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Regional President’s Message – February 2022

A reflective month for Regional President Judith as she’s been busy catching up around the region and more widely.

SI Cannock DinnerSI Cannock’s club dinner on the 4th February was a much welcomed event in my social calendar and an absolute triumph in so many ways. It was fabulous to meet up with friends old and new and so encouraging to see members from other clubs participating in the evening. Now that restrictions are being lifted I would encourage as many of you as possible to support our charter dinners/lunches if you are able. How can we expect members to attend our events if we don’t make an effort to support theirs?

I met with club presidents via Zoom on the 8th February just to chat informally and to share experiences both good and bad. We considered various issues including naming one success everyone was proud of; whether they were on track for achieving their goals; and noting any difficulties.

It was really helpful to learn from one another and to make helpful suggestions for making progress and moving forward. Covid as expected had affected many aspects of club life especially much anticipated club social/meetings etc. Zoom of course has its place, but clearly some members have struggled to engage with this. One club was having difficulties in finding a suitable venue for holding face-to-face meetings, a problem which hopefully might be resolved following suggestions from other club presidents.

We can all learn so much from each other and I’m sure you all agree that communication really is the key to making this work effectively. One fact was abundantly clear – that as Soroptimists of Midland Chase Region we all have so much to be proud of. My plan is to meet with the new club presidents when they come into office in April. I would also like to visit every club during my time as Regional President, and already have dates in my diary to go to SI Cannock and SI Wolverhampton.

On Saturday the 12th February I hosted (via Zoom ) the Three Regions’ Meeting. Joined by members from Midland Arden and Midland East we usefully discussed several issues affecting us all. This included discussions on the structure of the group and its purpose, together with the concerning issue of membership and declining numbers. Whilst some clubs are recruiting new members, others are finding it difficult and there are no easy answers. However all three regions, ably assisted by their Membership Officers, are working hard exploring a variety of options.

We can all continue to remain positive and to take every opportunity to spread the word about our wonderful organisation. Embracing social media in all its forms is particularly essential. Are we all using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, You Tube and LinkedIn to maximise exposure and attract interest? I admit I have a great deal to learn! Please shout out for help if you need it as we have many members with the necessary skills. We really can learn from and help each other.

SI President Maureen Maguire
SI President Maureen Maguire

The Photo Competition received 30 entries on my theme of ‘Progress not Perfection.’ All clubs now have the task of voting on the finalists placing their choices of 1st, 2nd and 3rd.The winner will be announced at our Regional Council/PAC Meeting on 5th March and the prizes will be presented by International President Maureen Maguire at the Regional Conference on the 14th May. Thank you and well done to everyone who took part!

The Programme Action newsletter highlights our work so well, and we can all feel proud of what we have done and will continue to do within our individual clubs. On the 14th February I met up on zoom with Chris Corless and some of the PA officers within our clubs. I felt so incredibly proud to hear about their achievements and plans for the future. Our region is full of such talented members with a diverse range of complementary skills.

We cannot be good at everything so let’s really celebrate the talents of all members within our clubs and give everyone the opportunity to become involved in all our PA work.

Salvation Army Director Kathy Betteridge
Kathy Betteridge

This is at the very heart of Soroptimism, and ‘actions speak louder than words.’ Please don’t forget to fill in your Programme Focus Reports, but also remember that it is NOT a competition between clubs! We are all volunteers doing the best we can. Let’s really encourage all new members to become involved right from the the start .

A group of us visited Brocton Hall Golf Club on the 16th February to ensure that everything will be as ‘perfect as possible’ for our Regional Conference on the 14th May. As you know, we have 4 fantastic speakers – SI President Maureen Maguire, Baroness Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Kathy Betteridge Director for Anti Trafficking and Modern Slavery at the Salvation Army, and Sarah Smith North America Editor at BBC News. There will also be a post-lunch Bollywood activity to get us all moving again after a delicious two course lunch! Please do come to support this event. Perhaps you know of a potential member who might like to join us too?

On the 26th February I will be meeting with Cathy Cotteridge and other Regional Presidents to discuss everything we have been doing.

In conclusion there are FIVE points I’d like everyone to consider as we move forward with my theme of Progress not Perfection:

  1. Connect and communicate with each other even more than you do at the moment
  2. Continue to be kind and mindful of the needs of all club members
  3. Keep learning – from one another and through PA work
  4. Give of your skills and your time as much as you can
  5. Support regional events as they have been planned and designed for EVERY MEMBER OF MIDLAND CHASE

In friendship, Judith