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2023 Regional Conference

Northwest Soroptimists Regional Conference 2023 - logo

Make it happen, make it matter!

13 May 2023

Northwest Soroptimists are delighted to announce that the next Regional Conference for Northwest England and the Isle of Man is taking place at Brockholes Nature Reserve Conference Centre on Saturday 13 May 2023.

This is a new venue for our first conference in the post-Covid era. Brockholes Nature Reserve is located off M6 Junction 31 and is very conveniently situated for delegates from throughout the Northwest and beyond.


Brockholes is owned and managed by the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester & North Merseyside and has hosted over one million visitors since opening in April 2011. Based on the site of an old quarry, the Trust has used their expertise to create habitats for lots of different wildlife. There are networks of trails and hides to explore the 250-acre reserve, not to mention the fantastic views offered overlooking the River Ribble. The woods and lakes on site have been specially designed to attract all kinds of wildlife, with views changing throughout the seasons.

The spectacular floating Visitor Village is the first of its kind in the UK, bringing you as close to nature as possible. The award-winning and ecofriendly conference venue has the stunning Meadow Lake in the background and floor-to-ceiling windows to provide panoramic views across the lake. Facilities are all on ground level so no steps here! Parking is free for conference delegates (you will just need to provide your car registration number when checking in to the conference).

For further information see:

The aim of the Conference is to:

  • stimulate discussion
  • broaden knowledge and horizons
  • provide networking opportunities

The Conference speakers come from a variety of backgrounds, representing national or international organisations and/or undertaking work overseas. It is hoped they will both inspire and educate delegates and all will leave feeling motivated to make a difference, however small.

Our Conference Chair is Anne Jackson from SI Blackburn, who will host a question and answer session following each speaker’s input.

Conference Speakers

Emma Porter and Mike Clayton, British Cave Rescue CouncilThe Thai Cave Rescue – Against All Odds
In June 2018, the world was watching as a junior football team and their coach were trapped by flood waters in Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand, and no one knew if they were alive or dead. At the Thai government’s request, the volunteers of British Cave Rescue Council supported the cave rescue mission, and against all odds, with collaboration from a huge team, they “made it happen”.

Claire Bennett, Chief Executive – Positive Action in The Community PAC and its Projects
Claire has worked for Positive Action in the Community for over 22 years. Starting her career with them as a Project Worker, supporting the set up and delivery of SafeSpace Supported Accommodation for young people, progressing to Project Co-ordinator then to Charity Manager to support the sustainability of the Charity. In 2020, Claire became the first CEO of the Charity. This presentation will take you through the story of PAC, its services and its beneficiaries – and how they really do make a difference to people’s lives.

Harvey Hamilton-Thorpe, Deputy Chief Executive -Ribble Rivers TrustsGoing against the flow
Since 2010, Ribble Rivers Trust (RRT) has grown from a volunteer led charity to a professional organisation with 25 paid staff and around 50 regular volunteers. In this illustrated talk, Harvey will showcase the work completed over the last five years and describe how RRT has changed how it works with other organisations – working together to gather evidence, and secure funding to develop and deliver projects. These changes are resulting in better solutions to the problems our rivers face, and generating new opportunities to make a difference to our rivers and the communities they benefit.

Dr Jan Graffius, Curator of Collections – Stonyhurst CollegeOpening up a Hidden Collection
An examination of the oldest museum of the English-speaking world, which is now being fully brought into the public sphere.

Mary Storrie, CEO and Founder – Rosie May Foundation
The Rosie May Foundation has grown organically since 2004 from kitchen table to an international charity, working on the ground in both the UK, Sri Lanka, and Nepal to help children in crisis, especially girls. The Vision is quite simple – A world in which every child grows up within a safe, nurturing family and has a positive future.

Conference Fee

(Note: this is non-refundable)
The EARLY BIRD fee to 28 February 2023 for the Day Conference will be £60.00. After that date, until the end of April, the conference fee will be £70.00. Fee includes: coffee/tea on arrival, morning pastries, refreshments during the day, two-course lunch and on-site parking.

For details of how to book ask your club secretary for a Booking Form or email

(Soroptimists in the Northwest can access the Online Booking Form through the Members’ Area.)

2023 Regional Conference - logo 2

Please note

The Brockholes Nature Reserve Conference Centre is not a hotel and therefore there is no on-site accommodation.

There are several hotels within easy access, the nearest one is the Tickled Trout less than a mile away at the other side of the motorway junction. Delegates are encouraged to check online for accommodation which best meets their needs, the Conference organisers regret that they are unable to make specific recommendations or bookings on your behalf.

The day will start at a slightly later time than previously – 10am – to allow delegates plenty of time to arrive, register, and catch up with friends. We look forward to seeing you there!

Northwest Soroptimists Regional Conference 2023 - flyer