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Soroptimists Focus on ‘Planet’ and ‘People’

South Lancashire’s Soroptimists in action …

At the recent regional Programme Action meeting several South Lancashire clubs took the opportunity to showcase their projects. ‘Planet’ and ‘People’ featured strongly. These relate directly to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

SI Manchester’s members are taking a 12-month ‘Green Footprint’ personal challenge. How easy is it to reduce our carbon footprint? The Soroptimists will find out. Another Manchester project focussing on the environment is a local directory of recycling and collections. This brings information together in a handy – and easily updated – format.

In Crosby, the club has a partnership with the Wildlife Trust (Lancashire, Manchester & North Merseyside). The Soroptimists have nurtured hundreds of native wildflowers from seed at home. They have now planted out the flowers at Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve. These will increase biodiversity and enhance the environment.

Wigan Soroptimists have an active tree-planting project. A local school will soon be the home for 100 young trees. This will commemorate Soroptimist International’s centenary year, as well as benefit the locality.

Soroptimist clubs have close links with local charities that support women and children who experience domestic violence.

SI St Helens’ members provide ‘fresh start’ bags for women embarking on the local ‘Pause’ programme. The club also created simple ‘cheer up’ bags in the run-up to Christmas – an emotional season for the women if separated from their children. Simple gifts of toiletries, nibbles, drinking chocolate, etc mean a lot. They show that someone cares.

In Ashton under Lyne, the club is working with local initiative Cascade, in partnership with local midwives. Families in poverty receive a ‘baby basket’ with two weeks’ supplies of baby clothes and other essentials. Club members have knitted some of the items; others are gifts from family and friends.

Manchester’s Soroptimists have responded to an appeal from New Hope, India, for woolly hats for children. The charity cares for orphans, leprosy sufferers and society’s ‘outcasts’. Night-time temperatures can plummet – hence the need for hats.

SI Crosby focussed on children’s learning at a local primary school by funding laptops for home use. These enabled children to keep up with lessons, maintain contact with their teachers and ‘see’ their friends on-screen.

Finally, many shoppers receive supermarket vouchers – but wonder how to put them to good use.  SI Ramsbottom members recommend liaising with local Salvation Army corps as to what the vouchers might ‘buy’. The ‘Sally Army’ knows those in need in each community!

Sriya Kulupana, South Lancashire Region’s Programme Action Officer said: “ It is heartening to hear how Soroptimists have stayed active over the past difficult months.

“Each project – however simple it appears – really does make a difference. That is just what Soroptimism is all about!”