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Soroptimist International - Milton Keynes

Soroptimist International of Milton Keynes is part of a worldwide organisation of women, which is linked to the United Nations.

Welcome to Soroptimist International Milton Keynes

We are part of an international women’s voluntary organisation working to improve the lives of women and girls locally,  nationally and at an international level.  To learn more about our friendly group click here.

We want to raise awareness of the many ways we can help women and girls to reach their potential and realise their ambition.  If you want to make a difference why not join us at one of our events.  Contact us via email at

SI MK 16 Feb 2021 mtgTo see when we are meeting and our planned events click here



Two great fund raising events in October 

Classical Musical Concert for HomelessClassical Music Concert Friday 1 October – live Quintet raising funds for the homeless of the Winter Night Shelter MK.  For more details and how to book tickets click here

Princes Trust Brilliant Breakfast Oct 2021 - Women Supporting WomenBrilliant Breakfast Wednesday 6 October – join us for tea/coffee/pastries to help raise funds for young women in the UK who need our support achieve a positive future.  Help us reach our target of £200 for The Princes Trust Women Supporting Women Fund.  For more details and how to make a donation click here 

What have we been up to lately 

Firstly, apologies for our tardiness, but we have continued to be very busy.  We Soroptimists do what we do best, we get on and do things when needed and the last couple of months has been no different from the past year.

We were so pleased to hold a lovely summer evening meeting where members brought along a friend and hopeful new member.  It was lovely to get together and we are so pleased to welcome a new member and we also raised £112 for the Winter Night Shelter MK,  one of our linked charities.  They used to open for the winger months to help the homerless but as a result of Covid are now open all year round and are still experiencing a very busy and need more help than ever before.  Click here to find out more.  And if you can make a donation, THANK YOU for your support.

17 Aug 2021 summer evening members event

And then the day after our summer event, we heard that the first families airlifted from Afghanistan were to be housed here in Milton Keynes.  We got on to our local Councillors to find out how we could help and then reached out to all our friends and what great friends they are.  We collected and dropped off 5 car loads of clothing, toiletries and toys.

Chair with first car load for Afghan families Aug 2021    Toys and toiletries for Afghan families Aug 2021

We are so proud to be able to give some help to these families and hope they are able to make a new and safe life for themselves here.

And on the 3 September we held our Violet Awards for “Women of Action”.  How to celebrate Soroptimists 100 birthday.  We wanted to celebrate the work of unsung female heroes in the city, women who are members and linked charities thought had gone above and beyond their normal duties during this Covid pandemic.  And why Violet, in honour of Violet Richardson Ward, one of the founding members back in 1921.  Her life motto was “It’s what you do that counts”.

Women linked with local front-line charities & groups including The British Red Cross, Works for Us, MK ACT, YMCA, The Winter Night Shelter, Woughton Trust & MK Dons SET were recognised and celebrated at the awards event. It was a privilege to say thank you to all of the nominees for their unstinting dedication to the users of their charities. Every nominee received a certificate, flowers and a Violet heart but there had to be one winner.  Chief Inspector Kelly Gardner, Deputy Police Commander Thames Valley Police presented overall winner Ruth Legh Smith from Winter Night Shelter with her award for her unstinting dedication.  Her story of dedication was truly inspiring and we say well done Ruth.

Winner and nominees 030921 no 2

We also raised over £60 on the raffle to go towards the Winter Night Shelter and they also benefited because at the end of the night they took home all the left-over food, so a win win for them.

We were very lucky to have Chief Inspector Kelly Gardner as our main inspirational speaker and Helen Bryne our Regional President also spoke.

It was a truly humbling evening and great to see all the nominees be recognised for their hard work and tireless dedication, we say Thank you.

Click here to see more pictures of what we have been doing.

We also have a number of events going on in our Soroptimist  International Centenary Year 2021.  To find out more about these events, scroll further down this page.

