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Celebrating Inspirational Women at the Soroptimist Region Conference Milton Keynes

Soroptimist International London Chilterns Conference Milton Keynes - Kate Belinis, Sue Key, High Sheriff Kurshida MurzaThe Soroptimist International London Chilterns Region on Saturday 15 June was a great success! SI Milton Keynes, hosted the event on behalf of SILC President Kate Belinis continuing Kate’s theme of “Celebrating Inspirational Women”. The venue was perfect, with great technology enabling some Members of the Region to join us on Zoom. We were really lucky to be able to use the building and facilities of MK SNAP (Milton Keynes Special Needs Advancement Project), because Angie Novell, a Member of SI Milton Keynes, is the Chief Executive of the charity.

President Kate Belinis (pictured here on the left) started the event by saying how proud we should all be with all the Soroptimist celebrations this year – our Federation SIGBI is 90, SI Greater London Club is 100 and SI High Wycombe is 60!

Our headline speaker, Kurshida Mirza BEM, High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire (pictured above on the right) did not disappoint. Kurshida is the first British Muslim woman of Asian heritage to take on this Office. Kurshida is informed by and rooted in her core Islamic values of Peace, Justice, and Love for humanity, and her Interfaith work. Inspired by her mother who always put the needs of others before her own giving voice to many women when they had no one to turn to, Kurshida is focused on creating opportunities to further inclusivity. In her year of Office her plans include prioritising activities, interventions and visits to charities and organisations that work with diverse communities to tackle social exclusion, strengthen communities and create partnerships. Click here to watch the 33 minute video recording from Zoom: Soroptimist International London Chilterns Conference Milton Keynes - thanks to Ukrainian RefugeesThe video starts with Soroptimist International London Chilterns President Kate Belinis introducing the conference. Then Angie Novell from the host Club SI Milton Keynes, CEO of MK SNAP where the event is taking place gives a warm welcome and explains about her work with the charity (Angie is pictured here on the right of the Ukrainian singers). The Soroptimist Vison and Mission is read by Milton Keynes Soroptimist’s newest and youngest Member, Summer Nunes. Then we had the keynote speaker, Kurshida Mirza, BEM, High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire.

Soroptimist International London Chilterns Conference Milton Keynes - singing and dancing with Ukrainian RefugeesProgramme Action filled the next part of the Programme – the heart of all Soroptimist Clubs. Pam Robertson, the London Chilterns Programme Action Officer introduced SI Milton Keynes Club Chair Sue Key (pictured above between Kate Belinis and the High Sheriff) gave a moving presentation about their inspirational project the Violet Awards and more projects too. Click here to download Sue’s presentation: SI MK Violet Awards Presentation for Region 2024 After Sue’s presentation we heard wonderful songs and music from three young women in Milton Keynes from the Ukraine Appeal wanting to thank SI Milton Keynes for their support. Soroptimists from around the Region couldn’t resist getting up and dancing to the Abba song at the end of the the set! The two photos above are of the singers receiving flowers to thank them, and of Members of the Region dancing and singing along! If you click here you can watch the video recording from Zoom – it is 1 hour long

Anne Child was our speaker after lunch. Anne is member of SI Thames Valley Club and a Trustee of The SIGBI Diamond Education Grant. (DEG) This charitable body was set up in 1972 by SIGBI to provide grants to assist women to update their skills after employment breaks or to acquire new skills to improve their opportunities for employment and promotion. Anne started by playing this video presentation (less than 2 mins) Anne delivered a presentation – you can download her slides here: DEG SILCR Anne Child Presentation Anne explained how members and Clubs can support this work, both practically and financially and how the grant aims to change women’s lives. Plus, there was fun quiz to test our knowledge at the end!

Soroptimist International London Chilterns Conference Milton Keynes - Dishi Attwood SIGBI Director of MembershipOur last speaker of the day was Dishi Attwood (pictured here) – the inspirational Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) Director of Membership and Development. Dishi is always a joy to hear – she is full of ideas, energy and enthusiasm. If she was a stick of rock she would have SOROPTIMIST written right the way through her! You can click here to watch this 53 minute recording from Zoom, which includes Dishi’s presentation and the wrapping up of the conference:

SI Milton Keynes’ hospitality was first class, including a delicious lunch.  Everyone said how much they had enjoyed the event – and it certainly fulfilled the brief of “Celebrating Inspirational Women”.