A summary of some of our recent activities:
Club members hit the town!
A cold and frosty Saturday morning in February saw a party of 10 members heading to London for the weekend organised by Gill- Cheers Gill!
A member writes:
We stayed at 63 (the Soroptimist hotel.) On Saturday we went to see the Book of Mormon which was very irreverent and rather rude but hilarious.
Later we went for a meal at an Italian restaurant near the hotel. On Sunday we walked through Kensington gardens (opposite the hotel) to Kensington palace to see the exhibition of Princess Diana’s dresses. Anne and Jean attempted to look suitably regal in a Queen Anne number!
Then on to Kensington High Street for some retail therapy. We said goodbye to three of our number and the rest of us went for an Indian meal. On Monday – the Science museum before heading back home. Great weekend full of fun and laughter.
The verdict on the show?
It was brilliant. Funniest show many of us have ever seen. So much so that when it goes on tour in a few months time we would like to go and see it again and invite all our other friends.
February 2019 Dinner Meeting
Once again our meeting started with a delicious dinner for members and guests at the Hunters Lodge Hotel. It was followed by a fascinating and inspiring talk from Kay Carson from the Nantwich Job Club. She talked engagingly about how the Club works with those struggling with life, debts and getting into work. She explained how her faith and strong sense of social injustice had led her to work with the group ‘Christians against Poverty’ who support and sponsor the Job Clubs. She encouraged listeners to think strategically: what ideas could they contribute to help organisations and businesses aid those who struggle to engage with society in the ‘usual’ way?
Thanks to Kay for a most thought- provoking presentation.
It being ‘Fair Trade Fortnight’ members also contributed Fair Trade items to the Food Bank and admired and purchased soft toys made by a friend of a member in aid of charity.
Dinner Meeting on 27th November
To mark the second day of the Orange the World Project Members attending the November dinner meeting bought along items for the Food Bank that are Orange !
We also gave a cheque for £900 to Tracey Bentley, the Children and Families Team Leader at the YMCA. The money will go towards parties and presents for the most vulnerable families in the Crewe area. Tracey was absolutely delighted and said that the money will make a real difference to these families.
After dinner we enjoyed an excellent presentation by Kitty Sadler from Snugbury’s. We heard about the development of the company from a struggling farm to a highly successful business. At the end she let us sample some of the ice cream, which was absolutely delicious! As you can see President Nancy enjoyed it very much.
Our Club meeting in October 2018 has prompted a blog by Caroline Marsh….
What is supportive, lifts you up, and always close to your heart? Yes, it could be your best friend, but we are talking about bras here, lots of them, through the ages and social twists and turns of the last century.
Our dinner speaker in October was Janet Blake who brought lots of garments for us to see and gave a gentle and informative talk about bras, slips, petticoats pyjamas and other undergarments. It was an opportunity for a history lesson for some and to reminisce for others – one of our members even shared that she had even been a model for Spirella corsets! It got me thinking though – what have bras ever done for women? Are they a vital undergarment for style and comfort or a symbol of male oppression and desire to control women? A little bit of googling around came up with some interesting points.
At least 75% of western women wear a bra, including me, so it is still popular, if not universal. We heard that they came into common usage in the early 20C and surely must have been a force for liberation from the uncomfortable and unhealthy corset. There is no doubt though that by the 50s the style of bra – think pointy and prominent breasts – was seen as a desirable look promoted by men, and through the film industry and beauty parades they came to be associated with treating women as sex objects, and “a way for men and society to control women and bras negatively affect the female image”. 
We have all heard about the ‘bra-burning’ feminists of the 1960’s and the now famous demonstration held at the Miss America 1969 contest on September 7, 1968, attended by about 200 feminists and separately, by civil rights advocates. In fact, the protesters threw bras, and other feminine products, into a “Freedom Trash Can” and there was never any bra burning. Although many women continued to wear their bras and over time ‘bra-burning feminist’ became almost a term of abuse by some, it marked a time when women began to wear what they wanted for comfort, style and their definition of sexiness. They have also enabled women to more easily participate in sports with the development of supportive sports bras.
Kristen Flor Perrett provides some interesting food for thought in her recent blog about what women want from their bras. From around 2006, when Dove began their ‘Real Women” campaign there has been greater emphasis on a more holistic view of health and beauty product marketing. We are all into leading health and active lives, and the bra has potential to be more than an essential item of underwear that we mindlessly put on each morning. She highlights 3 key current themes that influence the role of the bra:
- Body positivity is the new sexy – manufacturers want to encourage women to feel good about themselves, and many high street stores sell bras for women who have had reconstructive surgery for example. “H&M has launched a line of bras designed by breast cancer survivors, for breast cancer survivors, bringing awareness to what the bra shopping experience is like for women who’ve undergone mastectomies or invasive surgeries.”
- The rise of athleisure – sports bras are everywhere: on catwalks, red carpets, social media, and in every woman’s wardrobe.
- Intimate apparel integrated with a health and wellness lifestyle – imagining how wellness might be built into the product itself as part of the job it does for us. Sports bras like the Mi Pulse Smart Bra come equipped with sensors to monitor heart rate and Bluetooth transmitters to connect to your device. As a woman with a recent heart problem this sounds amazing and exciting. The OMBra tracks a number of biometrics, including breath rate. Detection of cancer is not impossible to imagine.
At the end of my little thought ramblings I think bras are here to stay, and I am still a feminist J I can see that there will be a greater integration into the health and wellness lifestyle. This could be a fad, but equally, it could be a vital part of healthy lifestyle, and potentially lifesaving. Let’s hope the trend to involve women in design and to inform functionality continues though.
