WOW! What a way to mark International Women’s Day! #ChoosetoChallenge the Status Quo – please scroll down to read more and see pictures of all of the attendees raising their hands for the challenge. The word “inspirational” is often over-used, but our two speakers were more than that – we all left the Zoom event stimulated and motivated by these wonderful women. Our two stimulating women leaders who spoke to us on Sat 13 March were ACC Kerrin Wilson, QPM – Assistant Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police and Shrabani Basu author of the “Spy Princess” who told us the amazing story of Noor Inayat Khan – the first woman radio operator to be infiltrated into occupied France in 1943. See below to read more about these two brilliant women and information on how to buy Shrabani’s books. ACC Kerrin Wilson, QPM – Assistant Chief Constable of
Soroptimists in Milton Keynes are in the news! www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/news/people/dedicated-group-works-to-change-lives-of-women-and-girls-for-the-better-all-over-milton-keynes-3169193 The MK Citizen Headline reads: Dedicated group works to change lives of women and girls for the better all over Milton Keynes MK women who are part of a 100-year-old worldwide organisation are providing help and inspiration to females all over the borough. Read the news item and check out their website to find out more www.sigbi.org/milton-keynes Milton Keynes Soroptimist Club is acting as the coordinator for the NHS Hearts for Hope activity which is a national group set up to enable stitchers to come together in a supportive way in order to make textile hearts to give to NHS staff who work in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) wards. It includes all staff from the cleaners and porters to the doctors, consultants, nurses and everybody in between. These Hearts are intended to say thank you, share
Do you recognize the signs of modern slavery? Do you know how to report them to the authorities? In their on-going work on violence against women, Soroptimist International of Thames Valley invited Caroline Virgo of The Clewer Initiative to be one of their monthly speakers, on Zoom of course because of current COVID restrictions. Soroptimist International of Thames Valley members were joined on Zoom by Soroptimists from other clubs throughout the UK and also by 7 members from their link club in Belgium, Soroptimist International of Val Brabant. Caroline explained that the Clewer Initiative had its origins in the 1900s, founded by nuns, but that now they are a group of women plus a Bishop of the Church of England, Bishop Alistair Redfern who work to combat modern slavery in the UK and Africa. Their thinking is that in every UK community there is a
The Soroptimist International London Chilterns Region Meeting/Conference & Celebration of UN Human Rights Day was held on Sat 12 Dec via Zoom. Wow – what an inspiring way to spend a Saturday morning! This was the first meeting with our new Regional President Helen Byrne’s theme for the year “Celebrate the Past, Create the Future” – and it met the brief perfectly! We welcomed two speakers: Kimberley Lamb, Head of Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit and Johanna Raffan MBE Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland President for 2020-2021. Scroll down to read about Kimberley and Johanna’s presentations and a short biography of each of them. 58 Soroptimists attended, not only from around the London Chilterns Region but also from Sheffield, Selby, Croydon, St Austell and as far away as Norway too! The wonders of technology and being part of a global organisation…. Kimberley Lamb
The Soroptimist International London Chilterns (SILC) Region AGM and Conference went online this year with more than 50 attendees – it was lauded by everyone as a great success! The traditional change of insignia ceremony which normally takes place at the AGM was held the previous day at Denise’s home. Please see the short video below where the current President Denise Powell hands over the chain of office to the incoming President Helen Byrne. Helen also presented Denise with a bouquet of flowers to thank her for being the perfect President during this time of crisis. Helen Byrne’s inaugural address took place at the end of the meeting and is on a separate page of the website – please click here to view www.sigbi.org/london-chilterns/president President Denise Powell opened the meeting and the AGM business was dealt with efficiently – reports had been sent to Clubs
Soroptimists Stay Connected #SoroptimistsConnect Saturday 18 July is the Soroptimist Day of Action. Members of Clubs in Soroptimist International of London Chilterns Region have been staying connected throughout the COVID19 crisis and continue to support and connect with their local, national and international projects. SI St Albans and District Health Events on Zoom raised £700 during COVID19 lockdown SI St Albans and District organised a series of three events in June and July focused on health and wellbeing. The Club knows that as we come through the COVID-19 crisis it is really important for everyone to stay well, to enjoy life to the full when we move into the new normal… The three speakers each focused on a different ways to maintain our health. The first speaker was Dr Alka Patel a GP and lifestyle coach. The second speaker was Jen Tiller a Breathing Coach.
