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President Joyce Message – Week Eleven

Good Morning Sister Soroptimists

How are you all?     

It is a very wet Sunday here, so a walk is out of the question. 

Today marks the end of Volunteers Week 2020, an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering.

I am aware that many of our Soroptimist family give countless hours of voluntary service for charitable and statutory organisations, maybe not always in the name of Soroptimist, but because they are Soroptimists and Soroptimists love to give service!

I pay tribute to all volunteers with the following:

“Volunteers are not paid.   Not because they are worthless but because they are priceless!”

My only attachment (see above) this week shows something very special – it was inspired by an idea from Hilary Clavering – probably my longest standing friend in Soroptimism, outside of my own club – 36 years! She wanted to depict my Presidential Year of Office in a WORD SALAD and enlisted the help of a fellow SI Sunderland member, Denise Wilson who has excellent IT skills. With words from my strapline and from our aims and objectives and adding in the names of the 12 Clubs in the Region, the result is stunning, unique and innovative.         

Thank you, Hilary and Denise.

Congratulations to Regional Programme Action Chair, Karen Alexander, who wrote and submitted a story to THE BIG STORY for Empowering Girls in Nepal. With generous sponsorship from SI Sunderland members and matched funding, to date she has raised £770 for the Federation Project.  I have read her story and it is excellent and moving.

Well done Karen!

Karen has also been working on another fundraiser for the Nepal Project, one in which you are invited to participate.


Your Club Secretaries will have received details earlier this week – 26th June 2020 at 7.00pm – a ZOOM Party! It has the full support of your Regional Officers and although certainly not compulsory, it is a fun event which, hopefully, will boost Nepal Funds, You can take part from your armchair, which is probably where I will be!  Link to details of fundraiser.

When I attended a recent online meeting with Federation President Isobel and other Regional Presidents, some were concerned that there were members who had begun to feel useless, since they had no skills in sewing or knitting etc and  felt unable to contribute to the COVID-19 efforts.

I suggested that they may like to copy an example of a couple of our clubs and send Thank You cards to Care Home Staff in their areas. It is a simple idea, but effective and should you wish to do likewise, Bethan Hill-Gorst  has obtained lists of Care Home details in your areas and these will be circulated by Regional Secretary Joan next week.


  • SI SOUTH SHIELDS has instigated 8 for 8 food collection and for the next 8 weeks, members will collect at least 8 dessert items – tins of fruit, packets of jellies etc. to help local food bank Hospitality and Hope, a charity they have supported for many years..
  • A member of SI DURHAM took cleaning items to Bishop Auckland Women’s Refuge – hand sanitisers.  surface wipes and spray, washing up liquid and washing machine liquid, for each of 3 clients who are resident at present. This is a privately run Refuge and they are finding funding very challenging in the current emergency.
  • SI PENRITH are having informal Zoom meetings and intend to focus mainly on PA again, which is good to hear. Pat Newsham and Sylvia Kidd joined a ZOOM session celebrating volunteers, by invitation of the Calvert Trust at Keswick, where they have volunteered for many years.
  • SI COCKERMOUTH members continue their tireless work in COVID-19 Programme Action. They are also involved in speaking out for others by lobbying their MPs on matters such as Domestic Abuse, Predatory Marriage and Family Courts.   I imagine that other clubs are doing similar Advocacy work.


I have a message to convey from Catherine Hogg and Olive Cronie [SI Carlisle] and Sylvia Kidd [SI Penrith] which is:

“We would have celebrated the grand reunion of all Past Presidents on 13th June [which of course has been postponed] and so we invite each of you to spend a few moments with a cup of coffee [or a glass of wine] in pleasant reminiscences of your term of office and in anticipation of our eventual celebration”. 

I will drink to that, Catherine, Olive and Sylvia. Thank you!

To finish this week, a quote from Jane Goodall:

“What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make”

Until next week, Stay Safe and keep well.

In Friendship,