Over 100 Soroptimists attended South Lancashire’s regional conference, held in Liverpool. Delegates included many from the neighbouring region, North West England & the Isle of Man.
President Sandy Taylor’s theme was ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’. This was a wide remit for the speakers – yet they each succeeded in demonstrating the power of the team.
Dr Nick Beeching opened the day with a look at some of the risks to travellers from infections and other ‘nasties’ prevalent at holiday destinations, aboard cruise ships and in aircraft. Considering delegates had just eaten breakfast, he took considerable risks with some of his unsavoury visual images!
Continuing the medical thread Dr Paula Briggs looked at the changing guidelines on managing the menopause, at HRT in particular, and at the need for shared decision-making. “Fifteen years of misconceptions need to be addressed.” Risky again – this was a challenging and controversial topic, grounded on her joint authorship of ‘Managing the Menopause: 21st century solutions’ (2015). It prompted many questions from the floor.
Debbie Shelley, who manages a local Trussell Trust foodbank network, emphasised the extensive support needed for UK people in crisis, and outlined the risks that food poverty poses to people’s physical and mental health.
This was followed by a presentation from Dr Melissa Gladstone on recent research into early child development. Findings in African countries on deprivation (whether of food, or education or stimulation) highlight the risks of children not reaching their full potential.
Our Federation Vice President Sue Biggs gave a succinct outline of Soroptimist International’s reputation within the United Nations where, as she said, “We punch above our weight”. As members we need to look closely at our clubs’ service work. It must link ultimately with SI’s published goals, otherwise our organisation’s enhanced position on the global stage is at risk.
“People living with dementia deserve choices”: this was the message from Teresa Jones. Taking financial risks, Teresa set up Choices, a local activity and support day care centre. It is founded on the principle that clients and their families should experience a person-centred service – one that promotes independence and opportunity.
Finally, Danielle Thomas (mezzo-soprano) presented a programme of songs from light opera and famous musicals. This ‘music therapy’ session closed a fascinating, multi-faceted – and thoroughly rewarding – day.