International Women’s Day Soroptimist Conference March 2020 Maidenhead Theme “Helping Us Achieve Our Potential” Three Soroptimist Clubs (SI Slough Windsor and Maidenhead, SI Thames Valley and SI High Wycombe and District) joined forces to hold a Conference to celebrate International Women’s day. The theme of the Conference was “Helping Us Achieve Our Potential”. The event, held in the Desborough Theatre of Maidenhead Town Hall on Sunday 8th March, was very successful. An audience of 80 people enjoyed a packed agenda to inspire them on this special day. The speakers were: Dame Vera Baird, DBE,QC, Victims Commissioner for England and Wales (and a Soroptimist). Dame Vera spoke about the work done by the Commission, which listens to victims, promotes good practice across criminal justice, reviews the Victims Code and campaigns for change. Maria Evans, a volunteer with the Royal Borough’s Climate Emergency Commission, who spoke about
Members from Soroptimist Clubs in the London Chilterns Region and guests celebrated Human Rights Day at the Region’s meeting/conference on Saturday 30 November. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/ was signed on 10 Dec 1948. A moving Soroptimist tradition to celebrate Human Rights Day is to light candles in recognition of the work of Soroptimists and women around the world in striving to ensure that the human rights of women and children are protected everywhere. Pictured here with the framed preamble to the declaration and the candles they had lit are (l to r) Denise Powell, President SI London Chilterns, Johanna Raffan SI Great Britain and Ireland President-Elect, Kate Bellinis Member of SI Hertford and Ameeta Sabharwal Member of SI St Albans and District. Our main speaker was Rosie Wyllie from Herts Welcomes Refugees – the talented animator of the film “Suspended”
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! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row] 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
On a wet day in London it was a relief to be out of the rain and in the company of inspirational women for the SI London Chilterns Region Annual General Meeting with special guest speakers Dame Vera Baird (National Victims Commissioner, Member of SI Newcastle and formerly Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria) and Dr Kay Richmond (Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland Programme Director www.sigbi.org/who-we-are/programme-team/ Dame Vera Baird started by giving us some background on domestic abuse – with its history of the crime being treated as a “private matter” by police and the whole criminal justice system. The presentation is available to download here SDVC Presentation – SILC Soroptimists 10.2019 In 2018 she was the force behind a report “Specialist Domestic Violence Courts – How special are they?” – you can download the report by clicking on the link. The report provided evidence for improvements which are included in the UK government’s proposed
On the hottest day of the year attendees of the Soroptimist International London Chilterns Region Conference had their thoughts provoked by two inspirational speakers Janet Fyle MBE Policy Adviser at the Royal College of Midwives www.rcm.org.uk/promoting/professional-practice/violence-women-girls/ and Ruby Raut CEO and Co-founder of WUKA Periodwear www.wuka.co.uk/pages/about The focus this year on mental health #SoroptimistThinkOnIt was covered by both of these speakers. They spoke about the impact on women and girls’ mental health from the taboos around having children and menstruation. The physical abuse of female genital mutilation (FGM) covered by Janet has serious mental health effects too. The topics covered at this conference show yet again that Soroptimists are not afraid to tackle difficult subjects. The title of Janet’s presentation was – The hidden harms – she split it into 2 parts – Mental Health – its effects on women and families from pregnancy to post birth and FGM – its physical and psychological impact throughout
SI High Wycombe and District Member Kathleen Martin has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours”. Jen Simpson, past President of SI London Chilterns Region and Communications Officer for the High Wycombe Soroptimists said: We are absolutely delighted that one of our long-serving members Kathleen Martin has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community of Chalfont St Giles in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. She works very hard for Chalfont St Giles and the wider community and the award is well-deserved. Well said Jen – we couldn’t agree more!
On Sunday 24 Mar Soroptimists from London Chilterns Region “womanned” a suffragette cheer station at the London Landmarks Half Marathon (LLHM) – see the website for more about the event www.llhm.co.uk The event broke its fundraising target of £6m. LLHM is run by the baby and pregnancy charity Tommy’s. In this its second year, LLHM had 13,000 runners. Lia Fyles, LLHM race director, said: “We’re delighted to have reached our fundraising target, and we expect that figure to rise close to £7m… We’re thrilled to have welcomed thousands of runners to tackle one of the most unique and interactive half marathon routes in the world. We have already received some incredible feedback about the day, with runners loving the music, the cheer stations and the London characters lining the route.” Soroptimists volunteered in 2018 for the first time and it was great fun as well as
On 17 March a trio of Soroptimist International Clubs in the London Chilterns Region SI Slough Windsor & Maidenhead, SI Thames Valley, and SI High Wycombe and District organised a brilliant International Women’s Day event in Maidenhead Town Hall. The theme was “Opportunities for Women and Girls READ ALL ABOUT IT ! in the Maidenhead Advertiser: www.maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk/gallery/maidenhead/142762/in-pictures-soroptimist-clubs-join-forces-to-celebrate-international-women-s-day.html and in the Windsor Observer: www.windsorobserver.co.uk/news/17525578.town-hall-conference-on-international-womens-day/ Speakers included: Gerry Lejeune OBE, CEO, Berkshire Community Foundation Hannah Little, Fundraising Officer, Womankind Worldwide – A global women’s rights organisation working to improve lives of women Alaa Fawaz, Chairman, and Raakhi Sharma, Representative, – two schoolgirls from Slough Youth Parliament Penny MacKenzie, Detective Chief Inspector, Thames Valley Police on crime issues affecting women in the Thames Valley The Mayor of Slough, Paul Sohal, and the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of the Royal Borough, Colin and Samantha Rayner, attended. Disappointingly but
