Manchester’s Soroptimists were honoured to be among those who met the Duchess of Cornwall when she paid a visit to St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in the city.
Club members have been donating toiletries to the centre since it opened in 1986. Last year the Soroptimists were interested to read that the Duchess had visit a rape crisis centre in London. There she commented that giving a small gift of toiletries to survivors of such crimes could make a great difference, by bringing them the ‘human touch’ after their trauma.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained … SI Manchester’s members asked Val Moss (Programme Action Officer) to write to the Duchess about their work. Val informed the Duchess that St Mary’s SARC would be marking its 30th anniversary in 2016 and expressed the hope that she would visit them.
Sometimes Soroptimist dreams do come true, and the Duchess did indeed come to see for herself.
Her Royal Highness was given a tour of the centre by Dr Cathy White, the Clinical Director. Val and SI Manchester’s President, Molly Byrne Robinson, were privileged to be among those introduced to her. It was President Molly’s first engagement in her new role – what an opener!
The Duchess unveiled a plaque on the occasion of the centre’s ‘30-10’ anniversary: 30 years since SARC opened and 10 years since the specialised paediatric service began.
The Duchess has been interested in the work of referral centres since 2009, and helps to raise awareness of their support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse.