Top to Toe Members’ Health Event on Zoom – by us for us – Members working together for our Club What a wonderful evening – we are so lucky to have these three experts in our Club who shared their knowledge and skill with us over Zoom on Mon 14 Sep. A great way to kick off our new Club Autumn “term”! Sarah Lichman – The Eyes have it! Eye Health: common conditions in ladies of a certain age! Our first presentation of the evening was from Sarah who is a retired optometrist – she said that developing her presentation for the evening had reminded her how much she had loved her work. She led us though the importance of caring for our eyes and how to do it. She showed diagrams on the screen to show us the eye in detail – see a Zoom
This year our annual August Club Outing was to Meru in Kenya – virtually of course! We went to Kithoka Amani Children’s Home (KACH) a program of International Peace Initiatives www.ipeacei.org in Meru Kenya After introducing everyone to the charity’s founder, Dr Karambu Ringera, we showed this 3 minute video from the kids at KACH – please click and be inspired! Presentation – with vibrant photographs – please click on the orange link here: 2020 KACH 11th Anniv Virtual Tour Dr Karambu Ringera (pictured here and bottom row left on the Zoom screen shot from the visit) took us through this presentation of photographs which marks the 11th Anniversary of KACH. On the call were Soroptimists from around the world as well as many of the staff and kids from KACH. There were 11 Members of SI St Albans and District, 4 Soroptimists from the
At the end of June Soroptimist Club Members met Liz Perry, one of the Managers of the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge www.sahwr.org.uk on Zoom. SAHWR provides specialist domestic abuse support services in our area. The full report is below. Liz was able to thank us for our donation of tea, coffee etc (see the photo). Normally when me meet face to face we are able to bring our donations of tea and coffee to Club meetings, but in the current circumstances we agreed to purchase a good supply from a wholesaler. Liz always says there is no situation in the Refuge that can’t be improved by a sit down with a cup of tea. Liz was also able to inform us about a new 5 bedroom refuge opening in September in Hemel Hempstead. Jean Eaton, our Club liaison with the refuge put out
At our Club Meeting on Zoom on 27 July Members were delighted to welcome back Orla Fawcett to report back from her Project Trust 1 year assignment in Nepal. Orla, is pictured 6th from the left in this photo with garlands to thank her at the end of her assignment. She talked us though the photos in her presentation – please click on this link to view: Orla Fawcett – My Year in Nepal Orla wrote a Blog in the year she was away – you can read it here – orlanepal.blogspot.com/ click on “More Posts” at the bottom of the blog to read more. Orla was living and working in a school in Harpe, in the foothills of Annapurna mountains. She told us how life was hard but happy. She lived with a mother and her child, and another volunteer and they became her
The St Albans Soroptimists organised an event for Louise Caplin to demonstrate her ‘Spice Way’ of Life for 45 people online on Zoom on Monday 13th July – and it was “souper”! Louise took us on a live creative cookery adventure using the power of herbs and spices to enhance health and well being. Louise is pictured above getting set up for the demo with her husband, and sous chef for the evening, Adam. Louise is also on the top line of the Zoom group screen shot below. There were 45 people and you can see the group giving a thumbs up for Louise here! Louise would normally run demonstrations for smaller groups in the Spice Way shop so this was a first and we were all delighted by how well it went! The menu for the evening was – gazpacho, frittata, noodles with aubergine,
Jen Tiller, Breathing Coach – Helping People Heal and Thrive One Breath at a Time #SoroptimistsinLockdown This event is one of a series of events organised by Soroptimist International St Albans and District focused on wellbeing. As we come through the COVID-19 crisis it is really important that we all stay as well as we can, so that we can enjoy our lives to the full when we move into the new normal… Messages of thanks came pouring in during and after the Zoom event on Monday 22 June hosted by Soroptimist International St Albans and District “Thank you so much for organising the Zoom session. I enjoyed seeing you all very much and thought Jen’s presentation was absolutely excellent – just what I need at the moment and shall follow it up.” “I thought that was a really informative session – found it very
Finding Health and Happiness in a world struck by fear – the L.I.F.E.S.T.Y.L.E. FIRST method – with Dr Alka Patel, GP, Health Coach and Lifestyle Medicine Physician On Monday 8 June the St Albans Soroptimist Club hosted their first Zoom fundraising event and it was a big hit! #SoroptimistsinLockdown This event is one of a series of events organised by Soroptimist International St Albans and District focused on wellbeing. As we come through the COVID-19 crisis it is really important that we all stay as well as we can, so that we can enjoy our lives to the full when we move into the new normal… Dr Alka Patel delivered her presentation to almost 80 people – helping them to understand her 10 key dimensions of health and simple steps to take every day to prevent, reduce and reverse ill health. We had lots of