Soroptimist International of London Chilterns is proud to announce that the St Albans and District Soroptimist Club won the St Albans Mayor’s Pride Award 2019 in the Voluntary Sector category. The first picture is of the three finalists (Soroptimist Jane Slatter is on the right), with the Mayor, Councillor Rosemary Farmer at the front. The other finalists in the Voluntary Sector were the St Albans Museum Volunteers and the SAlbans Helping the Homeless Group. We could hardly believe it when we won because the other finalists would have been truly worthy winners. Barbara Saunders Secretary, Jane Slatter Communications Officer and Kat Clark President-Elect are pictured here at the beginning of the event at St Michael’s Manor, before the awards were announced. They all agreed it was a wonderful evening and brilliant to be recognised for the work Club Members have been doing in St Albans and
Our event began with a celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) which has been celebrated on 8th March every year since 1909. The day was adopted by the United Nations in 1975 with an annual identified theme; this year that theme is Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change. In the celebration of IWD we had several readings: Remembering Britain’s First Warranted Policewoman Edith Smith – Read by Pauline Panter Extract from: “Joan Clarke, woman who cracked Enigma cyphers with Alan Turing” By Joe Miller BBC Technology Reporter in November 2014 – Read by Rita Beaumont Message from UN Secretary General António Guterres – Read by Pam Robertson The full transcript of all of the readings are at the bottom of this page. After the readings we lit a Candle to Celebrate the Women of the World. Our first Speaker was Chloe Seymour, Fundraising Manager The Hope
Are women their own worst enemy? On 7 March SI St Albans and District held an inspiring International Women’s Day debate… The panel and audience discussed the question: Are Women their own worst enemy? the answer: yes and no – it’s complicated! St Albans Soroptimists and sponsors, The Talent Keeper Specialists held a lively debate with an expert panel. The event was broadcast live and is available as a podcast from www.radioverulam.com/show/the-parents-show/ listen again to 7 March at 8pm You can read more about the event on this page of the St Albans website www.sigbi.org/st-albans/2019/iwd19/ Please scroll down through photographs from the event. Animated discussions covered: equality, women and employability, domestic abuse, health, societal and media pressure on women and how women experience the criminal justice system. The event was chaired by The Thinking Woman’s Coach, Dr Jessica Chivers and the panelists were Claire Harvey – Director of Culture and Inclusion at EDIT Development, Min Rodruiguez –
Members from Soroptimist Clubs in the London Chilterns Region and their guests attended a moving Human Rights Day event on Saturday 15th December. 2018 marked 70 years since the signing of the United Nations declaration of Human Rights for www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/ One of our traditions to celebrate Human Rights Day is to light candles in recognition of the work of Soroptimists and women around the world in striving to ensure that the human rights of women and children are protected everywhere. The introduction to the declaration was made by Joanna Swift, SI Aylesbury and District, who lit the first candle to remember those in the world who are still denied their Human Rights. The second reading and lighting of a candle was by Immediate Past Regional President Margaret Badley, SI Bedford to celebrate the work of Women across the World. The third was by Regional President Elect
Soroptimists from all over the UK were encouraged to add their images to The People’s Picture – the Face of Suffrage on display on the concourse at Birmingham New Street Station from November 15th to the 14th December, the day women voted for the first time. For more information about the project please see www.thepeoplespicture.com/thefaceofsuffrage/ to view the whole image click here https://goo.gl/ziCzTk We are proud that 2 Members of SI London Chilterns Region are represented on the montage – Irene Cockroft from SI Greater London and Rose Simbo from SI Thames Valley – what a great way to raise the profile of Soroptimists. This is the text that was submitted with Irene’s photo entry: Irene Cockroft is a Member of Soroptimist International Greater London, London Chilterns Region since 1997 www.sigbi.org/london-chilterns She is an expert on women’s suffrage in the UK – exhibition curator, author and lecturer. Irene’s inspiration in studying women’s history
40 Members of Soroptimist International London Chilterns Region attended the Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) Conference in Liverpool this year. We were kept well informed with information by Members who attended, the SIGBI Conference website www.sigbi.org/liverpool2018 plus Facebook and Twitter too #SoroptimistLiverpool2018 Let’s hope we can get a good turnout again for Bournemouth 24-26 Oct 2019 www.sigbi.org/bournemouth2019– put it in your diaries now so you don’t miss out! Below is a great report with pics from Denise Powell, Region President-Elect and Member and representative from SI St Albans and District – thanks Denise! Conference this year followed the traditional pattern. It opened on Thursday night with the Flag ceremony, I find it quite emotional seeing the corners of the world that are covered by our Federation. This was followed by a rousing musical entertainment from ‘The Brothers Of Swing’ – they didn’t sing much swing music, but they did
We had an action packed October Region meeting in London – with the AGM, a #VotesForWomen presentation, a run through nominated “Women of Achievement” and a panel session on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW). President Margaret’s theme for the Soroptimist London Chilterns Region year has been IMPACT and this event fully met the brief! The photo above was taken with everyone present and many were wearing sashes and rosettes in the colours of women’s suffrage plus Irene Cockroft and Jen Simpson were in costume. The AGM was first and reports will be sent to Clubs. Our first speaker was Irene Cockroft with a fascinating talk with excellent photo images to illustrate “International Women’s Day, Now and Then”. This is in light if the centenary of the UK women’s vote and the fact this talk was cancelled in March due to the snow. Irene, a member of Soroptimist International
SI Greater London and SI St Albans and District have both visited the VOTE 100 Suffragettes in Camden exhibition in August. The exhibition is cleverly titled “A Stone’s Throw from Westminster” and is at the Camden Local Studies & Archives Centre, Holborn Library. The groups have been warmly welcomed by Irene Cockroft, writer and historian on women’s suffrage, co-curator of the exhibition and also a Member of the Greater London Soroptimist Club. If you visit the website www.parliament.uk/1866 you can find out more about the 1866 Women’s Suffrage petition: the first mass Votes for Women petition. For more information about the exhibition please the website www.thesuffragettes.org/ and download this word document Vote100Camden The exhibition runs until 5 October. Irene is pictured here in the library with the wonderful Votes for Women tea cosy made especially to make this special centenary year. The groups learnt a huge amount from just a morning with Irene’s wealth of
