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Our Projects – Programme Action

2020-21: As we began our club year facing problems created by the Coronavirus, we were mindful that women and girls were suffering the most, especially where there is economic hardship too. From our fundraising events, in April ’20, we donated £1,000 to the Women’s Health Information Service in Bold Street. We donated £500 to Mary Seacole House to help support the mental health of  women from multi cultural backgrounds. We  also donated £600 to South Liverpool Domestic Abuse Services to help support those who are suffering from the increase in domestic abuse during this time of lockdown. In April 2021, we have been able to donate a further £510 to SDLAS to provide advisory leaflets for those seeking support from abusive relationships and in support of mental health.

Whilst we currently have had to curtail our capacity to fundraise and educate ourselves and others about issues faced particularly by women and girls, we have continued to do as much as we can for others. We have attended international meetings, via Zoom, on topics around forced marriage, domestic violence, abuse of the elderly and environmental issues. We were able to attend sessions  from the Commission for the Status of Women at the UN. We have been working this year in partnership with the following organisations and projects:

Health and Food Security: Our group are working in partnership with the Whitechapel Centre, Langsdale Street, L1. When the clients were moved into supported living during the pandemic, we have provided toiletry bags for the women, seven TV sets and 35 buckets of cleaning materials. For those being moved on into long term accommodation , we have provided 35 bags of basic store cupboard supplies such as coffee, tea, sugar, pasta, sauce, curry powder, herbs, salt, pepper, jam etc. We also donated twenty suitcases to help with their move, as well as four sewing machines for women going into accommodation. We have supported South Liverpool Food Bank throughout the year with supplies of food as well as cash donations, including a donation of £500 at Christmas ’20. By Easter ’21, we donated 50 Easter Eggs, a dozen knitted ‘Little Hugs’ to the service user families and  bags of hand cream to the staff  at Five Children’s and Families Centre in Speke. Thirty gift bags, with toiletries sponsored by Templespa, were donated to a local nursing home staff in recognition of their love and care for residents during an extremely challenging year.

Violence and Reconciliation: Our group were working in partnership with other clubs in the region, investigating the effectiveness of special Domestic Violence Courts for women and their experience of the judicial system. This is temporarily on hold due to the disruption of the courts during lockdown. However, within our group we have members that are working with trafficked people, victims of FGM. We have been able to support fundraising events for Stop The Traffick and other groups with donations of requested items. A number within our group and other club members have registered for webinars run by Soroptimist International President Sharon Fisher along with other linked organisations. Engagement on issues facing women and girls has on average amounted in time to 35+ hours which is as valid as face to face project work.

Education, Economic Empowerment and Environment: Our group has been supporting the citywide project Urban Green-Up, which runs until 2022 and there was great celebrations when our project was chosen by the Federation for Best Practice Award 2020 for Planet. We have now partnered with Friends of Princes Park and have bought and helped to plant 100 trees and bushes in Princes Park, including 30 Scot’s Pines, 10 Larch and 2 Eucryphia trees. This is a wonderful legacy for the people who use this city centre park, whilst celebrating 100 years of Soroptimism. We also continue to support Water Aid each year. We are actively encouraging members with recycling, including tablet blister packs, avoiding the purchase of plastics and supporting Fair Trade.

Some of our recent partnerships :

Our “Active 8” Projects since 2014- Why are we Soroptimists?

 Active 8 was a new way for our club to deliver projects or partnerships that aim to improve the lives of women and children. We have created 3 focus groups:

  • Economic Empowerment / Learning Opportunities/ Environmental Sustainability
  • Food Security and Healthcare
  • Violence and Conflict Resolution

Club members are given a choice of group to join. Each group identifies one or two projects that they agree to undertake and time is given at the majority of club meetings for the groups to get together and work on their projects. Groups may also meet at other agreed times. This has proved to be very successful so far and all the members are involved in some way. It has allowed an all inclusive atmosphere in the club and we are working together whilst focusing on the reasons we are involved with this amazing organisation!

Violence and Conflict Resolution

The group continues to offer support for Centre 56 in Kirkdale,  a centre  for victims of domestic abuse.The good work will continue in 2018 with lots of fund raising to continue our long standing affiliation with this wonderful Centre for underprivileged children and their mums. Members offer financial advice, counselling for the women and assistance with applications for funding.

Also in  2018, the focus of the group will be on issues and education around human trafficking and modern day slavery. There are a number of potential local partnerships , involving local agencies, with Soroptimists from other regional groups willing to give joint service. One of our members works for Stop The Traffik.

