New Year and a packed business meeting
Our first meeting for 2021 was busy in every sense. Not only did we work our way through the President Gill’s agenda for our business over the next few months, we also had a great Zoom turnout from Club. Including for a short time, one member’s cat! We also gave a warm welcome to a potential new member.
Soroptimists and Safeguarding
We are indeed fortunate. Our brilliant Club member Jean has stepped forward to act as both the Safeguarding Lead for Midland Arden Region, and for our Club. With Jean’s background in training, Social Work and safeguarding children, she was perfectly placed to give us an excellent presentation. Jean very ably helped our Club members to think about ‘good safeguarding practice’. She helped members have a basic awareness of our responsibilities and duties. And that it’s not all about whether we’ve had a DBS check.
Club members can check out Jean’s power point, and the protocol from SIGBI in the members only section
Caring during Lockdown
We have a well deserved reputation as a friendly Club. Our amazing Welfare group gave us a round up about various Club members (past and present). Obviously everyone has been contacted, some have needed a bit more by way of a phone call or a card. Club members have also supported each other with socially distanced one to one walks. We’re doing our best despite the restrictions of Lockdown 3, and the winter weather.
Arts Project update
President Elect Julie gave us a progress report on how the Arts Project is progressing,
Julie was hugely impressed by hearing Dame Vera Baird speak at the Midland and Region Conference early last March. And wanted to be part of work to support, empower and improve the lives of women suffering domestic abuse or violence. A strong believer in the transformative power of the Arts, Julie read about a Refuge called the Haven. The women there produced artworks displayed at Wolverhampton Central Library as part of the UN 16 days of action. As it happens, the CEO of the Haven is a Soroptimist friend of Jean L!
“The Haven project gave women the chance to share positive experiences with other women in refuge. It also offered women the chance to reconnect with their hobbies which may have been stopped by an abuser. The exhibition helped the audience to understand the impact of domestic abuse and the importance of services like the Haven. And appreciate the talents of the women themselves and that experiencing abuse does not define a person.”
Ann P put Julie in touch with someone who is what might be called the outreach worker for The Art Society Royal Leamington Spa. Very generously the Arts Society RLS have given a donation of £1000 as part of their support to take art into the community. This will widen the brief of the project to include more disadvantaged people. The Museum and Art Gallery in Leamington have agreed to exhibit any work which might result from the Art as Therapy project.
Our local Refuge via Sue G were very enthusiastic about the idea of an art experience of their own.
And so the links and the team work of our Club continue. An artist lead has been found. A safe venue for the workshops has yet to be organised but several options are being explored.
As with everything else we have to wait until Covid restrictions are eased for our project to begin. But we intend to have everything in place for that moment!
The power of positive thinking
It’s been brilliant to have something positive to do and think about during this third lockdown and Winter months. The Women of Empowerment Trail for our Centenary celebrations is giving us just such a focus. Indeed, our Friendship link Arnhem Oust is keen to be involved somehow. They sent us this video clip from an exciting young Dutch singer Anouk called ‘It’s a new day’ (Don’t worry, it’s in English but remember to skip the adverts!)
The various groups are working with various degrees of artistic ability! The wordsmiths are helping out and those with more artistic talent are giving support. We are really looking forward to when we can actually meet up and share our skills. Even if it’s with the Rule of Six and socially distanced. Although the date for the Trail has now moved from May to late August, we remain optimistic. We can still work on our quiz questions and think about ‘I chose this woman because’.
Lending with Care
As ever, our Club not only supports local and national causes, but we have a strong commitment to empowering women overseas. President Gill took us through how the Club will be supporting women through the Lend With Care charity. We had had a presentation of this so we were familiar with how the charity works providing microfinance.
Now it was time to allocate some money. With our previous links to Malawi and Peru we opted for women in these countries.
We’re looking forward to hearing how they get on. Plus getting our loan back so we can re-invest in other women and help them get out of poverty. A win win situation
If you’d like to find out more about how this microfinancing works you can watch this video. And maybe you’ll be tempted to invest in someone of your choice.