Harrogate Conference 2014


Fantastic 3 days of Inspiration

Fantastic 3 days of Inspiration

Thoughts on the Harrogate Conference 2014– by President Louise

Thursday evening – the opening ceremony was as lavish as ever and all the flags being brought in bring a lump to the throat!  Entertainment was by the Harrogate Brass Band.

Friday started with a presentation by Sahar Hashemi – the founder (with her brother) of Coffee Republic.  She was a great success, and her quote will remain with me – ‘Leap, and the net will appear.’

The Programme Action section started with the International Programme Director Hilary Ratcliffe – with the Focus ‘Educate to Lead’ moving into the SIGBI focu – ‘Educate, Enable and Empower’. We had presentations from SI Kodaikanal in India, SI Barbados and SI Llandudno with their Bee Project! The second speaker was Fleur Anderson from Water Aid, promoting the ‘Big History’ which Penny will tell us more about.

There was an update on the KORI project – with our sanitary towels being handed over! And an update on the Endometreosis project which as a club we will try and do more for.

The Learning opportunities award went to SI Lichfield for dresses and teddies for girls in Bukino Faso.

Environmental Sustainability – to SI Downpatrick for a climate change leaflet

Economic Empowerment – SI Western  Jamaica for a school for garment workers

The Friday afternoon was the AGM. The Resolutions for Associate Membership were not passed  – for was 69.9% but 75% was required. The next 2 resolutions were withdrawn.

The final resolution was passed for the amendment – £2 for the Benevolent fund, then 50p for each of the Diamond Education Grant and the Emergency Fund.

On Friday evening we had a very nice get together for Region, provided by the outgoing President Hilary and incoming President Stella.

On Saturday morning the first speaker was Susan Vinnecombe, the Director of the International Centre for Women leaders who was very interesting, followed by the International President – Ann Garvie, who was quite clear that our organisation is not fit for purpose in the 21st century, and we need  to do more. She reminded everyone of the Int Pres charity for 10.12 – See Solar, Cook Solar.

Programme action – about  projects which empower, and an update on the BIG project, together with a cheque for £144,000 being handed over.

There was information provided by SI Fernando in Trinidad and Tobago about a health outreach project, SI Hamilton about FairTrade,

The award for violence and conflict went to SI India for a gender sensitisation project, and for Health to  SI Republic of Ireland about mental health and suicide prevention project.

The overall winners were SI India and SI Republic of Ireland.

After lunch we had a wonderful speech from Jenni Murray,of Woman’s Hour Radio 4 and then we all went to change for the evening.

The Change of Insignia was for posh dresses! There was the installation of the Federation Management Committee for 2014 – 2015, and the new Federation President – Jenny Vince.  We also learnt that we had raised £7500(just at Conference) for the KORI project to send 2 containers directly to Sierra Leone to try and combat the devastating effects of Ebola.

We then had entertainment by the White Rosettes – a women’s barbershop choir which was very good, and then it was over!

Ask the other people who attended what their snapshot would be – mine was ‘Leap – and the net will appear’, and I intend to follow that through!