Great news! SI St Albans and District has won the SME Hertfordshire Business Award in the “Not for Profit Business of the Year” category Please see the website for all the information – hertfordshireawards.co.uk The Club’s Membership Officer and local business woman Amanda Brown (pictured here) proudly represented the Club at the Awards dinner on Thursday 26 July. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… The other three deserving finalists in the “Not for Profit” category were: Golden Giving Impactful Governance – Community Interest Company Tring Together
Two longstanding Soroptimists were honoured by the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO) at a gathering in Europe House, London. Zarin Hainsworth OBE, Chair of NAWO, introduced the Elder Awards, which were set up to celebrate the work of feminists who are over 80, are still heavily involved in the women’s movement, and who by their work have inspired others. Hilary Page, a long-time Member of SI Lewisham in London Chilterns Region and Past-President of her Club and her Region (now a member of SI Epsom), was nominated for her many years of service to Soroptimist International at every level including SI Great Britain and Ireland Federation President and Soroptimist International President. The award recognised her work promoting the equal role of women in society including establishing Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS) GAPS was founded to progress the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women,
What an impactful Region Meeting/Conference in Newbury! IMPACT is Region President Margaret Badley’s theme for the year and this event certainly fitted the bill. 50 Soroptimists from the Clubs in our London Chilterns Region came together to learn, share and have an inspiring and enjoyable day at the Hermitage Village Hall – hosted by the Newbury and District Soroptimist Club Sarah Albeboure from Action Through Enterprise Ghana www.ateghana.org moved us when she told us about the wonderful work ATE does in Lawra, a remote impoverished community in Ghana – Sarah, her charity and the people she supports are amazing – there was hardly a dry eye in the room. Please check out the ATE website to find out more and make a donation if you can – every penny really does make a difference. Sarah was a primary school teacher in Newbury until 6 years ago when
On 10 June Members of Soroptimist International from all over the UK marched with PROCESSIONS, a mass artwork celebrating 100 years of women voting, in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London. Members of SI London Chilterns Region marched in London in solidarity with 30,000 women and girls. Please see pics of Irene Cockroft from SI Great London in costume and Members of SI St Albans and District with their Club banner. We met up with many more Soroptimists from all over England while we were there too. Please click on the video for more of a taste of this inspirational event. Women may have the vote in the UK, but we still need to continue the fight for equality. PROCESSIONS 2018 highlights What a day! We're still loving seeing and hearing about your time at #PROCESSIONS2018. Thank you all for coming. Here's a quick round up of a truly
After many years of having the Annual Lunch in Dorney this year SI Slough Windsor and Maidenhead moved to the beautiful setting of the Berystede Hotel in South Ascot. Despite the rather unseasonal weather members were able to admire the attractive gardens and enjoy a delightful three course meal with their guests including London Chilterns Regional President Margaret Badley and the Mayor and Mayoress of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead. Following traditional toasts to Soroptimist International and Our Guests, Fiona Devine gave a talk about the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice. Fiona’s son Alexander died a few years ago having needed treatment for cancer and she then discovered that there was no Children’s hospice in the area of Berkshire. Having ascertained that there was a significant need for a Hospice devoted to the needs of children (up to the age of 19) she took
The London Landmarks Half Marathon on March 25th raised more than £1.5 million pounds for the children’s charity Tommy’s. Because this year is the 100th anniversary of female suffrage in the UK, this new London event included a suffragist cheer station manned by Soroptimists in suffragette costumes and with sashes. In the pic are Jen Simpson, Helen Byrne and Barbara Diamant SI London Chilterns Region with Brenda Simpson Associate Member (and Jen’s Mum). The event was a great success and the 4 Soroptimists had a brilliant day in London raising the profile of Soroptimists – well done ladies! There is more about the event on the LLHM Facebook page: www.facebook.com/londonlandmarkshalf/
Soroptimist International of Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead, Thames Valley and High Wycombe and District Clubs hosted an event in Maidenhead to mark International Women’s Day and the centenary of votes for (some) women in the UK. The British Prime Minister, and MP for Maidenhead, Theresa May sent a letter which started “I am delighted to send my best wishes to everyone celebrating International Women’s Day in Maidenhead, and to thank the local Soroptimist International Clubs for everything you are doing to support women across the area. For the full letter please download here: TheresaMaysletterIWD2018 The theme was: “What Have We Achieved?” Speakers included: Irene Cockroft, Writer/lecturer and expert on women’s suffrage Speaker from the charity True Honour, dealing with honour-based violence Dr Rowan Hillson MBE, former National Clinical Director for Diabetes – on women’s achievements in Medicine Liz Beckmann, an Electrical and Electronics Engineer – on women’s achievements
To understand more about Yarl’s Wood and the immigration detention of women in the UK, please read this short article: https://theconversation.com/i-befriend-women-detained-at-yarls-wood-their-life-in-immigration-limbo-is-excruciating-92905 It was written by Jo Vincett, a PhD Student, Faculty of Business and Law with The Open University and it sends a strong statement as to why people should care. Yarl’s Wood Befrienders were winners of The High Sheriff of Bedfordshire’s Citizenship awards in February. The lady on the left of the High Sheriff is Jo Vincent a befriender and trustee. Jo became involved with the centre following her being detained in the centre herself. Our Regional Councillor Pauline Panter is also a volunteer The lady holding the shield is Caroline Clarke the Director of Yarl’s Wood Befrienders. Soroptimists attending the Regional Human Rights Day meeting and celebration last December has the opportunity to hear all about Yarl’s Wood Befrienders from two of the Trustees.
