Dogs? Yes, they can be man’s (and woman’s) best friend. At their recent regional meeting Soroptimists in South Lancashire discovered a whole new way in which trained dogs make life-changing differences to people’s health and wellbeing. Anna Prosser, a volunteer ambassador with Dogs for Good explained how the charity trains animals to work with people with disabilities. An assistance dog can enable an adult or child to enjoy greater independence with everyday, practical tasks. Think of opening and closing doors, retrieving items, pressing a pedestrian crossing button – what a difference that help can make. Specialist autism assistance dogs transform the lives of families affected by autism. They help a child remain calm and focused in busy places. There are community dogs who – with their handlers – work with teachers and therapists in special schools. Other community dogs work in health and social care
It is with great sadness that we announce that President Johanna M Raffan MBE passed away on 15 June 2021. Our thoughts are with Johanna’s family at this very sad time. Johanna was elected president of our federation, Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI), in 2020.
South Lancashire’s Soroptimists showed their commitment to campaigning for an inclusive world. At the recent region meeting their hands show that they choose to challenge to highlight gender bias and inequality. On International Women’s Day – and every day – we can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Raise awareness! International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made. It’s a day to call for change; to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women. The United Nations’ agency UN Women campaign theme for 2021 is ‘Women in leadership: achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world’. This theme celebrates the ongoing efforts by women and girls around the world to shape a more equal future. They face the challenges of the pandemic and campaign for equality as the world recovers. From challenge comes change: Soroptimists choose to challenge.
Soroptimists in Bolton were the first in the Region to celebrate their Charter Anniversary – virtually. Newly-installed Region President Josie Carter joined Bolton’s members, and Soroptimists from all over South Lancashire, for a Zoom-call evening. Club President Carole Swarbrick welcomed her special guest, the Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Linda Thomas. The Mayor was delighted to add SI Bolton’s event to her list of ‘virtual’ engagements. She spoke of her belief that organisations such as Soroptimist International send out a powerful message that women can challenge and can achieve. Region President Josie echoed this theme, emphasising the life-changing impact of Soroptimists, whether in Bolton or worldwide. Guest speaker was Andrew Graystone – a self-confessed ‘everyday activist’. He spoke engagingly of his ‘tiny acts of rebellion’ that have propelled him to worldwide media attention. Anecdotes from his book ‘Faith, Hope and Mischief’ were thought-provoking and entertaining. President
In a first for Soroptimist International, Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI), a two-day conference brought 1,000 members to a ‘virtual’ Belfast. Full reports on the keynote speakers, including Lady Hale and Jane Garvey – and all the other events – are on the conference webpages. SI South Lancashire featured in a session on membership. It focused on staying connected and supporting each other during these difficult times. Anne Grimes (Region Membership Officer) contributed a presentation ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ on clubs’ activities including … SIGBI’s Best Practice Awards are given annually for clubs’ service projects. SI Liverpool won the award in the ‘planet’ category, addressing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 6 and 12-15. The change of insignia celebrations saw Yvonne Gibbon bow out after a momentous year as Region President. Leading SI South Lancashire for the next year is Josie Carter of
South Lancashire’s Soroptimists convened recently (via Zoom) for their regular quarterly meetings. Members were delighted to hear that a former local member – June Wilson of SI St Helens – features as ‘one in a hundred’ in a #WhoIsShe? campaign. 2021 sees the centenary of Soroptimist International, our worldwide parent organisation. As part of the commemorations our own Federation (Soroptimist International, Great Britain & Ireland – SIGBI) is documenting the centenary through ‘a bright past’ and ‘a brilliant future’. The contributions to society by one hundred Soroptimists – past and present – are acknowledged. These #WhoIsShe? campaign members have all been nominated by Soroptimist clubs for their noteworthy contribution to society in the furtherance of the aims and objects of the organisation. Her citation shows that June – a trailblazing solicitor – was a Soroptimist from 1955 until her death in 2015. The region –