Projects and Programme Action

Updates on project work and Programme Action 

Please take a look at the Posts pages to see more on what we have been doing.

The pockets project

pockets 2

SI Maidstone pocket project

Regional meeting 10th December 2016


SI Maidstone have been working on this project for over a year since Lesley first saw the article about Amy Peake The unlikely sanitary pad missionary on the BBC Magazine website. 

Further details




Write for Rights campaign November / December 2016

 Write for Rights is an annual campaign to raise the awareness of people who have had their Human Rights violated? SI Maidstone attended the Amnesty Internal event at Aylesford Priory Christmas Fayre on Saturday 26th November.

Joining with Amnesty International

2016 AI VG

2016 AI MF NA






2016 AI JH VG







Support for Care for Calais and Social Work First – July 2016

 Carol McKeough from Group 1 introduced Lynn King to the club and she visited in July to tell us of the work of a group of volunteer Social Workers who were visiting and supporting the refugee camp in Calais – The Jungle.  Social Work First, a newly established organisation carried out Best Interest Assessments (BIA) / needs assessments of individuals.  Their aim is to push governments to meet the humanitarian needs of children.

At the time of her visit we discussed practical ways that SI Maidstone (and possibly other clubs in Region) could support Social Work First.

We offered to:

  • Provide accommodation to Social Workers (some being students) to stay in Kent the night before they travel to Calais camp
  • Collect art materials, plastic bowls and cups for craft activities taking place in the camp in the ‘kids space
  • Collect ladies and men’s shoes

Shortly after Lynn’s visit the camp was demolished amidst high profile media coverage and the future involvement of Social Work First was not immediately clear. We have the opportunity to collaborate again in the future.


Alongside Africa update 2016

Alongside Africa were SI Maidstone’s main charity during my Presidential year, 2013-14. They are a small, Folkestone-based,not-for-profit organisation working mainly in rural Uganda and providing –  ‘Opportunities not Aid’. SI Maidstone partnered with Alongside Africa to tailor a tertiary education project for two young women, Prossy and Charity. Both women had been street children who were rescued by the charity and provided with accommodation and schooling. SIM’s funding enabled them to follow an accredited two year, residential, craft and traditional handiwork course. Prossy and Charity graduated, producing some beautiful work, and we also set both young women up with a sewing machine to enable them to use their skills to help support themselves and their families.

Total amount donated to Alongside Africa by SIM during my year was £1,655. This included £830 which we facilitated through a fundraising lunch at London Beach Hotel, Tenterden. Alongside Africa are continuing their work in Uganda. They are currently running four projects.

Ndeego Craft – providing opportunities for the Bwindi Community, mainly AIDS widows with no other means of support, who are skilled in making traditional craft items. Alongside Africa buy the craft from the local community, ship it to UK to market it, and return all proceeds to Uganda. Our members purchased beautiful woven baskets and jewellery to support this work.

Amisako Street Children Programe – run in partnership with local community organisations, working to give the street children of Kabale an alternative to living on the streets and an opportunity to earn a living. They are also developing an education programme.

Give a Child a Chance – a sponsorship programme of named children, providing schooling, uniforms, materials and a small daily meal and enabling sponsors to correspond with their student through the co-ordinator.

One of our members, Janet Hughes, sponsors a little girl through this programme.

Obumwe Micro Finance – providing more than 20 loans and operating with a 100% repayment record since its inception in 2014

I’ve done a personal micro finance loan – and am waiting to hear which group it will be lent to initially – most probably AIDS widows.

Micro finance may be of interest other SI members, loans from £250 initially for 6 months

You can read more about micro finance loans and other projects at Alongside Africa’s website at –

Elizabeth Astridge, SI Maidstone

Update 2014 – 15 overview

Maidstone Club were busy as ever over the year raising money and awareness. As well as our three main charities the club have raised money and supported a number of charities through different events.

Homeless Care Maidstone

President Carol and Treasurer Michelle went to visit Homeless Care (3rd March 2015) to present a cheque for £80 to Zofia Grzymala Manager of the Day Centre.  SI Maidstone members raised the money from the Day of Denial. Thank you to everyone who joined in.