Food and Health Security

Our latest project, for 2016-2018  focusses on issues around coeliac disease, with potentially 1 million sufferers undiagnosed. Working with Coeliac UK, we are currently setting up a partnership to help to raise awareness in Liverpool. Other issues upon which we are considering taking action is centered on the higher costs of gluten free food and the current squeeze on health resources which will deny poorer families their access to free prescriptions for sufferers.We are looking at best practice for restaurants in the city, catering for people with food intolerances.

Economic Empowerment / Learning Opportunities and Environmental Sustainability

This group are in partnership with the Girl Guide Association and currently funding and supporting a group in Kirkdale. We have also recently funded a Ranger Guide to travel abroad to work with a community of women in India.

Another partnership centres on the Reader Organisation, based in Calderstones Park. The club have provided a reading bench, in celebration of our recent 90th birthday. Future support will revolve around voluntary activities to support the organisation once it moves back into its accommodation in Calderstones Park, which is currently being refurbished.The group also are taking a lead on environmental air pollution too.

 

As you can see above, we offer a variety of programme action which appeals to the different skills and interests of club members. There is nothing better than a willing volunteer who wants to make a difference to the lives of other women and girls!

 

The President’s Charity

Each year, we  support a charity on behalf of our club President. Here are some of the charities that have benefitted from the club’s fundraising efforts in the last few years: Over £10,000 shared by the following:

Past Projects

May 2014 saw a re-jig of our groups to ensure all members could get involved in all our projects. We decided to combine the Economic Empowerment / Learning Opportunities and Environmental Sustainability Groups so now have three thriving Groups. Below is a summary of past projects from 2014 -2016

Violence and Conflict Resolution 2014-2016

This group were working on issues around human trafficking as well as having expertise in issues around FGM

There are two projects that the group agreed continue to support

1 .Centre 56

2. FGM

Eileen and Dorothy gave an overview of what has been achieved and the need for further input in the two projects. The group felt that ongoing work is needed in order to maintain the sensitivity and moral dilemmas of human rights of children and women. £500.00 was raised to enable a family outing what an achievement!

We endeavour to make a difference in the following ways:

Centre 56

  • Sessional work from club members eg women’s health, other educational activities (managing personal finances)
  • Participation from the families centre 56
  • Fund Raising for children in order they could enjoy holidays (coffee mornings in club members homes).
  • Club members collect chocolates treats to give the children at XMAS.
  • A visit to be arranged for members in the group to visit centre 56.(Eileen to arrange)

FGM

  • Continue to raise awareness with voluntary and statutory services e.g.: education and schools.
  • To visit members in the group to multicultural women’s group to liaise ,support and work in partnership.(Dorothy to arrange)
  • Work with other Soroptimists to share our expertise
  • Encourage women for diverse communities to join our group.

Food and Health Security

We were reminded that education, empowerment and enablement and the topic of Endometriosis was such an important issue, as 1 in 10 women suffer from it in varying degrees. We were asked to consider the age group to whom we are going to aim our campaign to raise awareness. Getting diagnosed was often delayed as symptoms can be seen in other conditions.  (eg.PID, IBS) The group discussed some of the issues about taking our campaign forward. We learned something  about the treatments available too. We discussed what format the information should take, including bookmarks, leaflets and purse sized cards  and agreed a purse-sized card is best. We also talked about A4 sized adverts for surgeries, toilet doors etc. We considered how much information should be given to teenage girls, which should be guided towards an awareness re what is normal re periods and pain rather than too much information. We also felt that  Universities and areas where older women (25-35 yrs) could pick up information, should be targeted.

Due to pressure on time, we only had a limited discussion on support for foodbanks. From experience, members who had been involved in transporting food, felt that it was heavy and onerous. We agreed to do a one-off collection of money in November from members. Two members volunteered to shop and deliver to the food bank, on behalf of the club.

Action Plan:

  •  Contact Endemetriosis UK to enquire about their own leaflets that we can distribute
  • Contact Liverpool Women’s Hospital for their leaflets
  • Contact Smartprint for cost of print and ideas for fonts, layout etc
  • Contact schools to find out whether Endometriosis is part of their curriculum in PSHE (AG and  MG?)

Economic Empowerment / Learning Opportunities and Environmental Sustainability

The annual Public Speaking Competition will go ahead again in 2015 and all schools have been contacted and invited to nominate contestants. It is hoped that we will gain some sponsorship once again towards the costs.

Recycled home wares and bedding are being collected for a local charity – The Whitechapel centre.

The project to ensure all 5 year old children have a book to read continues in partnership with The Reader Organisation.

