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Refuges, Life Talk, Blankets, Birthday – what a busy Club Open Evening!

On Monday 28 Jan we were thrilled to be able to make donations to the St Albans and Hertsmere and the Welwyn Hatfield women’s refuges. Sara and Liz from SAHWR are pictured to the right of President Linda with a cheque for £1000. Unfortunately Dee from WHWR was not able to join us for the evening so her cheque has been sent separately. Liz and Sara gave us an update on what has been happening with the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge since they last visited us. They said we have supported for so many years now as our “annual” Club charity that they almost feel like part of the furniture! The services of the Refuges are now contracted to the larger organisation “Safer Places” which has been a big change for everyone to get used to (and which will be due for renewal in 2020). Liz and Sara were pleased to report that even though there have been so many changes the service they provide to victims and their families has not been affected, which we know is down to their commitment and hard work. The changes mean that they are only able to support medium and high risk clients. They told us a couple of stories about their clients to help us to understand their work and allow us to be completely amazed by what they do. Their “Triple R – Recognition, Recovery and Resilience” training programmes for victims continue to work well in helping victims to break the cycle of abuse. Liz and Sara were able to report, on behalf of Dee, that the Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuge is doing fine and that the monitoring of their contract is positive. Liz and Sara sent us a thank you letter which is available to download here – they must have written it as soon as they got back! Thank You Letter from STAHWR Jan 19 “It was lovely to see you on Monday and as always receive such a warm welcome. Once again, on behalf of the Management Committee, managers, staff and residents, a very big thank you to the members of Soroptimist International [St Albans], for the most generous cheque of £1,000 towards the work of the refuge. Please pass on our appreciation to all concerned and tell them that their kindness in continuing to support our project makes an enormous difference to the lives of so many of our residents and their children.”

Next on the agenda was our Member and Past President Rita Andrews who gave us a “life talk” – a fascinating insight into the twists and turns of her life that have made her the wonderful woman we all know her to be today. Life never turns out quite how you expect it to does it?

The Club Meeting was listed as an “open evening”, and as such we had lots of guests. We had plenty of time for talking over refreshments – catching up with friends, finding out about the Club, and each other. Club Member Jane Slatter chose the evening to celebrate her “big” birthday with everyone so we had the added bonus of cake and a glass of fizz!

The final picture here is of the two blankets that have been made by our Members for ‘Blankets for the Homeless St Albans & Hertfordshire’ “part of a national movement that allows knitters and crocheters of all abilities to create blanket squares – or entire blankets – for rough sleepers – we dropped the blankets off to Emmaus Hertfordshire stores. We still have enough squares for 1 more blanket. Some of the creators are pictured here (l to r) Amanda Brown, Rita Andrews, Jane Slatter, Sarah Lichman and Denise Powell. There have been quite a few sessions where Members have got together for a “knit in” – using creating the blanket as a good excuse to catch up over a coffee with wide ranging topics being discussed at the same time!

What a busy open evening and what a lovely friendly atmosphere – it was a pleasure to spend an evening with such a great group of women.