach out to our community – what is domestic abuse, where to go for information to find out where help and advice can be obtained.  And, of course, Lockdown  proved to be a breeding ground for increased levels of abuse.  We are hoping to be able to re-join this group in the near future.

Post Covid, CAAA still have their excellent website for those who are concerned about domestic abuse, either for themselves or for someone else.  Go to and take a look – it provides information on where to go for help, whether for yourself or someone you might be concerned about.  View the clips of Patrick Stewart who saw his father abuse his mother many times and now speaks out against Domestic Violence.

Go to

This forum brings together the different agencies in East Suffolk who work to prevent, protect and assist those who experience domestic violence.  Soroptimist International Ipswich and District is proud to be a partner.  Last year we jointly developed a White Ribbon campaign.  During each year we develop 3 or 4 social media campaigns to coincide with peak periods of domestic abuse – typically during national holidays and, of course, currently during the coronavirus lockdown.  And we aim to focus young people on what makes a healthy relationship and what does not.

Always remember, abuse is not your fault!