International Conventions have always had strong membership representation from Leigh members and pioneering women attended Conferences in Copenhagen, Toronto, New York, Hawaii and Istanbul when air travel was in its commercial infancy. From these intrepid Soroptimists developed links with Clubs worldwide and existing friendship clubs have continued with Quincy in California and Mons Borinage in Belgium, as well as Haverfordwest in South Wales.
A feature of being part of an International Organisation has been a 4-year quadrennial project when all four Federations combined to raise funds for a specific country/district where a great need has been identified. Examples of their projects have been Medical Boats in the Maldives, safe water in Senegal, Sight Savers in Bangladesh and Hope for Homes in war torn Sierra Leone.
Local projects have been developed from members identifying specific target areas where Making a Difference would enhance the lives of Women and girls. In 1948 an over 70’s Club was founded. Activities, refreshments and friendships aimed to prevent social isolation. This club continued for 35 years until Centres’ were established which offered elderly people comprehensive care on a more regular basis.
Club representation on a wide variety of committees such as Girl Guides Association, Marriage Guidance Council, Citizens Advice Bureau ,Civic Trust, and Old peoples Welfare ensured the profile of Soroptimists was highlighted. Representation on the Executive Board of the Soroptimist Residential Club at 63 Bayswater Road in London encouraged club members to visit London whether alone or in a group staying in a beautiful Victorian Building strategically based opposite Hyde Park and Lancaster Gate Tube Station nearby. For twenty-five years practical help in providing transport for local residents to be taken to the Parkinson Society meetings in Bolton and also undertaking delivery of Meals on Wheels have been service roles undertaken in the past.
Raising funds for various projects have included Car Boot Sales, Race Nights, Barn Dances, Jazz Evenings, Fashion Shows, Balloon Races and sponsored events. Key projects have encompassed Health, Environment, Education as the major focus. Lots of bulb and tree planning around the Leigh and District area have taken place over the years and the fruits of these initiatives are still a feature today
Environmentally, the Club was awarded a certificate in 1990 in the Queen Mother’s Birthday Awards in recognition of the Town Centre clearing of ‘Grot Spots’ and provision of litterbins.
Educationally, monetary awards have been given to Students who have achieved academic success despite physical, mental or emotional disabilities. Competitions have also been held amongst Primary school children for entries of prose, art or poetry, with outings etc. provided for the winning School
In 1998 Leigh Soroptimists considered a service project in the Town, which would not only commemorate the Centenary of the Borough of Leigh but also be a millennium project of lasting value. Members were aware that the Spinning Jenny plaque, which had hung at the side of the Regal Cinema building had been removed when the building was demolished in the???1980’s to make way for a new Bus Station
Further investigations discovered the broken tile plaque in the basement of Tyldesley Baths. Monies were raised via local Businesses and fundraising events for the £4000 restoration project.
Jackson Tile Company in Ironbridge built a new tile surround around the repaired plaque and Wigan Council agreed to fund a mahogany frame to be placed in the foyer of Leigh town Hall which was in keeping with the existing décor.