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Dogs, Disability and Devotion

Dogs, Disability and Devotion

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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

Soroptimists Showcase Autism Support

Soroptimists Showcase Autism Support

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Learning and development – empowering children with autism and associated neurodevelopmental conditions. This was the theme of South Lancashire Region’s recent ‘virtual’ Programme Action (PA) meeting. The Soroptimists heard from Vanda Reeves of Addvanced Solutions Community Network. This organisation offers community-based programmes aimed at supporting families in Merseyside and beyond. Understanding individual needs, and managing day-to-day challenges are central to the work. Vanda worked through the complexities of ‘autism’, highlighting key features of the condition and the wide-ranging nature of the ‘spectrum’. There is so much overlap. Sensory processing deficit and its implications is, for example, a complex topic. To hear that eight senses – including some from inside the body - need to be considered was a revelation to most. Yet Vanda enabled her audience to grasp the basics of this condition. The Soroptimists’ personal accounts and questions brought the morning session to a
International Women’s Day 2021

International Women’s Day 2021

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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.

Eyes, Ovaries, Diamonds

Eyes, Ovaries, Diamonds

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Soroptimists from all over South Lancashire Region joined members of the Widnes club for their annual speaker event. First on the 'Zoom' podium was Gwyneth Millard from Wigan Rotary Club. She explained about Rotary International's own project ‘Global Sight Solutions’. This addresses the plight of millions of people who suffer from 'avoidable blindness'. The geographical focus of the work is India, with plans in hand for expansion. Run as a charity through partnerships between Rotary clubs and the communities 'on the ground', it offers free eyecare. People with cataracts and glaucoma, for example, receive appropriate high quality treatment locally. These local facilities are 'seeded' through the Rotary network but are managed within the community. The second speaker, Siobhan Ferguson, is a trustee of the ‘Dianne Oxberry Trust’. This charity exists to raise awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms. The message is aimed at women across north-west
Soroptimist with regalia photo
Projects, Photos – and Pyjamas

Projects, Photos – and Pyjamas

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South Lancashire’s Soroptimists met together ‘virtually’ for Josie Carter’s first session in her year as the Region’s President. Sriya Kulupana (Programme Action Officer) highlighted the ethical search engine Ecosia. Its business model is to give away most of its profits from advertising revenue to enable trees to be planted around the world. Clubs may want to promote this to their members as an ‘environment’ initiative. SI Liverpool described their award-winning project ‘Urban green-up – nature-based solutions’. The club is committed to continuing this until 2022. Members will link with more university research students, plus local community groups such as the Friends of Princes Park L8. Partnerships between Soroptimist clubs and community organisations also featured in other reports. SI Leigh & District, for example, are planning seasonal gifts for staff in local care homes and hospice. SI South Lancashire : President's regalia Crosby’s Soroptimists have funded
On-Screen Charter Celebration

On-Screen Charter Celebration

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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

Soroptimists go ‘Virtual’ at Conference

Soroptimists go ‘Virtual’ at Conference

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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

Soroptimist is ‘One in a Hundred’

Soroptimist is ‘One in a Hundred’

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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 –