The two guest speakers at South Lancashire Region’s autumn Programme Action meeting highlighted Manchester’s ongoing efforts to tackle organised crime, including modern day slavery. Vicky Charles (local authority lead) and John Egerton (Greater Manchester Police) spoke about ‘Programme Challenger’. This is a multi-disciplinary response model, combining specialised services (social work, probation, the NHS, licensed gangmasters, community safety, immigration, etc) with local partners such as charities and the Salvation Army. Modern day slavery includes trafficking for sexual / labour exploitation, domestic servitude and cannabis cultivation. Industries where workers are enslaved include agriculture, food processing and construction. ‘Challenger’ offers a wider approach than traditional crime-focussed policing. Long before it reaches police attention modern slavery in the community is, for example, likely to be an issue for health and education specialists. (It is estimated that every fourth victim is a child.) Therefore information-sharing via a response network fosters
South Lancashire’s Soroptimists travelled to Glagow for a double celebration at the 81st Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI) Conference. Not only did they ‘wave in’ their new Regional President, Sandy Taylor (SI Crosby) with red roses – but they welcomed Margaret Emsley (SI Ashton under Lyne) as the Federation President with a similar flourish. [new_royalslider id=”8″] Over 1,200 members and guests from 26 countries across the Federation came together for the ‘Delivering the Difference’ Conference at the Clyde Auditorium (SECC). Keynote speakers included Dame Stella Rimington (author and former Director General of MI5), Jo Fairley (co-founder of Green & Black’s organic chocolate), Sarah Montague (radio and TV journalist), Andrew Bevan (International Justice Mission UK) and Olivia Giles (founder of the Scottish charity 500 Miles). A highlight of the conference was the visit of Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, who spoke about the work of Save the Children. A full
Margaret Molyneux, Programme Action Officer, SI South Lancashire and two Soroptimists from the Manchester Club attended the recent Modern Day Slavery (MDS) Summit in Manchester. This was the start of a ‘week of action’ organised by Greater Manchester Police (GMP). Over 180 delegates from the statutory and voluntary sectors attended. They heard from many speakers including NSPCC personnel who provided MDS case studies. There were also round table discussions; plus DVDs of anonomised trafficked victims and of Police officers investigating alleged MDS activities. Tony Lloyd, Mayor and Police & Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester, set the scene and spoke of the dilemma of how to protect the trafficked victims when there are huge resource implications. Offer Stern-Weiner, Head of MDS Unit, Home Office, explained how the new MDS law provides tools to allow the Police to act, clarifies sentencing power for the Courts and enables the seizure of
Twenty two past regional presidents of SI South Lancashire met for lunch at Statham Lodge, Lymm. The current postholder, Margaret Baker, hosted the event, which was organised by her predecessor, Victoria Smerdon. The after lunch speaker was Margaret Emsley (Region President 1998-99) who is currently the Federation President-Elect, and due to take on the ‘top job’ at the Federation Conference in Glasgow next month. Charged with presenting something short and sweet, Margaret looked at eminent women from the Region who have preceded her in holding senior positions within Soroptimist International. The international roll of honour includes Dr Elizabeth Hunt and Miss M F Adams of SI Liverpool, Miss B A Burton (SI Manchester), Celia Evans (SI Southport), Kathleen Collin (SI Warrington) and Anne Brian (SI Stockport). Margaret mentioned with affection the late Patricia Fahey (SI Crosby) and Lynn Dunning (SI Ramsbottom), both of whom influenced her Soroptimist
Programme Action Officers from Soroptimist clubs throughout South Lancashire Region converged on Southport for their annual meeting. Guest speaker was Sue Biggs who has just completed her term of office as Federation Programme Director. Drawing on her four years’ experience, Sue spoke in particular about the United Nations’ CSW (Commission on the Status of Women) sessions that she has attended in New York. Our own Federation – Soroptimist International, Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) – has special consultative status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council. This status provides non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as ourselves with access to UN sessions, lobbying opportunities and special events – such as CSW – particularly centred on women. Sue spoke about the emerging emphasis on advocacy for Soroptimist International itself. This will be played out on the global level. She also outlined the 2015-19 eight-point Programme Focus, which will guide practical work ‘on the ground’ by