More than 50 Soroptimists from Clubs in the London Chilterns Region gathered in Bedford to mark and celebrate Human Rights Day and is part of the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender Based Violence The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was read by Regional President Margaret Badley. Three candles were lit with associated readings: Veta Hudson-Rae SI Bedford quoted Nelson Mandela to celebrate the work of Women across the World, Johanna Raffan SI Thames Valley quoted Malala to celebrate the work of Soroptimists across Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) and Jenny Vince SI Oxford to quoted Eleanor Roosevelt to celebrate the work of Soroptimists across the World We were also reminded of the quote by Hillary Clinton “human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights”… The first speakers of the day were Barbara Conridge and Angela Huddart, Trustees from Yarlswood Befrienders Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal
Over 1,200 women from around the world gathered at the magnificent Wales Millennium Centre on Cardiff Bay to listen to inspiring speakers and to share ideas and energise each other through networking and friendship Olympian Katherine Grainger DBE, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian and Tornado Jet Pilot Mandy Hickson – only the second female pilot flying RAF fighter planes. These motivational speakers supported the conference theme of “Step Up, Lead the Way”. Two major threads of the Conference were around Violence Against Women and Modern Day Slavery. Michael Kaufman, founder of the White Ribbon Campaign challenged men to break their silence about violence against women. Kevin Hyland OBE and a panel gave a presentation with others inspiring us to take action to end human trafficking and modern day slavery. Clubs throughout our organisation also presented their inspirational projects and won awards You can read more about it in
Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI) UK Programme Action Committee (UKPAC) www.sigbi.org/ukpac worked with Anti-Slavery groups and did a survey about the level of understanding of people in the UK wrt trafficked people and modern day slaves. The survey could be completed on paper or on-line. For the paper based survey, Soroptimist International Slough Windsor & MaidenheadClub had a stall in Nicholsons Shopping Centre in Maidenhead, organised by Jackie Paling. This location was chosen because the month before there had been some arrests to do with trafficking in a house on an estate in Maidenhead so was very appropriate. By 2pm when Club members packed up they had done nearly 40 paper based surveys. At the time of writing the Club has now received 122 paper surveys.The Club had articles published in the local press both before and after the Maidenhead event.
President Jen Simpson opened the meeting. She reminded us that her theme for this year had been ACTIVE – Aspirational, Collaborative, Tenacious, Inspirational, Vocal and Empowering for Women and Girls globally. She told us that the new Soroptimist International (SI) Presidents’ Appeal has been announced – Women Water and Leadership – there is more info about this excellent project on the SI website www.soroptimistinternational.org/campaigns/women-water-and-leadership-2017-2019/ The new SI President is Mariet Verhoef-Cohen from the Netherlands. Barbara DIxon – the Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI) Programme Director was our 1st speaker. Barbara is pictured here with President Jen. She presented “Vision 2021” as a DIrector of SIGBI. The presentation materials are not included here because they will be updated shortly with incoming SIGBI President Sue Biggs.. The session was interactive with Barbara answering lots of questions on behalf of SIGBI. Our second speaker was the inspirational Baroness Caroline Cox – nurse and
The picture above is of everyone holding up cards for the #LandmineFree2025 Campaign with SI London Chilterns Regional President Jen Simpson and Kate Moore MBE, former Chair of Action on Armed Violence at the fore. It was a blistering hot day with impactful speakers – ending with the subject of landmines – hence the headline! The meeting opened with a reading by Sue Payne of SI Milton Keynes to recognise the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought #2017WDCD June 17th and a reading to recognise International Day of the African Child #IDAC2017 June 16th by Angela Spellman, SI Newbury and District. The Soroptimist Vision and Mission was presented by Jo Lambert SI Bedford and Jen Simpson, SI London Chilterns Regional President gave us all a very warm welcome (quite literally!!). Our first speaker was Margaret Clark, Assistant Programme Director for Advocacy SI Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI)
Congratulations and Happy 90th Birthday to SI Central and South West London www.sigbi.org/london-central-and-southwest The Club had a whole weekend of celebrations 12-14th May 2017 with guests from all over the world including the Soroptimist International President Yvonne Simpson who is from New Zealand (pictured above with the Club’s Immediate Past President Joy Brown at the Gala Dinner in the Chapter Hall of the Museum of the Order of St John in London). Unsurprisingly there were lots more guests at the delicious afternoon tea at the Orangery, Kensington Gardens on the Sunday. Pictured here at the Orangery are International President Yvonne with Regional Communications Officer Jane Slatter, the Club’s Presdient Victorial Clark with her table guests and SIGBI President-Elect Sue Biggs with her husband David and table guests. What a wonderful way to celebrate a 90th birthday – here’s to the next 90 years! International President Yvonne’s Report is extracted
This is SI London Chilterns Regional President Jen Simpson’s report of her amazing abseil antics for www.moresmiles.org.uk to provide a ‘fit for the future’ expanded Paediatric Intensive Care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington. “On 26th April at 11am I well and truly faced my fears and completed my abseil down the 150 foot, 10 storey Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Building at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington. After being harnessed up, we were escorted up the staircase to the 10th floor and shown through some offices onto the balcony with stunning views across London, excited to spot the London Eye in the distance. After a safety briefing, it was time for me to climb onto the scaffolding platform and start my descent. I must say stepping backwards off that platform was the scariest thing I have ever done, made worse by my determination not to look
We couldn’t all go to Sierra Leone, so the official UK opening of the Kori Development Project Sandy Raffan Memorial Library was organised by SI Thames Valley and was held at the John Lewis Heritage Centre in Cookham on 18 Apr. As you can imagine a huge amount of effort went into fundraising, planning, building and equipping a major project like this – so it needed a fitting celebration! The photos here show Johanna Raffan presenting Rose Simbo with flowers. Johanna gave a moving speech because the library is a wonderful tribute and memorial to her late husband Sandy. Rose is the driving force behind the Kori Development Project in the Chiefdom where she comes from originally – and what a driving force she is!! The second picture is of SI London Chilterns President Jen Simpson celebrating with Rose, Rita Beaumont (Member of SI Bedford
Members of Soroptimist International St Albans and District enjoyed a lively Annual General Meeting in April to end their diamond year on a high. Click on this link for more www.sigbi.org/st-albans/agm/ The AGM marked the end of the Club’s 60th Diamond Anniversary Year, and the start of the Club’s 61st year with President Rita Andrews at the helm. We were delighted that SI London Chilterns Regional President Jen Simpson was able to join us for this special occasion. Please click on this link to read more about SI St Albans and District Diamond celebrations at the end of March www.sigbi.org/st-albans/2017/diamond/ There were lots of Soroptimists from the Region and from around the world who were able to join in right across the Friendship weekend.
