More than 40 Members of Soroptimist International London Chilterns Region attended the annual Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) Conference this year 24-26 Oct in Bournemouth.
The theme of the Conference was the theme for the SIGBI Federation year #ThinkOnIt with a focus on mental health for our own wellbeing and the mental health of the women and girls Soroptimists support. There is more information about the Conference on the website www.sigbi.org/bournemouth2019 Delegates wore green at the start of the conference to raise awareness of mental health.
The images below give just a taste of the conference – there is so much going on you really have to be there for the full immersive experience!
One of the speakers was fifteen-year-old Katy lives in Bournemouth. She supports the charity Toilet Twinning which many of our Clubs do too. She was incredibly brave to talk about her own personal struggle with anxiety and social phobia, which began when she was very young. Katy is being supported by the NHS mental health services that are provided for adolescents (CAMHS), through which she is learning coping mechanisms. Last year, Katy had the opportunity to travel with Toilet Twinning to meet a 14-year-old girl who lives in rural Zambia. Katy discovered that the lack of toilets at the homes of families can create anxiety and dignity issues for girls, who are fearful of being discovered as they crouch in the bush to go to the toilet. Girls who live in poor communities without toilets also fear being attacked, or bitten by snakes, or social exclusion. Katy spoke movingly about how this trip and her work with toilet twinning has started to turn her life around.
The conference ended with Denise Powell being installed as our Region’s new president for 2019/2020 please see here to read a message from Denise www.sigbi.org/london-chilterns/president
Johanna Raffan from the SI Thames Valley Club in our Region was also installed as the Federation’s President-Elect www.sigbi.org/who-we-are/how-it-works
Members of the Region with their guests all had a lovely dinner together on the last night, organised by our new President Denise. Sharing food with friends new and old is always a most enjoyable part of being at conference.