Programme Action is at the heart of Soroptimist activities. Here are some examples of projects being implemented by Clubs in the Southern England Region.
SI Epsom & District focus on Domestic Abuse……….
SI Epsom and District have concentrated their efforts during the pandemic on supporting and raising awareness about domestic abuse. This time in particular has shown a sharp increase in domestic abuse in the UK and globally. The Club’s use of Zoom as well as social media have both helped to raise awareness about three domestic abuse charities: True Honour East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services (ESDAS) and Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid (RBWA)
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been three virtual fundraising events- A Taste of Spice- Homemade Punjabi Cooking, From Stress to De-Stress- a virtual wellbeing session and The Big Heart Quiz. These were widely promoted on flyers and through social media which had links to the Club website. Once on the Club website, viewers were able to register and donate using an Eventbrite link – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/d/online/events/
All funds raised were split between the three charities.
Speakers have also attended Club meetings held on Zoom – Dr Clive Driscoll, Deputy Chair for True Honour, spoke about Modern Day Slavery and Michelle Blunsom MBE, ESDAS CEO, spoke about domestic abuse during lockdown and the services they provide for survivors and their families.
The 16 Days of Activism 25 Nov – 10 Dec 2020 was another opportunity to raise awareness through sharing posts that the three charities were sending out on social media as well as the daily SIGBI messages. An Orange the World Poster was designed containing information about the 16 Days and a Youtube video presentation was produced, highlighting stories and case studies from survivors which reached a wide audience on social media.
In the Autumn, toys were donated to RBWA which were placed in their Play Therapy room. At Christmas, the Club donated presents to ESDAS through a Secret Santa and responded to an urgent appeal from RBWA for self-care gifts for survivors living in refuges. Club members donated through an Amazon wish list.
The Club sent letters to MPs( Letter to MP)and Ministers (Letter to Minister ) requesting their support for the Domestic Abuse Bill to include the offence of non-fatal strangulation. The Club also responded to the Region’s request of writing letters to Baronesses with reference to amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill which was read in the House of Lords at the beginning of January. As a result of this, some Club members attended a UK Parliament workshop and several members have now formed a Lobbying Group which will continue to focus on domestic abuse issues as well as other matters arising that require letters to be written to MPs, Ministers and Peers.
SI Salisbury are very busy with their projects……………
SI Salisbury have a number of projects running in the club and encourage every member to get involved in at least one of them. In January the Club held a project planning meeting to review current projects and to discuss what new ones might be started.
On International Women’s Day in March 2020 the Club launched Her Salisbury Story , a Heritage Lottery Fund supported project which aims to bring Salisbury’s heritage alive through the celebration of the lives of Salisbury’s women past and present.
In addition to the research and interviewing activities currently underway, there is a potential map for a themed walk, involvement with schools and a writing competition in the summer. Around 12-13 club members are involved in the project so this is a significant commitment for the club as a whole.
On 16 March 2020 the final judging and award ceremony of the Salisbury Soroptimist STEM Challenge took place at the South Wilts University Technical College, Wilton Road, Salisbury. The annual competition for 2021 has been cancelled because of school closures. Schools are being contacted to see if a careers event in the summer term would be helpful. Contacts for female professionals in STEM careers who might be interested in such an event are being sought.
SI Salisbury’s annual quiz night in November in 2020 raised some £1000, enabling the Club to continue to support the Salisbury Women’s Refuge and local charity EdUKaid. The charity has set up a girls’ club in Tanzania as part of the Heshima Project menstrual health programme with the aim of educating and empowering girls to improve their life chances. The next quiz is likely to be in October/November, either in person or remotely and there is a small team of members in place to run this.
SI Salisbury are again collecting pre-loved bras for distribution to women in Africa through Smalls for All. Wearing a bra gives a woman dignity and can protect her from rape and sexual assault. Members will sort, fold and pack the bras collected for transportation to the charity at a fun ‘Bras and Bubbly’ event in the summer once we are able to meet again!
SI Bournemouth: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
SI Bournemouth have kindly made available information for other clubs on how to organise a STEM Challenge. The information is here:
SI Poole: Purple Teardrop Campaign
In preparation for the 2015 Glasgow Conference, SI Poole prepared a leaflet documenting key facts about the Purple Teardrop Campaign. The booklet can be downloaded here:
SI Poole: Loves Me, Loves Me Not Bookmarks
SI Poole has been making bookmarks available for some time, in order to help raise awareness of some key relationship issues. The bookmarks give the signs of healthy relationships, and also those which may at first appear healthy, but then lead to violence and/or to grooming for illicit sex.
We now have two bookmarks available. The first version is offered as part of the Purple Teardrop Campaign materials and is available from the campaign website here.
The new healthy relationship bookmark is available direct from SI Poole, and the order form can be found here, along with a lesson plan that schools can download and use or adapt to meet their needs. This bookmark is aimed primarily at students from age 14 onward, although it can also be given to adults.
We welcome feedback about how the bookmarks are used, and also about the design and wording, with suggestions for future improvements.