SI Leeds is a one of the oldest clubs in Yorkshire having been founded in 1930. It is part of an international organisation. We work with other clubs locally in our cluster and region as well as on our own projects and the larger scale SIGBI initiatives.
Contact with other clubs, known as Friendship Links, has been an integral part of this club’s activities. Currently we have nine links with SI clubs in Europe, America and as far afield as Australia. Over the years there has been involvement in joint projects. We have strong links with the club in Dortmund and, after the unification of Germany when SI Dortmund financed women to come to Leeds to learn English, members here provided support to the students. Another project with the Australian club SI Jondaloop resulted in a village in the Solomon Islands getting its own supply of clean water; three of our members took a trip to visit the installation along with some Australian colleagues. Members co-operated with the Amsterdam club to provide funds to help a school in North Bombay.
Nearer to home the club set up a healthy eating project at a local primary school and was instrumental in starting up an organisation known as ‘Caring Together’ based in the Woodhouse area of Leeds which provides support to the elderly and is now an independent service under the auspices of Leeds City Council.
Another long running project was the provision of bed sits for women on the upper floors of Soroptimist House in Woodhouse Cliffe where the club held its meetings. The house was owned by the Leeds Soroptimist Housing Company Ltd formed by members when they purchased the property in 1957. The property was sold in 2008 and investments from the sale now provide accommodation for meetings and help to fund club projects when necessary.
More recently collections of items for children from Chernobyl and Christmas gifts for Leeds Women’s Aid have been well received. On an historical note it is recorded that on Sunday nights during WWII members served refreshments at the Railway Station to the soldiers returning to camp after their weekend leave.
In 2012 the club embarked on a project known as the SI Leeds Literary Prize and details of this are available at http://sileedsliteraryprize.wordpress.com/. It was awarded for the fourth time in 2018 and the 2020 competition is now under way. It has grown in standing and is becoming more widely known.
In addition to the project work the club enjoys varying activities at the monthly meetings including speakers, whose themes are often liked to projects. In addition to the regular meetings social activities take place in the form of meals out and the occasional visit to a place of interest. Fundraising events whether large or small provide an opportunity to work alongside members and have some fun.