Zofia showed us around the day centre. She also showed us the food bank which David Bond spoke about when he came to talk to us in November. Food parcels regularly go out to families and individuals, schools and children’s centres. Zofia was delighted with the money that we raised. They have numerous calls on their limited funding; one project that she is particularly keen on is getting some computers in the centre so people can apply for jobs and benefits on line.

Headcorn Christmas Craft Fair – 15 November 2014

A special thank you to members Margaret Ambrose and Pam Renton for their hard work making lovely festive items to sell. Despite the damp weather there was a steady flow of visitors to the hall. We made £250 at the end of the day for our Maidstone charities.

Members took part in the day of denial and raised £80 and with our local clubs took part in the bagathon at the Dickens festival, not only raising money but our profile too.

Maidstone Soroptimists offering service to our local charities

Paul Harris from the Salvation Army to talk about their work helping people who have been trafficked into the UK.

Last year Paul and his team transported 1,000 people to places of safety and they interviewed 620 people. The Salvation Army are looking for volunteer drivers to take people to some of the 19 safe houses in the UK.

We are pleased to say that one of our members volunteered as a driver has now completed three drives. A real example of Soroptimism in action.

A large donation was made to the Kori project which support women and families in areas where FGM is still practised. As well as our ongoing link with Accra who produce sashes for our members to purchase.

Our three charities for the year were:

1. Restoring hope

Daniela and Nicola set the project up in 2013. They came and spoke at a club meeting recently. They were inspiring. They and a few other volunteers found a house to rent got it decorated and furnished. The house has room for 3 women. They live there for as long as they need, typically for 6- 12 months until suitable alternative independent housing can be found. The key to ensuring that the women do not return to the sex trade is the support that they get from this project. The women are supported to claim housing benefit, which funds the house but they also get support with a myriad of other things including literacy, language skills and seeking and retaining employment. The project is now on its second intake of women.

How to judge the success of the project? Typically 50% of women who have been rescued from sex trafficking return to it as there is no aftercare, they don’t have any skills or knowledge to do anything else. The Government only funds 45 days accommodation while the traffickers are prosecuted. Support and aftercare is fundamental to this project.

A rewarding evening for Daniela and Nicola is when one of the ladies cooks them a meal and they sit down together to eat it and enjoy each other’s company. Nicola said this may seem a little thing to us, but for these women who have been traumatised this is a tremendous break through and step forward. The project does not receive any regular funding; the only income is from fund raising, or housing benefit

The project was presented with a cheque for £281.45

2. The Vine – Shepway Maidstone

Transforming lives, shaping communities – empowering people with choice.’

Members collected items with £70 for the home starter packs. As well as a donation of around £250 for the food bank. Members collected and donated household items to allow the Vine to put together home starter packs. We had a focus on cruet sets and graters which are always in short supply!

A large donation of soft toys was also made by the club and the Vine found several ways to utilise this donation, some as gifts for the children and others as way of raising much needed funds.

We were also pleased to present the project with a donation of £281.45

3. The Princess Project

Fusion Healthy Living Centre, Park Wood. The Princess Project (a passion for mothers) supports new mums. All new mums are given a pamper pack consisting of toiletries. The idea is that it is a time which is special but also exhausting and demanding, so mums need to make a little time for themselves.

A donation of £281.45 was made to the princess project as well as around £250 worth of toiletries for the pamper packs. Club members also spent an evening wrapping the pamper packs for the new mums.

Social Events

The club held a number of social events to help with our fundraising and these included;

Wine tasting

A visit to the mayor’s parlour

Coffee mornings


Afternoon tea – we also used this as an event to raise our profile.

President’s dinner

And our Christmas card messages,

To raise our profile a number of events have taken place including events at County Hall and several press releases. We have welcomed a number of new members this year and look forward to our club growing in the future.

As ever the club encouraged members and friends to sign petitions and to find out more about campaigns. This year this has included The Tear drop campaign, Right to Access Education and several more.




2013 September PAC Newsletter

 SISEE Programme Action Report 2013