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What We Do: Programme Action in our region is alive and well!

In March, just prior to Lockdown, we held a Fundraising lunch at Wivenhoe House, Colchester – a great place for events.  Each Club who participated provided items for a Silent Auction, Raffle Prizes (including toilet rolls which were like gold dust at the time!) and some had stalls selling jewellery.  We raised £900 so divided between the participating Clubs we had some additional funds to help our charities during this very difficult time. Moreover, we had a really good time together – great company, great food and the odd glass!

Our activities are focused on people, planet, peace, prosperity and working in partnership.

Examples of what we do (Programme Action) at some of our Clubs (prior to Lockdown – see separate Post about the latter)

 SI Cambridge have:

  • Made regular monthly donations of cleaning materials (Buckets/bowls filled with household cleaning items) to the Cambridge Refuge for women moving into new homes.
  • As Members of the Cambridge Domestic and Sexual Violence Partnership in which statutory and voluntary organisations develop local policies to support women they play an important role
  • Given Cookery lessons at Whitworth House hostel for young women ended part way through the year. The House has been under threat of closure and they have undertaken local efforts to prevent this by writing protests. The closure is at present on hold.
  • Toilet Twinning – they raised money (£400) for the local council to link public lavatories with a set somewhere in Africa, and are chasing the City Council to progress this.

SI Chelmsford have:

  • Worked with Anglian Ruskin cross-promoting a new initiative they have in place for online reporting of harassment, bullying and sexual violence among other unacceptable behaviours.
  • And, carrying on various long-standing actions, members help to contribute materials for starter bags of toiletries, and moving-on bags of household supplies, for women entering and leaving our local women’s refuge, and we continue to sponsor a girl’s education through the Rosie May Foundation.

SI Colchester have:

  • Continues to support St Helena Hospice by providing Sunday reception cover.  The Club was instrumental in the setting up of our local hospice and continues to provide support.
  •  Actively support their local Women’s Refuge.  On a monthly basis purchase ‘Starter Bags’, an idea we learnt from our sisters in Chelmsford.  These are much appreciated by the ladies moving onto the ‘Next Chapter’.
  • Held several fundraising events for Refugee Action and supported a lady refugee to achieve a level of English which will enable her to return to University and achieve the education she left behind.
  • Colchester Youth Awards – Colchester Club sponsored an award.  The CYA Diamond Writing Award was a great success.  10 young people submitted entries and a judging panel of SI Colchester Soroptimists got it down to a shortlist of three finalists. All three finalists attended the ceremony.
  • Continue to collect jewellery and other unwanted items with a recycling value. Recently, their efforts raised another £115 for our President’s charities.

SI East London have:

  • People: providing English conversation sessions to volunteers of TheIdeasPartnership in Kosovo
  • People: researching and publishing the history of women in East London in partnership with the East End Womens Museum and other organisations
  • People: given support to Beyond the Streets, an organisation helping women out of street prostitution
  • People: Given support to Ella’s Home, a refuge for trafficked women
  • Planet: twinning toilets in public locations throughout East London to improve access to healthy, safe sanitation and water around the world with Toilet Twinning.
  • Prosperity: nominating East London female entrepreneurs for awards.
  • Prosperity: given support to female run social enterprises including SaPune in Kosovo and Juta shoes in London,

SI Great Yarmouth have:

  • Continued supporting 2 local refuges – Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft
  • Other donated items have been given to International Aid Trust. We are working in partnership with a local church to recycle/reuse as much as possible.
  • In partnership with the Library service we’ve contributed a significant amount to the Red Box Project (sanitary products).
  • Taken part in 3 events for International Women’s Day by engaging with students at a 6th Form College on careers, Soroptimism and issues of importance to the student;  holding a free event in the library working with GYROS (Great Yarmouth Refugee and Outreach Support), community workers and library personnel; holding a Charity Lunch and auction with about one hundred guests raising c.£1300. They also launched their Young Women’s Leadership Award offered in partnership with Rotary.

SI Ipswich have:

  • Started an investigation into Modern Day Slavery – how Suffolk Constabulary is set up to tackle this crime, how our local authorities from the County Council, District Councils, Borough Councils, Town & Parish Councils cascade information down and work with our Police Authority.  What do they do to increase awareness of the crime, how to identify a potential victim, how to report any suspicions and if training is given to all their staff on this issue.
  • Made over 300 syringe driver bags for Ipswich Hospital for the use for cancer and end of life patients (both women and men).  This is an ongoing project.
  • Given an award of £250 from the Club’s Education Bursary to a refugee woman to undertake a CACHE Level 3 Award in Childcare and Education.
  • In recognition of UN Literacy Day members read the book ‘The Shock of the Fall’ by Nathan Filer about a young man with mental health issues (in support of SIGBI President Sue’s theme ‘Think on It’.  Books were borrowed from the Library and together members donated £40 to the Regional Pelandaba Project in lieu.  And subsequently their President did a fundraising lunch that raised over £100 for the same Project.
  • For UN Day of the Girl Child and Mental Health Day members wrote to their MP (the Club covers approx 5 constituencies) about the slow referral and poor support given to young people with mental health problems
  • Gave a special graduation prize of £75 book token to an outstanding female student at the University of Suffolk.

SI Kings Lynn have:

  • Raised awareness of a number of issues and built partnerships with other local organisations.
  • Hosted a flower bed in Tower Gardens for the Anglia in Bloom Competition.
  • Donated Christmas gifts and food stuffs in support of the homeless in the community.
  • Hosted a stall at International Earth Day.
  • Collected sanitary products to donate to an initiative run by the local libraries.
  • Provided English lessons for migrant workers.

SI Norwich have:

  • Collected gifts for Christmas, materials for handicrafts, offers of support in activities e.g. walks, therapy for 4Women – women going through the probation system
  • Supported UNA’s meetings with tea making and encouraging people to attend meetings.
  • Fundraised for Opening Doors (A self help group for adults with disabilities ) for the third year with a Stall at a Christmas Fayre 3rd year of fundraising.
  • Partnered with Waterstones “ Christmas Tree of books”  for six girls in the foster care/ immigrant community nominated by Norfolk County Council.
  • Involvement with  NOPF (Norwich Older Peoples Forum ) e.g. providing one of the speakers for AGM

SI Southend have continued:

  • Raised money for its joint Presidents project which is Age Concern Southend, who are establishing a ‘One Stop’ hub; they hope to add a hairdressers, chiropodist, health and financial advocacy to the café and club areas. The latest venture was a Fashion Show.
  • Taken bags to the Women’s Refuge
  • Made donations of required items to the One Love Soup Kitchen
  • Made up small toiletry bags for women who find themselves unexpectedly in hospital and wrapped presents for them.