On Sat 11 Mar almost 50 women from around our Soroptimist London Chilterns Region met in London. A packed agenda included lots of news from Federation and Clubs plus two really interesting speakers – Sarah Smart (pic left with Regional President Jen Simpson), Director of Development and Communications, Food for the Hungry UK, Building Schools in Bangladesh and Lesley-Anne Alexander CBE (pic right with Regional President Jen Simpson), Trustee of the MicroLoan Foundation. This was an opportunity for Soroptimists to stand together on the closest Saturday to International Women’s Day – see the lovely pic above of our Members holding up #BeBoldForChange calling for everyone to help forge a more gender inclusive world. For more information please keep reading…. The group photo above won SIGBI Photo of the Month for March! We started the day with a reading about International Women’s Day by Moira Watson from SI Oxford and District: “International
The Christmas message from Breast Cancer Now has London Chilterns Soroptimists Johanna Raffan (2nd from left) and Rita Beaumont (3rd from left) on front row with Baroness Delyth Morgan Chief Executive of BCN (far right). This photograph was from a Breast Cancer Now workshop earlier this year – see this webpage for more information. Merry Christmas everyone and a healthy and peaceful 2017,
Soroptimists from Clubs in the London Chilterns Region gathered in Beaconsfield to mark Human Rights Day. Four candles were lit – one to remember those in the world who are denied their human rights, the second to celebrate the work of women across the world, the third to celebrate the work of Soroptimists acrossSoroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (follow this link to find out more about the Spoon Project )and the fourth to celebrate the work of Soroptimists across the world. Our first speaker was Janie Grover from SI High Wycombe & District who told us about her life-changing trip to Peru with the charity iProjects working on a construction project in Lima to improve the lives of a community. Poverty, crime and violence are rife in Lima which is home to 12 million people. Janie is now fundraising for the charity to continue its work. Janie is
This event, marking the International Day of the Girl Child was hosted by Thames Valley Police, working in partnership with local businesses and partners, to share and celebrate the achievements of women and girls from around the community in High Wycombe. It also aimed to inform the multicultural population of women and girls living in the High Wycombe area about facilities available for them. The team was made up of four Club Members from SI Thames Valley, two Members from SI High Wycombe and Sue Fortescue from SI Poole with their project “Purple Teardrop Campaign” against human trafficking. See SI Poole’s report at www.sigbi.org/southern-england/2016/10/16/team-work-at-thames-valley-event/ The event attracted hundreds of participants and the team was kept very busy distributing leaflets and information about the Purple Teardrop Campaign, and Soroptimist International. The High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, Millie Soames, spent a long time at our stand, learning about our initiatives.
New Soroptimist Club Chartered in Milton Keynes Exciting news – A new Soroptimist Club was Chartered in Milton Keynes on 11th June 2015. SI Milton Keynes are bringing focus to the very real, but global issues, which affect women locally. Angie Novell, the new club President said, “Soroptimists are not afraid to tackle the less glamourous and more challenging issues which affect and hinder women locally. From homelessness to trafficking and domestic violence; FGM to opportunities to work and support their families. We are there not just to raise funds, but through our skills, networks and influence, provide practical support to local charities and support organisations. We also hope to celebrate and highlight the economic, political and social achievements of women, and raise awareness of work still to be done to build a better world for women and girls….” Congratulations to our new Soroptimist sisters.
London Chiltern Soroptimists have been out and about learning about and supporting some of our charities and clubs over the last few days. This group photograph shows Johanna Raffan and Rita Beaumont with Campaigners at a workshop run by Breast Cancer Now in London on Saturday 16th April 2016. The second is of (from the left) Rita Beaumont and Pauline Panter (SI Bedford) and Evelyn Hatch (from SI Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead) at SI Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead’s Charter Lunch on Sunday 17th April 2016 held at The Guildhall in Windsor where 4 days later her Majesty the Queen cut her wonderful 90th Birthday cake.