Regional President Margaret Baker welcomed 33 new Soroptimists to the 2015 celebration lunch. Held every two years, this event focuses on the Region’s recently-joined members and also showcases clubs’ achievements. A fun quiz on all things ‘Soroptimist’ soon got everyone talking. In addition, each table number included a description of one of many famous ‘Margarets’, for everyone to try and identify. The reason? There seems to be a surfeit of regional (and other) officers with the name ‘Margaret’ at the moment. One of these – Federation President Elect, Margaret Emsley – was inspiring and encouraging when she spoke with candour and humour about her own journey from being a ‘new member’ to the impressive role that she is about to take up within our organisation. Regional Programme Action Officer (and Vice President) Margaret Molyneux, read the citation for SI St Helens’ project, before presenting them
Soroptimists in South Lancashire ‘let their hair down’ in aid of charity. Together they presented – for one night only – ‘The S Factor Concert’. Instigator of the concert and the evening’s mistress of ceremonies Margaret Baker, Regional President, took great delight in introducing the following Clubs and their ‘acts’: SI Bury: Lullaby of Broadway SI Bolton: Sisters SI Warrington / SI Ashton under Lyne: Little Red SI Widnes: Memories SI Southport: The Ageing Fairies and To keep my love alive SI Wigan: Poetry Please SI Ramsbottom: Cinderella as never seen before SI Crosby: Rising to the Challenge SI Manchester: A New Breed of Soroptimists SI Bootle: Bootle del Canto SI Liverpool: Boogie Woogie Girls SI Leigh and District: British Belles The Region donated the proceeds from the concert – over £1,400 – to the new International President’s ‘December 10th Appeal’ for 2015-17, ‘Educate to Lead: Nepal’.
Once again South Lancashire’s bowls final meant an exciting day for Soroptimists from all over the Region. The team trophy was on display for the annual event, held this year at Pennington Hall Park, Leigh. Clubs had played matches over the summer season, accumulating points; the overall winner was SI Crosby. On finals day, therefore, attention focussed on individual bowlers. Members from clubs in Widnes, Leigh, Crosby, Liverpool, St.Helens and Southport competed for the Tricia Fahey Trophy. This competition, named in memory of a former Federation President (and member of SI Crosby), is open to non-league bowlers who have won at least one game over the season. Eighteen Soroptimists lined up on the day. After several knock-out rounds – and some very close games – the final was a three-way tussle between Miriam Lucy, Joan Spencer (both SI Crosby) and Dorothy Bowker (SI Leigh &
Jenny Vince, President of Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland, was the special guest at SI South Lancashire’s autumn meetings. As the highlight of Programme Action session, she gave a comprehensive roundup of service projects throughout the Federation. The diversity of projects was considerable including human trafficking, welfare of elderly people and women in prison. President Jenny then explained in more detail about one example, the Kori Development Project, Sierra Leone. This award-winning scheme, set up and supported by members of SI Thames Valley, works with the Kori community to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM). Through education, agricultural aid, micro-loans and other means, cultural views are shifting and this practice is slowly declining. Margaret Molyneux, Regional Programme Action Officer, said “Today was special. Firstly, we found out a lot more about the worldwide impact of Soroptimists’ service from someone who has seen so much life-changing work
Several Soroptimists from South Lancashire attended the recent International Convention in Istanbul. President Margaret Baker took the opportunity of meeting up with Kathmandu Soroptimist Dipa Khakurel again. This was an opportunity to hear the latest news from Nepal, in the aftermath of the earthquakes. Margaret Molyneux (Regional Programme Action Officer) contributed to the Convention’s daily blog. This included her impressions of the programme and a little about the networking and information-sharing that is an essential part of any Soroptimist gathering.