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President’s message

Welcome to another regional year, and what a year the past one has been!

First of all the shock of losing our former President, Barbara Watts, who died suddenly in November 2020, then followed by winter months in lockdown due to the ongoing pandemic so we were delighted to have a face to face regional meeting in July 2021.

Soroptimist International Southern England region numbers nine clubs:- Bournemouth, Epsom, Poole, Salisbury, Solent East, Surrey Hills, Weybridge, Winchester, Woking We look forward to the chartering of SI Sutton in 2022 making a total of ten clubs.

Our regional Centenary Project 2021 of tree planting refers back to Soroptimist International’s founding project of 1921. The project then was to save the magnificent Redwood trees in California which was successfully undertaken by the first club, SI Oakland. With climate change very much a hot topic, tree planting is one way we can all contribute in this centenary year. We have partnered with the South Downs National Park and the Ministry of Defence to do this within the south of England region.

My theme for the year remains ‘In charity there is no excess’. This gives us the opportunity to be magnanimous in all that we do and I know that as far as charity goes, Soroptimists have it in spades.

Through our project work we hope to encourage and welcome more women to join us and support what we do – an increasing membership ensures that the Soroptimist message is spread worldwide.

We are proud of our pioneering project ‘Volunteering in Pretoria’ (VIP) which is managed in partnership with South African Soroptimists.   Currently it supports two inspiring young women in their professional training and has recently  been renamed ‘The Barbara Watts VIP Project’ in honour of our former President who initiated the project and which continues to evolve with the support of our generous members in Southern England and delivered by the hardworking Soroptimists in South Africa.

Best wishes,

Julie Blackwell