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Regional President’s Message – June 2022

In her Regional President’s Message – June 2022, Regional President Judith muses on good communication, openness, and kindness.

Welcome to my seventh message and time is passing far too quickly! I’m really enjoying my Presidential Year, learning so much and having excellent interaction with Clubs.

There is so much going on within all nine of our clubs, with Programme Action work as always at the forefront of everything we do. I think it’s important to remember that everyone is doing the best they can and that this is most definitely and never should be a competition between clubs! Everything we do – however small scale – makes a real difference in the lives of women and girls.  I noticed a Facebook post from @lichfieldsoroptimist recently describing the desperate situation at their local food bank. I imagine this is a situation that repeats throughout our region. The need has never been greater and of course, poverty directly and disproportionately impacts on women and girls, and as autumn and winter come along spiralling fuel costs will add to this burden.

Visiting individual clubs is such a pleasure, so please keep in touch and keep those invitations coming. I genuinely welcome any opportunity to do this and would like to visit every club at least once during my year in office (more often would be even better!). While I am always very happy to attend Charter and social events, I also greatly enjoy Business Meetings, so please just invite me – whatever the gathering!

Lichfield Club Charter Dinner Carolyn, Liz and Nancy
L-R: President Carolyn, Secretary Liz and President Nancy
Lichfield Club Charter Dinner Hand Made Flowers Table Decoration
Centrepiece of Hand Made Flowers

I have just attended Lichfield’s Charter Dinner (10th June) at Whittington Heath Golf Club with representatives from most clubs there to support. Although we can’t each attend every event, how can we as individual clubs expect other members to attend our dinners if we don’t go to theirs? It was a super evening with no long speeches of great formality, but extremely well organised. No entertainment was needed as everyone mingled, chatted and just enjoyed each other’s company. The fact that there was no loud background music was also a real bonus too. I had a wonderful evening.

I gave a very brief talk where I made reference to Jennifer Jones the new President of Rotary International. She refers to diversity, equity and inclusion which surely applies to everything within Soroptimist matters too. In addition I stressed again how essential it is that we communicate with each other. This means good communication not only within clubs but between clubs and region. Region needs to be open, honest and transparent and really is there to work WITH and to assist clubs as much as possible. I think you will agree that over the last two or three years we have made great strides in this. Our recent review of Constitutional and Good Practice led by Regional Secretary Maureen and involving representatives from every club will further consolidate this approach. The group’s report will be out shortly and Maureen deserves our heartfelt thanks for taking on a slightly dull but essential and sometimes, thankless task with her usual professionalism.

Valuing and respecting each other sounds so obvious, but do we all do this? Our older members may not be so physically active but have so much to offer. They need to be listened to, included and valued in the same way as everybody else. ​Can we do more in this respect?

Be Kind Image chalk on pavementMy third and final point was about kindness. The writer Henry James said “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”

A sub group from Stafford Club is currently in the initial stages of exploring the potential viability of a new Club in the north of the county. This makes a very pleasant change indeed from news of clubs closing ! It’s very early days and the group including Regional Membership Officer Jackie Bannister, is assessing potential demand and “sounding out the market” at the moment. This is a project which will take 12+ months to bear fruit but fingers crossed that it makes positive progress, and we’ll keep you informed.

I look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible to my garden party on 2nd July to raise funds for Voice of Hope and to our Three Regions Picnic at the NMA on 16th July. Do remember to book your car parking spaces at the NMA to guarantee your entry.

Garden Party Place SettingsI’ll be announcing a new Regional competition at my Garden Party on 2nd July – the Photographic Competition was enjoyed by so many members and produced some great work, and several members asked if we could do more of this kind of activity. So I’ve taken up the challenge and you’ll all learn more on 2nd July. It’ll be a fun thing for the summer months when we’re hopefully enjoying some sunshine outdoors.

In friendship, Judith