2021-2022:As we began to emerge from the lockdowns created by the virus, it enabled our programme groups to be more active within the community. Much of our fundraising events this year supported President Debra’s charity The Dianne Oxberry Trust which raises awareness of ovarian cancer. Over £6000 was donated, which was a wonderful amount and the Trust were very grateful. Donations were also given to Beechley Riding for the Disabled, Care Leavers’ Christmas, So the Child May Live (Nepal) and Ukraine Appeal. A special donation was made to Regional President Dorcas’s Breathe Easy Foundation.
Health and Food Security: We continue to support The South Liverpool foodbank, The Five Children and Families Trust in Speke. The children received Easter Eggs. We donated bags of toiletries to the Hope Centre at Sefton Park for women recovering from addiction. We helped to support a new city initiative to help support young people who have come out of care and may be struggling over the Christmas period. We shopped for £300 worth of gifts that the youngsters expressed would be special for them.
Violence and Reconciliation Group: As the court services started to open up again, our group were able to plan how to monitor the court processes for victims of Domestic Violence. We intend to monitor whether the court process is fair. We collected clothing for The Lighthouse Project, via Morecroft’s Solicitors, for women victims of domestic violence who have gone into emergency care. We also collected clothing for Refugee Women Connect. On International Women’s Day, we organised publicity around the theme #Break The Bias. We supported one of our members who works for Stop The Traffick to highlight modern day slavery in a bus tour of the city. Two members also volunteered to work with Liverpool Archdiocese to sort and pack items going to Ukraine to help those who had fled the war which began in February.
Education, Economic Empowerment and Environment: Our group continues to support an initiative that we started, bringing reading books and educative books to The Lodge Lane Food Bank. Feeding minds is as important as feeding bodies. This initiative has been well received and is thriving. Members continue to engage in recycling of waste and several took the BBC challenge to raise awareness of the overuse of plastic by participating in a survey. Other members are collecting used blister packs, old glasses and cases, recycling bras etc.
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.