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Our Meetings and Events in 2016 – 2017

10th April- AGM – Another good year completed!

At our AGM we were fortunate in having all the Officer positions filled and President Sharon in post for another year. We had a frugal meal and profits went to the President’s Project, our last effort for the SOS Buses. Several members were absent, could that be because they wanted to avoid being eye-balled into volunteering for office? Not to worry, we did fill all our positions – thank you volunteers! It looks like another positive year ahead. We reviewed the year with our ‘Year at a Glance’ PowerPoint and updated our Orbit plan – now we’re looking forward and planning the projects ahead. We’re holding an Open Evening in May – invitations are out there but any woman who is interested in coming along, can message us for details. I’ll put them on the website and on Facebook a bit nearer to the time. This is a good time to join – either as a full member or as an Associate. You’ll make some very good friends. Let us know if you’re coming as meals we order, we have to pay for – thanks.

20th March – A Club Evening

A good meeting – good to welcome interested guests who we hope to see again, and lovely to see friends from the Colchester club visiting Southend. Pity about the ‘Year at a Glance’ PowerPoint being left on our communications officer’s desk at home! (I’m just wearing the failure tee-shirt!) However, the PowerPoint of the Gift Box project (taken to the meeting in error!) accompanied by Cathy’s commentary was very well received …. and there’s always the AGM next month for our round-up of the year. Missed our lovely secretary Sharon, hope she’s feeling better soon.

20th February – Programme for Action and Planning!

A good meeting! Programme Action and Planning – just the club members and no speaker, so that we could get down to the business of final plans for our International Women’s Day events. The first is in the Royals on Saturday 4th March – bring along any clean pre-loved bras, we’re collecting for Purple Teardrop. The second is in the Civic Centre – on Wednesday 8th March and the third is at our Regional Meeting in Cambridge on Saturday 11th March. We’ve also got plans to further our YMCA links, following our SOS Buses support this year. Busy time ahead!

16th January – Dementia Awareness

A very interesting meeting, sadly not as well attended as usual due to illness and the weather! Our new member Andrea was presented with her badge, Regional President Alison came along and former member Janet spoke to us about dementia – the facts, the myths, the care and the way forward. Several of us pledged to be dementia supporters and to help someone with dementia or to campaign on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association. A very good evening!

Our December meeting was a Christmas celebration

Our web manager wasn’t able to attend  and everyone was enjoying themselves so much they forgot to take photos!

21st November – Time to Reflect

Lovely to meet up with Sally from Chelmsford, and three of her students tonight. They were interested in how we run the club, and since we had a club discussion and were reflecting on the progress made in our projects and our membership drive, they said it had been very interesting. We had feedback from Conference in Malta and updates on our local, Regional, Federation and International projects. The evening ended with feedback from new (and fairly new) members, who all agreed that it is worth being a Soroptimist – the friendship and involvement are what are most valued but some of their observations gave us food for thought!

 17th October – A Crafty Evening

What a great evening! We had a very talented visitor who gave us a talk about helping women in the Philippines run small businesses making bags etc from can ring pulls and then members were being encouraged to buy! Other members brought along what they make to sell and we had stalls with cakes, bread, jewellery and Christmas cards. This was an Open Meeting, so we welcomed several guests, who all enjoyed the meal, the company and their taste of Soroptimist friendship.

9th September

Good to catch up tonight after no meeting in August. There was lots to report since our July meeting – our Gift Box, the Regional Meeting, radio broadcasts and the Community Event as well as updating members on our projects, the situation regarding the local refuge and the resolutions for Conference. No speaker, but just enough time to hear reminiscences from our longest serving member, Sheila, who joined in 1970! An interesting evening with several guests – we look forward to seeing them all again, next month.

18th July – the problems of debt

Interesting meeting tonight. Gavin Dixon from Kings Money Advice Centre, a local charity that deals with the debt problems of vulnerable families, was our speaker. Describing how families in four identified areas of deprivation in Southend, can find themselves with out-of-control debts that are way beyond budgeting, this free, Christian advice centre will work with clients to ensure they make their payments, and will stand by clients to the conclusion of the problem. With an average household having £2397 in credit card debt and 18 properties repossessed every day, this much needed charity, which is registered with the FCA, can deal with 24 clients at any one time and there is a waiting list. A very sad reflection on how things are for many people – and sadly, ‘there but for fortune’ go any of us. On a lighter note, it was lovely to have Brenda with us. Brenda, a member in New Zealand, is in this country spending time with family and took advantage of the Soroptimists’ ‘friends all around the world’ pledge, to visit our club. She enjoyed her time with us and we enjoyed meeting her. Safe journeys, Brenda!

20th June – President’s Project – SOS buses

Tonight, our speakers, John Bastion and his wife, told us about the fantastic work done by the Southend and Basildon SOS buses. The buses, which are available in the town centre and at Festival Leisure in Basildon, are open for anyone who needs help late at night on Saturdays – a busy time. Volunteers give advice, food, warmth and if needed, flip-flops so that people don’t stagger or get cut by broken glass. Organised and charity funded by this hard-working couple, volunteers are always needed – any age welcome, the oldest volunteer is in her 80s and the youngest are in their late teens.

16th May – Rebranding

Since we are looking at recruitment, Toby Kendrick, a local photographer came along to talk about Rebranding. he had some great ideas and will be taking pictures through the year, to use in our membership campaign! We also welcomed a new member, Tracey – we hope she enjoys her membership. Tracey has been at our meetings for a few months now so is getting to know us all – welcome to the club, Tracey!.

18th April – AGM

Tonight we held our AGM and President Margaret handed over to incoming President Sharon. The meeting was lively and three new members joined us. Sharon said: “Someone once said we’re the best kept secret but we don’t want that image anymore – we want everyone to know what we do and how we make life better for women and girls in the local area and internationally.” Each year the president selects a different charity to support. For Sharon’s year she has chosen the SOS buses in Essex. The SOS buses, situated in Southend and Basildon between 9pm and 4am, provide a safe haven of first aiders, youth and voluntary workers with a selection of drug, alcohol and solvent abuse advisors. The club’s fundraisers for the SOS bus include a ‘crafty evening’ and various social events such as a buffet lunch and afternoon tea. In our regular monthly meetings, the club is looking forward to guest speaker talks about subjects ranging from avoiding debt to supporting children with jigger.