Soroptimists from South Lancashire’s clubs joined Regional President Sue Underwood for the annual ‘chain gang’ lunch. The event enables Soroptimists who will soon be taking up leadership roles to meet the regional team as well as their ‘chain gang’ colleagues in other clubs. Guest speaker was Sue Williams, the President of Soroptimist International, Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI). Sue spoke engagingly about her Soroptimist journey. It was clear that, whenever a volunteer has been needed in her club or region, Sue has been willing to have a go. Building on these experiences she took on roles within SIGBI – and thus on to President. The challenge for Sue’s listeners – and all Soroptimists – is to take an active (and proactive) role in club life. If Soroptimists are to ‘transform the lives of women and girls’, members must all be willing to put forward ideas,
Guest speaker at SI South Lancashire’s autumn Programme Action meeting was George Thomas. No stranger to Soroptimists, George gave an update on Life NoW. This is a north-west-based charity focussing on young adults who have life-limiting conditions. The charity’s work is evolving but the core mission is to enable the young adults and their families to live life now. Congratulations were in order for Yvonne Gibbon, the Region’s Programme Action Officer. At the recent Federation Conference in Liverpool Yvonne was elected the Assistant Programme Director (Education) for Soroptimist International, GB & Ireland. Congratulations, too, to SI Manchester who scooped the Best Practice Award (Economic Empowerment) at the Conference for the Club’s HEAL Malawi project. At the Regional Council meeting, newly-installed President Sue Underwood thanked her predecessor, Margaret Davies, for such a busy and productive year. President Sue then outlined her theme: why? when? where? can
A team of ‘Fallen Madonnas’ from SI Liverpool triumphed at a quiz night organised by members of their neighbouring Soroptimist club, SI Crosby. The event, themed on a certain café in wartime France, featured sketches, songs (from Madame Edith La Corneille accompanied by Mademoiselle Ann LePlinqueplonque), a hidden painting and a fine buffet, as well as the quiz. Off-duty German officers, plus a gendarme with an atrocious French accent, made the occasional appearance. Anne Grimes, Sue Woods and Mary Andrews (with crest-Fallen Madonna, Danny Grimes), tackled rounds that included ‘pseudonyms’ and ‘general ignorance’, read in impeccable English by Geneviève La Rue of the Resistance. Madame Sheila from the local Mairie (aka SI Crosby’s President) congratulated the winning team as well as thanking her own club members for all their hard work. Proceeds from the event will go to Sefton Young Carers. Anne said, “We had
Soroptimists in Leigh and the surrounding area are acting as local co-ordinators for The Red Box Project. This is an expanding nationwide community initiative. It provides free sanitary items, aiming to ensure that no young woman misses school because she has her period. There are red boxes in all seven local high schools; and the Pelican Swimming Centre in Tyldesley has put in a request for one. ‘Period poverty’ is an emotive – and serious – issue. SI Leigh & District’s next aim will be to place red boxes in junior schools and sports clubs. Success depends on sustainability. The Soroptimists have already placed a donation box in Morrisons supermarket, and agreed three more donation points. This will help maintain the supply of sanitary products on an ongoing basis. This project relies on community kindness – all donations go to help those girls who struggle on
At the end of my presidential year – a chance to look back. Our 15 Soroptimist clubs in South Lancashire have continued to work passionately to improve the lives of women and girls during the last 12 months. For me it has been ‘eye opening’ joining clubs for their annual charter celebrations and seeing the work which they have been supporting for many years, as well as their new projects. I have always been made welcome, and I have enjoyed the company of members at their lunches and dinners. Four clubs had a wonderful afternoon tea to jointly celebrate their 80 years of Soroptimism – Bolton, Bootle, Crosby and Stockport. The Meru Garden project in Kenya, which started in 2016 and will continue until November 2019, has developed hugely to help women and girls understand how they can grow their own crops. This is a
Congratulations to Sue Underwood who was installed as Regional President of South Lancashire at the Soroptimist International, GB & Ireland (SIGBI) conference in Liverpool. Sue is a member of SI Manchester. The photo shows Sue (right) with Federation President Sue Williams and outgoing Regional President Margaret Davies. Manchester Soroptimists had an extra reason for celebrating at the conference. The club received the SIGBI best practice award for Economic Empowerment. It was given for long-term work in partnership with Act4Africa on the HEAL Malawi project. SI Manchester’s President Barbara Blaber (right) accepted the award on behalf of all her members.
A sudden downpour of rain? It by no means dampened enthusiasm on bowls finals day for South Lancashire’s Soroptimists. With the team trophy already won by SI Leigh & District, there was keen competition for the individual prize. Nineteen bowlers from clubs in Southport, Liverpool, Leigh and Crosby took part in a knockout tournament. Watched by a crowd of spectators from South Lancashire’s clubs, matches were exciting – nail-biting, even – but always friendly. Laughter often rang around the green, out-voiced only by frequent cries of “measure!” whenever vital points needed to be verified by the tape-wielders. The three-way final took place between Dorothy Bowker (SI Leigh & District), Sandy Taylor and Yvonne Atkinson (both SI Crosby). It was a tense and well-contested match, with Yvonne eventually winning by just one point. Margaret Davies, Regional President, was on hand to present the trophies. To SI
Three Soroptimist clubs in South Lancashire showcased their project work at a recent regional Programme Action meeting. SI Ashton-under-Lyne members have a ring-pull project, in partnership with the Purple Community Fund. The charity offers people in the Philippines and the UK a pathway out of poverty through a social enterprise that turns the ring-pulls into jewellery and other saleable items. Members calculate they have, so far, collected over 55,000 drinks-can ring-pulls. Local publicity, personal contacts and market stalls – all have been used to ‘spread the word’ and gather in more ring-pulls. SI Bolton has taken part in a local project to provide packed lunches during the summer holidays for school children in families where finances are particularly vulnerable. Members worked on the rota to fulfil a total of 43,000 packed lunches over the summer. This service initiative was one of several that the club
Members of SI Leigh & District had a busy summer promoting Soroptimism at two community events. Undertaking the stewarding role for the annual Leigh Carnival involved organising over 20 groups into the planned order. In glorious weather club members wore new royal blue Soroptimist shirts whilst walking in the procession. Other members staffed a publicity stand, complete with a Toilet Twinning ‘Wishing Well’ fundraiser – which amused visitors. The event provided the opportunity to publicise the club’s forthcoming Woman Zone event. Woman Zone? An event to inform women and girls in the local area about the range of services and facilities that are available. It enabled nearly 30 organisations to showcase their role in the community. Leigh Soroptimists faced many organisational challenges in the run-up to the event. These included liaising with the Council, contacting local groups, checking health and safety arrangements, and securing catering
Four Soroptimist clubs in South Lancashire Region have each celebrated their 80th anniversary this year. That’s a total of 320 years of women-centred service by countless members of Bolton, Bootle, Crosby and Stockport clubs. Today’s club members marked this special ‘birthday’ with an afternoon tea at Haydock Park Golf Club. The event was organised by SI Bolton, and hosted by Margaret Davies, SI South Lancashire’s regional president. The party included members from the ‘mother’ clubs, SI Manchester and SI Liverpool. In the dark days before World War II women in these two pioneering clubs had spread word of Soroptimist International’s achievements and had founded these four new clubs.