Three members from the club have been attending the Sorpotimist International convention this week in Dublin. Every club worldwide had been challenged to design and submit a poster for display at the convention. Our club had one accepted, as did other clubs from our region. Our poster was about the support we gave to WaterAid over the last few years, raising money to provide plumbing, toilets and hygiene lessons to primary schools in two regions of Rwanda. A water theme had been chosen when we rebranded as SI Solent East, because of our proximity to the coast. A total of £5,000 was raised for the WaterAid project, which helped provide access to clean water and toilet blocks for 80 schools in Rwanda.
We have recently made 8 wash bags for the local refuges. As part of our new project ‘Are You Safe at Home?’ we are supporting the women and children in the local refuges. Part of this is to provide a wash bag for new arrivals. The bags were made by a club member, and the contents were assembled from donated toiletries. This was quickly recognised as an easy practical aspect of the project, while we investigated and defined the other support that we might provide. It also formed a tangible example (and photo opportunity!) for our entry in the regional Programme Action competition, with a closing date of 31 July.
In 2021 we planted three cherry trees for the Soroptimist International centenary. We worked with the local council to get them planted, at Lee-on-the-Solent Recreation Ground. There is a dedication plaque for past members of the club. Two years on, the trees are well established and full of spring blossom. We are very pleased with their progress and ensure we visit them regularly!
Some club members supported the Bishops Waltham in Bloom quiz on 27 January 2023. The last time they had managed to host a quiz in person was in 2020 as shown in the photograph. This year there were 25 tables in all and 2 were made up Soroptimist club members and friends/family. One of the teams, called The Optimists, finished in third place overall. After a tentative start with the TV theme tune round, the team improved throughout the evening, scoring a perfect 20 points on the Cryptic British Towns round and 19 for the Dingbats during supper. Congratulations all round!
Club member Alison had some material left over from all her quilting projects! So of course she made the scraps up into something beautiful – these small quilts for the neo-natal units in Queen Alexandra hospital Portsmouth, and Princess Anne hospital Southampton. She makes about 2-3 each month, and donates them via the Meon Valley quilting group.
We host the local Re-engage groups to tea in the summer, and we don’t forget them at Christmas either. The club donates money to provide some goodies in a festive bag for each member of the group. This year there are 12 recipients. The goodie bags have now been packed and are were distributed today. The contents of each bag, as shown in the picture, are a pot of jam, hand cream, biscuits, sweets and a wedge of homemade Christmas cake, with a card from all of us. We wish all the recipients a merry Christmas.
In association with sister Soroptimists from Winchester, we will be lighting up the Spinnaker Tower in orange on Monday 28 November to create awareness of the campaign to end Domestic Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG). Soroptimist International ‘Orange the World’ campaign runs from 25 November, which is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. That date was originally White Ribbon Day, when men and boys declared that they would never commit, excuse or remain silent about men’s violence against women. From that date, there follows 16 days of Activism, which ends on 10 December, UN Human Rights Day. Dame Vera Baird, former Victims’ Commissioner with whom we have worked closely on Domestic Abuse courts said, “Great that the wonderful Soroptimists support this campaign and raise awareness of domestic abuse against women and girls. With education for boys and girls and a wider
SI San Fernando asked for contributions to their 60th anniversary this month. They were compiling a quilt, made up of Peace Patches from other clubs. Most managed to hand these over in person at the Belfast conference. Unfortunately the Solent East club did not have delegates there. So, we have posted our Peace Patch direct to the Caribbean, and hope it has made it there in time for the SI San Fernando celebrations. Our club contribution was made by Alison, who designed and stitched a beautiful patch. It features our club logo and a white dove in the centre, with a background of our local landscape colours of land, beach, sea and sky. When all the patches are combined together, the finished quilt will be displayed at the SI Convention 2023 in Dublin. We look forward to seeing the whole picture, and meeting some of
The club may not have a business meeting over the summer, but we do get together at Carolyne’s for our annual BBQ! There was plenty of gorgeous food on offer, and we sat in her garden in the summer sunshine. Actually, most of us wore hats for protection, but it was lovely to be able to sit outside.
In July the club has traditionally gone out somewhere rather than invite a speaker to our meeting. This year the chosen venue was Warsash, on the shores of the Hamble. The walk along the shore, past the Pink Ferry (across to Hamble-le-Rice), was very pleasant on a warm summer evening. Then 16 club members and spouses convened at the Rising Sun for supper.