Recent Club News –  click here to see more news items

Brilliant Breakfast – raising funds for The Princes Trust Women Supporting Women Fund

Brilliant Breakfast event to raise funds for The Princes Trust Women Supporting Women Fund About…

Classical Music Concert – live orchestra raising funds for MK Homeless

Classical Music Event with live orchestra to raise funds for MK Winter Night Shelter organised…

White Ribbon Accreditation being pursued by Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Town Council

Going for White Ribbon Accreditation at Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Town Council Amanda Carter-Philpott, past…

Celebrating Invisible Women – August

Matilda Kessler (1919-1990) This strong minded, popular pillar of our community came from a family…

Celebrating Invisible Women – July

Margaret Durbridge OBE (1911-1999) Margaret Durbridge was born in 1911 in London. Her father was…

Soroptimists International Centenary Celebrations 2021

Soroptimists across the world are joining together to celebrate 100 years of Soroptimist International (SI) in 2021.  There will be a number of events and ways to celebrate this momentous occasion taking place through out 2021, Click here.  And in October we will have the big celebration at SIGBI’s Llandudno Conference on 29-30 October via Zoom.  Bookings are now being taken.  To find out more and to book your place, click here.

SIGBI Llandudno Oct 2021

We have started in the UK by celebrating the contributions of over 100 Soroptimists women who have made a significant contribution to the society and its aims. Each month, a new group of women will be celebrated, to view, click here

SI Milton Keynes is planning a year of events to mark the Centenary.  See below for details of our programme of celebrations:

“Celebrating Invisible Milton Keynes Women”. 

Soroptimist International is 100 this year.  We are all about transforming the lives of women and girls to help them reach their full potentials.

As part of our birthday year, Milton Keynes will be “Celebrating Invisible MK Women”.  Women who have quietly made a difference to the community.  Each month we will post a biography.  Please read and let us know your views.

January we celebrate

Zoe Raven, CEO of Acorn Early Years Foundation.  Click here to view the article on our website


February and we are celebrating one of our newest members,

Lois Hembadon Adura, a lawyer by profession and founder of “Save by Grace” Charitable Foundation and author of “Saved by Grace” a powerful book about the real-life ordeals of females living in a community with male preferences.  Click here to view her biography:


March we celebrate

Chief Inspector Kelly Gardner – Deputy Commander for Milton Keynes Local Policing Area.  Click here to view the article on our website

Chief Inspector Kelly Gardner – Deputy Commander for Milton Keynes Local Policing Area

April we celebrate

Valerie Williamson, 2 times Paraplegic archery medalist and awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020.  Click here to view the full article.

May we celebrate

Margaret Sale (1932-2020)

Founding member of the Saving Bletchley Park campaign, board member of Bletchley Park Trust in 1994.

Margaret Sale, founding member of Save Bletchley Park campaign

Click here to read full article

June we celebrate

Aaliyah Aries

Living with Dilated Cardiomyopathy.


Aaliyha Aries founder member of the Youth Panel for Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Click here to read full article

July we celebrate

Margaret Durbridge OBE – a grassroots voice amongst planners

Margaret Durbridge OBE

Click here to read the full article

August we celebrate

Matilda Kassler – founding member of the Citizens Advice Bureau in Bletchley and one of the  founders of the OU

Mathilda Kessler

Click here to read the full article




#MyPledge #Pledge2021

2020 was anything but normal but it has highlighted the need to look after each other.  As part of our Centenary year we want to encourage everyone to make #Pledge2021 of kindness and hope.  It can be a one off or a regular pledge.  We would like to achieve 100 #Pledge2021 in line with our 100 years.  To find our more on how to #Pledge2021 and to let us know what you do click here.

Centenary Quilt

We have completed our Centenary Quilt and were able to present it at our Regional event on 12 June.  This quilt celebrates our branch and what we do and also what we love about Milton Keynes.

Soroptimists MK Centenary Quilt

Here are some of the individual quilt patches.

Soroptimists Quilt PatchWillen Lake Quilt patchQuilts and masks patchMK Concrete Cows quilt patch



SI Milton Keynes Branch raising funds for MK Hospital new cancer unit

Our campaign for 2020-2021 is to address issues around domestic violence

We do this by helping to educate young people to identify when relationships are becoming abusive; we empower women looking to escape or change abusive homes through supporting the preventative, practical advice provided by MK ACT; we enable women to put their lives on a new path by fundraising for new hostel rooms at the YMCA and distributing dignity packs to over 3000 local women through the Red Cross each year. And we fund research to support the work of Works for Us, helping local women back into the workplace.

Join and support us in making Milton Keynes a life-enhancing community for women and girls.

If you are looking for immediate support, please contact our link charities directly – listed here.

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