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How do you give the gift that keeps on giving?

By lending with care that’s how!

Our October meeting was back to Zoom format – which works really well when you’ve got such an interesting speaker as Sue Tonks.   As October is also Friendship month, we were joined by 3 members of our sister Club, SI Cardiff.

Zoom meetingSue told us about she has given money through the charity Lend with Care and helped microfinance a variety of projects.   There is no interest on the loan, just repayment.    So when she gets her gift back, Sue then has the satisfaction of giving again to a new group.   Sue, as an established entrepreneur,  usually chooses to lend to women in business and agriculture.

So what have been the highlights for Sue Tonks?

To raise money in 2016, Sue undertook a 650K bike ride from Laos to Cambodia, that’s over 400 miles to you and me!   She vividly described rushing to get to the accommodation via a very steep hill before dusk fell one night.  All in 38 degrees C and 90% humidity!   Her guilty pleasure was a massage every evening – a necessity some might say.   The real highlight for Sue was getting to meet some women she had funded.   It really brought home how a little money to us goes such a long way and makes such a difference to these women’s lives.

An alternative Christmas present?

The charity is still working during Covid but due to the pandemic loans are down.   So if you think you could spare as little as £15, you too could make a massive difference, especially at this difficult time.  And what about that Christmas gift with a difference?   You could give voucher that would help bring someone out of poverty.


Another first for Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland

Like everything else this year, SIGBI Conference had to move to a virtual format and was broadcast from the ICC Belfast

However it didn’t stop our Club from enjoying it in a socially distanced way.


Thankfully we were still in Tier 1 so six of us met up on both the afternoons.   We were able to enjoy each others company and watch Conference on the telly.   Prosecco and cake were also part of the proceedings!   Well we had to celebrate as our very own Club member Jean directed the questions sent in to the speakers.  And another bottle just  had to be opened to toast our Club member Elaine becoming President of Midland Arden Region.

Screenshot from SIGBI Conference

The speakers

We learned about the obstacles faced by women in the law over the ages from Baroness Hale.   And yes she did wear a large brooch but not the spider one.

Prof Sue Black  entertained us with with her amazing background, passion for all things computer based and getting more women into STEM subjects.   She was a leading light in getting funding for Bletchley Park, somewhere we had visited as a Club a few years ago.   It has certainly stimulated our appetite to go again in 2021.

Dr Alison Gardner went through some very sad facts and statistics concerning modern day slavery.

And finally we had the ever entertaining Jane Garvie tell us about her time in broadcasting.   And the obstacles and attitudes, especially about her pay, that she had to overcome.

Want to know more about what happened at Conference 2020?

You can check out the blogs on the SIGBI conference website.