So, all in all, it was a pleasant evening that got me thinking. It was also good fun as I hope these pictures show. What more could I want?
( Hooper, Amelia, “The Bra and its Effects on Women and Society” (2014). USU Student Showcase. Student Showcase. Paper 41.)
Christmas Meeting- December 2018
For our December meeting Club members enjoyed a delicious seasonal dinner at the Hunters Lodge.
President Nancy encouraged everyone to arrive suitably decorated!
A Secret Santa was organised but before the parcels were distributed Helen Piddock Jones held a quiz – much laughter ensued! It was lovely to see everyone enjoying themselves.
We also learnt about the festive gifts we are sending to Cheshire without Abuse.
16 days of ‘Orange’ Action
10 December was International Human Rights Day which marked the conclusion of the 16 Days of Activism. Although the campaign is ending, violence against women will continue. Take 10 minutes to reflect on this campaign, what you have done, and what else you can do. Helen Pankhurst says in her book, Words not Deeds, that although the law has changed to protect women, actual levels of violence are still almost as bad as 100 years ago – this is a long term issue –make a lasting commitment to support this cause #orangetheworld #HearMeToo
District Soroptimists in Action in November 2018
SI Nantwich and district were busy wrapping shoe boxes in Christmas paper and collecting items to go inside them ready for Teams4U to take Romania at Christmas. The boxes contained, warm hats, scarves and gloves, (some of which were been made by members at their regular knit and natter sessions), a flannel, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, crayons, pens, pencils and notebooks along with sweets and toys. Members were are thrilled that we managed to fill 31 boxes.
Supporting the Nantwich Food Bank
President Nancy delivered donations to the Nantwich Food bank. Members have collected a variety of items- with a some seasonal treats included.
Soroptimists National Conference 2018- a personal view from Caroline Marsh
See the dedicated page on this site :https://sigbi.org/nantwich-and-district/soroptimists-national-conference-2018/
Club Meeting – “Granny was a Suffragette”
Our February joint dinner meeting with many good friends from Northwich Soroptimists was a huge success.
We had a speaker talking about her grandmother who was a Suffragette.
She highlighted many aspects of her life and her possessions, including badges and sashes “Votes for Women” and explained the meaning of the colour of their scarves.
Soroptimist member Liz Cooley says “A fascinating talk, and amazing to be able to handle the personal items of a leading light in the Suffrage movement!
Social Media Campaign
Throughout the month of March Communications Officer Carole Smith has been collecting and posting members Most Inspirational Women. There have been so many interesting and inspirational women chosen by members throughout our Organisation
We were very proud to have Soroptimist International President Yvonne Simpson start things off on 1st March.
Yvonne has nominated Dame Whina Cooper. She says:
“I recall 1975 Dame Whina Cooper walking to stand up for the rights of her people: I was impressed by her dignity, perseverance and courage.
During September and October 1975, the nearly 80-year-old Cooper again became nationally recognised, walking at the head of the Māori land march from Te Hapua to Wellington.”
May 2017 Speaker Meeting
At our dinner meeting on 23rd May, local business woman and Rotarian Halina Dzisiewska came to talk to us about her life.
She was born in Poland in 1942.
Halina’s talk about her life in Poland, and subsequently in England was fascinating and also very moving as the hardships that she and her family endured for many years obviously brought back distressing memories. These days she helps a great deal with Polish families in the Crewe area.
Modern Slavery Campaign 2017
Saturday 14 October 2017 saw Nantwich and District’s most ambitious Modern Slavery event in 6 years, an event which truly involved the whole club, from preparations by the knit and natter group to individual contributions ahead as well as on the day. The weather was good to us so we had many visitors to our purple display stand outside and to the coffee morning in St Mary’s Church Hall.
We also found that more people were aware of Modern Slavery but had not realised it was so local. A huge plus was that more people had heard of Soroptimists!
The Tombola, coffee morning and jewellery sale were well received. The three mayors from Nantwich, Crewe and East Cheshire attended as well as our new MP Laura Smith. They all were impressed with our event and our MP said she would like to become more involved with our club!
The event was really Nantwich & District Soroptimists at their best. Total profit for the event was £321.19 which was donated to support the crucial work of the Salvation Army to assist people rescued from modern slavery in our region. – a brilliant result!
International Women’s Day Writing Competition 2018
This competition invited Year 12 pupils in local schools and colleges to submit an article (700 and 1000 words) on ‘What single change would most improve the lives of women and girls in your local community and why’. The winning entry is receiving a prize of £100 and the runner up will receive £50.
The four judges on the panel were very impressed with the quality of the entries and were really pleased to see that the articles encompassed the values and vision of our Soroptimist organisation. Considerable time was spent discussing the merits of each entry in order to identify the winner and runner up and the judges decided to give certificates for three highly commended entries because they felt the quality of these also deserved recognition.
Here are the winners
1st Prize Siân Allen – Read Siân’s article here
2nd Prize Katie Brown – Read Katie’s article here
Highly Commended – Beth Cassidy, Connor McDonnell and Erica Levett
Congratulations to our winners and thanks to all who entered #Soroptimist Nantwich Writing Competition for International Women’s Day 2018 #PressforProgress
Taste of Bake Off Event Sunday 5th March 2017
On Sunday 5th march we held an afternoon tea with Diana Beard from The Great British Bake Off. As you see the room was full and we had a great afternoon.
Diana gave a really interesting and honest talk about being a contestant on bake Off, and then we had a scrumptious afternoon tea prepared and served by Heather and her team at Brookfield Golf Club.
Everyone was so generous and we raised over £400 in the raffle – overall raised £1106 for Parkinson’s UK and Develop with Dignity, which was fantastic