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President’s New Year Message

Soroptimist International Central Birmingham

It is with great sadness that my first piece of news for the New Year is to tell you that Central Birmingham Club has taken the very brave step to close at the end of March 2020. The club celebrated its 90th Anniversary in 2018 but although they still have a good number of members they are finding it extremely difficult to attract new members and those that they have been finding it very hard to participate in Programme Action or to take on management roles.

Due to the increasing size of Birmingham, they are also finding travelling across the city to meetings has become very stressful. They will be continuing their work up until March including their very popular Bridge Drive.
I am sure you will all join me in sending messages of goodwill to them all. We hope that some members may feel able to join other clubs or remain as Associate Members. We will have a celebration of their work at our Regional Meeting on March7th.

Regional Meeting

Our next meeting will be held on Saturday, March 7th at Wolston Leisure Centre. Andrea Kingston will be sending out the booking form directly and please send your bookings back to her.

We will be joined by Dishi Attwood Growth plan Ambassador for SIGBI and this is her statement of intent. “As a founder member of SI Solihull and current member of SI Lichfield, being a Soroptimist has been an important part of my world for many years. I have always had a key interest in learning and development and I have been keen to invite like-minded women to join our organisation. I’ve been delighted to support the board in the development of materials that are clear, practical and flexible. The launch at the Development Day emphasises the need to act NOW. We have an organisation that is unique in terms of friendship, teamwork, action, service and advocacy.

I am privileged to have been given the role of Growth Plan Ambassador for SIGBI. I have made a commitment to attend UK Region meetings to work within the individual framework of each. I have committed to research before the visit so that my role is based on what actually happens for you. There is no ‘one size fits all’. I bring energy to the role and now it is over to you. I want to meet you, help you focus on what will work for you, learn from you.”

We will also be joined by Dame Vera Baird. Dame Vera is now Victims Commissioner and will be coming to tell us about this new role. Her visit will also coincide with the end of our Domestic Violence Court Observation work which she headed in her Region. Many of you are taking part in this work which started on Jan 6th and runs until March 6th. Unfortunately, we were not given judicial consent to attend the court in Leamington/Coventry which has meant that quite a few of you will not be participating at this point due to the travelling distances involved. We are hoping to gain this consent at a later date. Dame Vera will be very happy to answer any questions that arise from this valuable work. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those of you who attended the training sessions (nearly 40) and hope that even if you are not doing the actual observations you learnt a little about the whole process. It is very exciting to be doing a piece of Programme work involving not just our Region but also the ladies from Midland Chase.

Following on from our last Regional Meeting SI Stratford upon Avon are taking part in a sponsored bicycle challenge to raise funds for Smart Works Birmingham. Judy Klinkenberg will be aiming to ride 100 miles in the week 8th – 15th March. Sarah O’Grady will be riding 50 miles on a static bike and my husband Peter will be riding 50 miles on my behalf! Sponsorship forms will be available at the March meeting.

I also offered to accept any clothing donations so please bring them along. Finally, a plea for help  – Central Birmingham club was due to host our next Regional Meeting however they do not feel able to do this.

Please would a club volunteer to provide and run the raffle at this meeting and we will divide the other chores among the ROC Committee unless you would like to volunteer for those as well ( registration would be the most helpful one).