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On Your Bike! – in Greater Manchester

On Your Bike! – in Greater Manchester

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Stockport Soroptimists recently welcomed speakers from the charity Blood Bikes Manchester. The volunteer bikers of Blood Bikes Manchester provide out-of-hours transport for blood, vaccines, samples, donor breast milk (for premature babies) and other urgently required medical items. This courier service is used by hospitals, hospices and other healthcare sites. They ride from 7pm to 6am during the week and 24 hours at weekends and bank holidays. Daytime 'mercy missions' may also be undertaken. Deliveries have taken the bikers all over Greater Manchester, and beyond. Whenever and wherever they’re needed the bikers are ‘go’. The volunteers’ service is completely free of charge, thus allowing the NHS to divert funds where there is greater need. The Soroptimists learned that all bikers operate from home, so the charity has no expensive offices to pay for and no paid staff. The volunteers don’t even claim expenses. Blood Bikes depend
No Recourse to Public Funds

No Recourse to Public Funds

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Fleeing domestic abuse – yet migrant women with insecure immigration status may have no refuge. At the Region’s winter meeting South Lancashire’s Soroptimists learned of a young charity tackling this situation. Sriya Kulupana (Programme Action Officer) introduced Becky Barlow and Careen Joseph of ‘Beauty for Ashes Refuges‘. This organisation, based in Manchester, is reaching out to the women and their children. The majority of the women needing support have a spousal visa as they are married to UK citizens. The husbands sponsor them – but where there is domestic abuse the women are not entitled to access a safe house. They are exempt from the protection of the 2021 Domestic Abuse Act. The charity is fundraising to provide a refuge in the Manchester area. It is due to open in early 2023. There are plans for a ’boutique’ model, enabling the women to craft items

Autumn Meetings

Autumn Meetings

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Soroptimists in South Lancashire began their autumn regional meetings in sombre mode. Region President Dorcas Akeju spoke for all when she paid tribute to the late Queen – citing her dedication and service throughout such a long, eventful reign. Members stood in silence to honour Her Majesty’s memory. ——————— At the Programme Action meeting, the Soroptimists welcomed Charlotte Ellwood, a community fundraiser for North West Cancer Research (NWCR). This is an independent charity that concentrates of the cancer needs of people in North West England and North Wales. It has a long history starting with the Friends of Liverpool Radium Institute in 1948. NWCR looks at what is important in the region’s cancer ‘makeup’ and aims to fund appropriate, locally-focussed research. Charlotte spoke of the region’s cancer patterns and how they can differ from the country as a whole. For example, there are over three

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II

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Members of Soroptimist International, South Lancashire, are deeply saddened at the death of Her Majesty the Queen. The Queen dedicated her life to the service of the nation and held fast to that promise. Our thoughts are with her family at this very sad time.

Women Supporting Women

Women Supporting Women

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Soroptimist Regional President Dorcas visited the Refugee Women Connect drop-in centre in Liverpool with a donation of £100. This was generated from SI South Lancashire Region’s auditor who waived her fee for the current year, and from the conference account. Refugee Women Connect provides information, advice and support for female refugees, asylum-seekers, and victims of trafficking – and their children. It is a women-only charity. Services include care for pre- and post-natal women and their babies, mental health support and practical activities. The aim is to help women build a safe life in the UK.

Tackling Gender Inequality

Tackling Gender Inequality

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Soroptimists in South Lancashire focussed on Act 4 Africa at the Region’s Programme Action meeting. SI Manchester members Sue Underwood and Barbara Blaber led an informative session on the charity’s progress. Act 4 Africa currently works in Uganda on tackling gender inequality. In sub-Saharan Africa this inequality impacts women, girls, their families and their communities. Females face violence. Their inferior position in society can leave them powerless and vulnerable. All Act 4 Africa’s projects follow their tried-and-tested HEAL strategy;  Health, Education, Agriculture and Livelihoods. Sue and Barbara described some projects. Health: In Uganda’s Mayuge District a project working with adolescent mothers provided support on mental issues as well as sexual and reproductive health. Covid-19 money was used to fund the creation of a bore-hole to supply water. Education: Only 40% of girls attend primary school and only 15% complete Uganda’s secondary education. Kathy’s Kindergarten provides

break the bias gesture
Break the Bias

Break the Bias

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Celebrate women's achievements. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality. Soroptimists in South Lancashire demonstrated their support for the mission of International Women's Day with a simple gesture. At the recent region meeting members crossed arms to mark the International Women’s Day theme of ‘Break the Bias’. Many wore  purple and pearls. Why? Purple signifies justice and dignity, while the pearls are white to represent purity. International Women's Day (8th March) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Collectively we can all Break the Bias.
International Human Rights Day

International Human Rights Day

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I was delighted to celebrate the international dimension of Soroptimism with two South Lancashire clubs. Firstly, I joined the members of my club (SI Liverpool) to mark International Human Rights Day. It was a bit of a shock to receive a beautiful card and gifts to mark my Presidency from members. Wow! After dinner candles were lit for Soroptimist International, Federations and countries. I was privileged to light one for our own South Lancashire Region. Thank you, sisters, for inviting me, for the lovely gifts – and also for raising money for my daughter’s charity (Breathe Easy Foundation). Secondly, Bootle Soroptimists invited me to a virtual evening to mark International Human Rights Day. Candles were lit; then we enjoyed a quiz, poems and anecdotes from members and guests – plus some music. I really must brush up my quizzing skills! It was a tremendous opportunity

President Dorcas – in the Mediterranean

President Dorcas – in the Mediterranean

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In early December I joined Soroptimists in Southport – via Zoom – for their International Night. The event had a Mediterranean theme with a Mediterranean meal. I could not sample the meal, of course! However, I really did enjoy the talk which was about a train journey to the Island of Cascia. The slides were full of beautiful sceneries with detailed information. Thanks to SI Southport’s  International Committee for making the Zoom link available for me since I could not physically join the members. Read more about President Dorcas’s activities