South Lancashire Region held a Celebration of Soroptimist Service to recognise the diversity, talents and friendships amongst all members. The event – held in Leigh at an Anglican church – had a multi-faith focus. Three Soroptimist ministers from different churches led the service, and members from the Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu faiths gave poignant readings. Almost all the clubs in the Region had at least one member in a participatory role. Diane Mackley (SI Southport) sang Cherubino’s aria ‘Voi Che Sapete’ from Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro; and Eunice Woof (SI Bootle) led a small Soroptimist vocal group to sing the aptly-titled ‘I am a small part of the world’. A collection was taken, part of which will be donated to the Federation’s Meru Women’s Garden Project. Afternoon tea was served by members of SI Leigh & District at the end of the service.
“Our mission is to inspire and empower girls …” Does that sound familiar? That is the mission of The Girls’ Network, a very young UK charity. As Soroptimists we, too, have similar aspirations. Therefore, the guest speaker at the recent Regional Programme Action Meeting, Hayley Misell (Network Manager – Manchester), had a keen-eared audience. The Network addresses the needs of girls who just ‘coast’ along. For so many in the least-advantaged communities there is a gap between girls’ dreams and their expectations. Many of them do not have the self-belief necessary to make the best use of their capabilities. For one year girls are each linked with a mentor, a professional career woman who acts as a positive female role model. This ongoing relationship helps the girls develop in confidence. It opens their eyes to the possibilities – and opportunities – available to them. They
Soroptimist Phyllis Bayley, a building surveyor, has won the National Trust (Northern Region) Award for her garden design at Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire. As project lead for the upper gardens and greenhouse at the mill, she worked in partnership with the head gardener (Sarah Witts) on the ‘Special Places’ project. Phyllis is a member of SI Leigh and District. Several fellow members of the club are volunteers at Quarry Bank transcribing personal papers from the Greg family, who once owned the mill.
Stockport and District Soroptimists have raised funds to refurbish two video interview rooms and waiting rooms for Greater Manchester Police. The facilities (at the Hazel Grove Unit) are for adults and children – victims and witnesses, as well as those accompanying them. For the interview rooms the Soroptimists provided pictures, cushions, small tables and lamps. The aim is to make the rooms user-friendly – to offer a calm and comfortable environment for the victims of crime. Many are feeling especially vulnerable; many have suffered serious assault or domestic violence. The waiting rooms are now fitted out with pictures, cushions and lamps; plus, TV-DVDs and a selection of films suitable for children. Books, toys, games, colouring books and pencils have been added for children, along with magazines and paperbacks for adults. In addition, the Soroptimists have provided crockery and basic supplies. They will replenish the tea,