Soroptimist International St Albans & District were proud to host a successful Women’s Conference and Regional Meeting on Sat 20th June in Redbourn on behalf of Soroptimist International London Chilterns Region. Forced Marriage was the topic for the morning – with keynote speaker Aneeta Prem, founder of the Freedom Charity. The charity works to empower young people to feel they have the tools, confidence and support around the issues of family relationships which can lead to early and forced marriage and dishonour based violence. Aneeta has been on national TV recently covering these important human rights issues. Aneeta was joined by Sophie Lott from the Home Office Forced Marriage Unit (see picture below Sophie L Aneeta R). Recent law changes haven’t forced this crime underground – in fact there was the first sentencing only last week. Aneeta told some moving stories about individuals’ personal horrific stories of forced marriage –
Soroptimist International (SI) Programme Director, and member of SI St Albans and District, Hilary Ratcliffe, has been made an “Officer of the Order of the British Empire” (OBE) in the UK Honours List , for services to “promoting Gender Equality Overseas”. Hilary Ratcliffe is pictured here collecting her OBE from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace on 21 Nov 2014. After the excitement of the day Hilary said “It was a lovely day – a very very special day – I am so proud. The ceremony at Buckingham Palace is perfect. Meeting Prince Charles and having travelled to Sierra Leone I was able to talk about the wonderful work Soroptimist International is doing there and we agreed on the horror of the current ebola crisis. The day was a celebration – not just for me but for the work of so many of the women who work
The Soroptimist International St Albans & District Club was delighted to be able to welcome six new members to the Club at their first meeting of 2014 – what a great start to the New Year! We hope they will all enjoy their membership and we are sure that as Soroptimists they will inspire action and transform many lives of women and girls in the exciting times ahead for the Club and the organisation. Pictured are: Front row l to r – new members Janet Audley-Charles, Patsy Cann, Jane Ellis, Back row l to r – Membership Officer Helen Byrne, new members Pamela Rochford, Debbie Tankard, Maggie Gatza.
Johanna, a member of Slough Windsor and Maidenhead Club in the London Chilterns Region has been awarded an MBE for her work with Gifted and Talented Children.
Jackie Paling receives award from Theresa May 2013 / Violence and Conflict Resolution – please click on the link to the article to read more: Marsh Award
Dr Eileen Alexander OBE 1911- 2014 Eileen pictured here enjoying her 100th birthday at a club meeting. It is with sadness that we have to announce the death of our friend and fellow Soroptimist Eileen Alexander. A Soroptimist for 62 years she held a number of offices. Eileen was a Regional President, Club President (Bedford) , member of Federation Executive and a very active Federation Friendship Link Co-ordinator. Eileen died peacefully in her sleep on 20th January 2014, aged 102 years. Her many friends are invited to her funeral at St Paul’s Church, Bedford on Monday 17th February 2014 at 2.30pm. Eileen trained at Dartford College and taught in two schools before she was appointed Lecturer at Homerton College Cambridge. During World War 2 She was seconded into the ATS in 1941 for War Service in Anti-Aircraft Command organising physical activity for ATS manning searchlights and for NCOs. On
When SI London Mayfair disbanded in April 2010, the members knew they would always stay in touch. It has fallen to Sakina Jetha (now of SI Central & SW) to arrange a social event for the former members and this was the third event which she has arranged. Previous events were lunch at the Ritz as well as a previous visit to the Sloane Club. It was also a double celebration as Eve Craske, now a member of SI Elmbridge, had celebrated her 80th birthday earlier in the year and we had champagne and birthday cake as part of the lunch. SILM distributed the remainder of the charity monies raised during their final year to extend the finance of projects which they had started, this meant that Project Mala in Africa had a further 3years finance and a pupil in San Fernando, their Friendship Link, had
Tuesday 8th March International Women’s Day 100th Anniversary (Picture is 2010 Walk) “Women on the Bridge” London Millennium Bridge – joint event with Women for Women International (WWI) – see the website www.womenforwomen.org/bridge There will be events in the UK and all over the world. The London event is the main event and it’s in our Region! Liz Morgan-Lewis will speak alongside people like Annie Lennox and leading politicians after the march. Sign up for an event on the WWI website www.womenforwomen.org/bridge or contact Jane Slatter. The march will leave Borough Market at 11am (meet from 10am), walking along the south side of the river to Millennium Bridge, crossing the Thames to the North side then continuing west along the river walk past Victoria Embankment Gardens, then crossing back along Hungerford Bridge to the South side of the river and finishing at the Royal Festival Hall for
On Saturday 5 February 2011 we held the Incoming President Workshop which included Elects, Vice and was hosted by Region President Johanna Raffan and led by Teams of Excellence trainer Eileen Shaw, both from SI Thames Valley. We were also joined by members of the Exec Committee. The Region holds this event every year and helps to introduce the new presidents to the Committee and to understand how the Region moves forward within the SIGBI Federation. After the introductions it was clear that we had a mix of recycled Presidents, members of longstanding who finally wanted to take office, and those newer members, who wanted to make an early start in club life. Given this range, it is clear that these personalities are within every Club, and one of the fundamental messages from every President should be to recognise the differences within her club. It is important to recognise
Congratulation to Jean for the excellent article. Your points on the value of Soroptimist were very well made. My attempt to copy this is rather fuzzy. You may get a better copy by pasting the following into your browser: http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?referral=other&pnum=&refresh=7a1Q0Tc5z04E&EID=50e786ee-c629-4dee-ba75-9b9d94f0a6ac&skip=true