In April 2012 the Executive of the club decided it was time to look at a new and exciting way of tackling SI Liverpool’s Programme Action. We did this by setting up a small focus group to identify how we could get all members involved in action no matter how big or small. Following an evening of sharing ideas, we came up with the title Active 8 and produced a PowerPoint presentation to deliver to the club at the next meeting.   We asked the club members two questions;

  • Are you a woman who wants to make a difference?
  • Do you care about issues that affect women and girls?

We then reminded the ladies of SI’s Vision and Mission, Values and Goals because a little reminder now and then focuses the mind.

 

PAC Update March 2014

Violence and Conflict Resolution

President Anne has arranged for Merseyside Police to give a presentation on their work related to forced marriages and honour killings. Dependent on what we hear from the police will help our group decide what further action we can take or get involved with. President Anne is eager to follow up on the FGM ( Female Genital Mutilation) awareness in schools. The recent presentation to the group on FGM was well attended by many key groups but not by CPO’s ( child protection officers). Anne has said she will put together a short presentation to deliver to CPO’s and then extend this to the Pastoral Care .

Centre 56.

Anne  and Marie  recently delivered a session to Centre 56 as part of the 10 week ‘Positive You’ course which is being delivered to women affected by domestic abuse. Centre 56 were really pleased with their input on money management, loans and credit unions. The women wanted more info and still have lots of questions so Anne and Marie are being invited back and have been given a complete free hand to organise the session and go on longer.  The feedback from centre 56 was excellent. In addition Hugh Baird has provided funds to the centre for the Positive You course and will also offer floristry and DIY to the women.Good quality Clothes, bedding and toiletries are still welcome.

Anthea has asked for any toiletries for the other centre we support.

Maureen  suggesting we lobby our local MP or start a Facebook campaign to force parliament to have a debate on FGM.

Food and Health Security

The group delivered many bags of food the the North and South Liverpool Food Banks prior to Christmas Sharon Bird gave a presentation on health and end of life care

Economic Sustainability, Leaning Opportunity and Environmental Sustainability

Two groups merged into one in the new year.

The group discussed various points, and a few problems such as poor road surfaces and mobile phone masts. We feel that matters like this are probably best dealt with individually, with emails or letters to the Council.

Regarding the “beautification” of Aigburth Railway Station, the SARA group is awaiting information about safety training, and will let us know when they receive it.

The “Change for Change” tube currently contains £7.87, collected during the last 2 meetings.

Two Bronze standard Aqua boxes have been paid for by the club.

The Public Speaking Competition was held on the 8th March and we are already planning next years

Food Security and Healthcare

The group has been collecting food from members, family and friends to donate to two local Foodbanks. They have received a thank you letter from South Liverpool Foodbank. The foodbank has given out 8 tonnes of food in the last financial year, the latest distribution point in Speke supplied 140 struggling families with food in it’s first month. The groups main priority for the foreseeable future will be to continue supplying the foodbanks in North and South Liverpool.

Environmental Sustainability

The group are collecting old clothes for Cash for Clothes and using the proceeds to supply two aqua boxes per year. They have lobbied the council regarding the excessive leaves that are clogging specific roads in South Liverpool and are looking at the feasibility of providing seeds for the Growing Together Project in Toxteth.

Economic Empowerment and Leaning Opportunities

The plans for SI Liverpool’s Annual Public Speaking Competition on 2nd March 2013 are well under way and members have been liaising with the schools involved. The group have secured sponsorship towards the competition. Children’s books are being sought for the Thrive at 5 campaign and all members have been asked to donate as many books as possible for the campaign to enable them to provide a child with a different book on a weekly basis. Further actions are being discussed to provide financial advice to the clients of Dales Haven.

Violence and Conflict Resolution

The group are arranging an awareness evening in Blackburne Hse to raise the issues of FGM. Speakers are being sought and more information will follow.

Active 8 Review Towards the end of last year we issued a reflections questionnaire to all club members in order to review how we are moving forward with our new way of thinking. We had a fantastic response to the questionnaire with 95% of the members feeling positive about the changes and feeling more included and involved. The review also showed that there were improvements that can be made so the Executive agreed the following:

  • Ensure an agenda is issued for all meetings with relevant time scales.
  • As it is not financially viable to post all correspondence we will continue to use e-mail as our primary communications tool.
  • Members should, where possible, attend as many regional meetings as possible to ensure they are fully informed on Regional issues as it is not possible to bring everything back to the club due to time constraints.
  • Return to providing club meeting minutes.
  • Give more time to general discussion.
  • Keep the group members as they are for another 12 months to ensure consistency.

The executive continue to welcome feedback.