You will be thrilled to hear that Soroptimists from London Chilterns, South East and Southern Regions joined in the march on the Millennium Bridge on Tuesday 8 March. It took one and a half hours but the circuit was held in bright sunshine and there was plenty to feel proud about. Arriving at the Festival Hall on South Bank, after crossing the Hungerford Bridge, there were rallying speeches from Annie Lennox, Bianca Jagger, Lynne Featherstone (Equalities Minister) and our own Federation President Liz Morgan-Lewis, and also some stirring words from the great grand-daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst. After the speeches, we went back to our stand where were able to speak with interested parties along with other participants such as Care international and Women for Women International. For once we had been given a great introduction by the organisers and the word Soroptimist was used several
Training in Public Speaking at the House of Lords with Baroness Flather There were nine of us present at the Public Speaking workshop hosted by Baroness Shreela Flather on Tuesday 15 June. She is a feisty lady and broke the mould when she became the first Asian in the House of Lords and a woman too. There was a good representation from the Clubs of SILC Region and we spent the morning showing her our prepared speeches. It was clear that perhaps we didn’t all interpret the meaning of Public Speaking correctly and she made it clear who had it right or not. We were invited to mark certain elements and make our own comments about each other. It was during this discussion that other talents became apparent and after lunch we reorganised our speeches, some changed content totally and we re-presented the results. This
SI THAMES VALLEY have been really lucky in recruiting two new soroptimists who are directly connected with Sierra Leone. Many clubs will already know of Rosie Simbo who is a specialist midwife dealing with FGM and HIV/Aids mothers. Rosie has also started a field project in her area, recruiting 50 women to plant seeds and grow much needed vegetables which they can feed their children and also sell. Lori Spragg is a local Marlow lady who has already made a huge difference to the literacy chances of children in Sierra Leone. This is Lori’s latest newsletter. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do and if you have any contacts with schools, libraries we would be delighted to collect any books you can deliver, either to our Fashion Party in Bourne End at Sat 11 Sept, our next club meeting on 21 Sept
The Fair Trade charity fashion show organised by Soroptimist International London Chilterns Region on 27th May was a fabulous event. The event raised money for Project SIerra, which helps disadvantaged women and children in Sierra Leone face their futures with confidence www.projectsierra.org Julie Blackwell, President of SI London Chilterns Region is pictured here on the left of the picture with all of the models. While guests enjoyed a glass of wine during the evening the girls showed off a gorgeous selection of People Tree Fair Trade fashion, and two dresses made by women in SIerra Leone who have been supported by Project SIerra. In addition to the fashion show there were displays for guests to view with information from Soroptimist International, The Fairtrade Foundation, Women for Women International, clothes, jewellery and gift items from Natura, Alkara and Briony Bell-Burrow, with personal beauty treatments from
“Women on the Bridge” event in London International Women’s Day – Monday 8th March Soroptimists joined the march and stood in solidarity on the Millennium Bridge in London to mark International Women’s Day. This global event, organised by Women for Women International brought together women from their partner organisations including members of Soroptimist International. Annie Lennox, popstar and campaigner, Sarah Brown, the Prime-Minister’s wife, Cherie Lunghi the actress were there along with other prominent figures. The event honours the resilience of millions of women survivors of war around the world. The 81 events worldwide symbolise building bridges to peace, sending a message that says “No!” to war and “Yes!” to peace and hope. Pictured here with Annie Lennox are Julie Blackwell (Soroptimist international London Chilterns Regional President) and Johanna Raffan (Soroptimist international London Chilterns Regional President-Elect). Take a look at the event on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHqOUUzNhh4
British-Taiwanese Women and Soroptimist London Chilterns Conference “Stop Trafficking” This special event was organised by Taiwan Soroptimist Helen Yang from the Citizens Organizing Foundation (COF) in London in partnership with SI London Chilterns Region. Hilary Ratcliffe, SIGBI Programme Director chaired the morning session where three speakers tackled human trafficking from different perspectives. Workshops in the afternoon covered “how to organise a campaign”, “Taiwanese experience of human trafficking” and “Drivers to supply and demand – what limiting action can we take?” Pauline Monk from SI Poole ran a workshop and presented on the “Purple Teardrop Campaign” – “Stop the Trafficking, Stop the Tears” www.purpleteardrop.org.uk
Bras in Cardiff Bay at the Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) Annual Conference in Cardiff Photo: Andrew Jeffrey The “Bras in the Bay” event in Cardiff was a spectacular success. Hundreds of Soroptimists brought their bras to Cardiff Bay to benefit an Oxfam project for women in Senegal. The Millennium Centre in Cardiff is behind this chaotic scene of Soroptimists with thousands of bras. To hear the interview on Radio Wales with Hilary Ratcliffe (SIGBI Programme Director and member of London Chilterns Region) click here http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/8335356.stm
Rosie Simbo, a midwife from Sierra Leone (S.L.) came to talk to the Thames Valley Soroptimists about her experiences growing up in S.L. and the work that she currently does there, trying to persuade young girls to avoid HIV/AIDS and working to eradicate female genital mutilation (fgm) which is still going on in her area of S.L.. Rosie was very brave in sharing her experience of fgm and the struggle to change the hearts and minds of people who still maintain that it is part of their ‘culture’. The photograph shows Rosie with her three NHS colleagues who persuaded her to come and talk to us: Helen St Ledger who is a diabetes clinic co-ordinator, Dr Amanda Gilliland, GP, and President Barbara Turner who is an NHS manager. For more about the Thames Valley Club please visit their website: www.sitv.org.uk