Club Year 2020-2021 – Shared Presidents and Lockdown The Club has six Members sharing the role of President for this Club year 2020/21 May to Aug – Katherine Clark and Sarah Lichman Sep to Dec – Denise Powell and Ameeta Sabharwal Jan to Apr – Barbara Saunders and Jane Slatter They are all shown on the screen shot here from our first Club Zoom meeting on 18 May – please see the image to see how well Club Members are getting to grips with using new technology during the COVID-19 Lockdown. The Club Programme is on the website www.sigbi.org/st-albans/club-programme it includes virtual meetings on Zoom until we are able to meet again face to face. The Club’s AGM was cancelled this year due to COVID-19 – an event where our Members would have said thanks to the outgoing President Katherine Clark, celebrated all of our achievements in the year
Supporting each other, sharing our challenges and successes On Monday 18 May the Club held its first Virtual Club Meeting on Zoom – SISTAs in Lockdown. One Member said, and everyone agreed, it was “super”! 16 Members attended – plus the Club’s mascot Sally Bear (of course!). One Member who isn’t online joined by telephone. Katherine and Sarah ran the meeting really well and we made some decisions about making additional donations to three local charities close to our hearts who are really in need of financial support at the moment – Home-Start Herts, the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge and the Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline. Everyone on the call shared their experiences of lockdown – challenges and successes. There were some shared experiences – positive and negative. Most Members agreed that it the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown feels like a roller coaster ride
On Monday 27 Jan we heard from Steve Pike, Joint Project Leader Earthworks St Albans, the local charity that provides “Horticultural training for those with learning disabilities” and also from Andy Scott, Head of Watling View School St Albans , the special school for pupils with a wide range of complex and profound learning difficulties. In the above photo l to r are Barbara Saunders, Steve Pike, Andy Scott and Debbie Tankard. Barbara and Debbie are in the Club’s Learning Opportunities Team – the group that arranged the event for the Club. Steve Pike has worked for Earthworks for 15 years following a stint volunteering there while he was a student in Hatfield. The Club has helped this worthwhile charity over many years. Steve spoke passionately about Earthworks – The Natural Place to Grow having shown a short film made by the Earthworkers who benefit
St Albans Soroptimists Denise Powell, Debbie Tankard and Jane Slatter volunteered again this year to take part in St Albans Girls School (STAGS) “Big Interview day” for year 11 (GCSE year) students. As part of the careers programme at St Albans Girls’ School, they offer a mock interview to every year 11 student on a day called “The Big Interview”. Each student has a half hour interview based on CV’s they have prepared in school and receive verbal and written feedback. Ellen McHugh, Assistant Head Teacher, Student Leadership and Enterprise said in an email to the volunteers after the event: “A HUGE thank you from everyone at STAGS for your support on Tuesday for the Year 11 Big Interview Day and for giving so generously of your time. The students have found your feedback very helpful and many
Pictured here are St Albans Soroptimist baristas Janet Audley-Charles, Joan WIlliams, Denise Powell, Barbara Saunders with John Powell, our Member Denise Powell’s husband, who completed the team on the 10 Jan. It was a busy Saturday morning at Wesley’s Cafe High Street, Harpenden – and the team served up plenty of teas/coffees and yummy cakes. Coffee mornings at the Wesley Coffee Shop are a great way for us to swell the coffers for our Club’s charities – this time we raised £100! to share between St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge and Herts Rape Crisis We’ll be doing it again Sat 7 March so do come and support us – and you can drop to Wesley’s on any day – see the website for more www.highstreetmethodist.org.uk/wesleys/
Eva Obeng brings colour and insight to Club Members on a wintry night in St Albans Having been born in Ghana and come to the UK at the age of 16 with her father, Eva embodied the spirit of Soroptimists as she talked passionately about her desire to help and support women in Ghana to become entrepreneurs. She purchases beautiful, well-made and brightly coloured handbags, rucksacks, purses, handmade baskets and shea butter from women in Ghana and sells it for them at local markets including Enfield and St Albans under her trading name of Akra Home Interiors. She spoke about a poignant visit to Ghana to bury her father during which she visited some of her producers and talked with young women about how social attitudes are changing. There is a national policy of education for all, and TV programmes now question traditional stereotypes. Hard-working
Watling View School for pupils with profound learning difficulties had a Christmas Stall on St Albans Market again this year on Wed 11 Dec. Students from the school made and prepared plants and crafts as Christmas gifts to sell to raise funds for the school. Barbara Saunders (pictured looking very festive) and Debbie Tankard (photographer) helped staff and pupils on the stall. The young people were able to engage with members of the public and to gain practical experience of selling items which they had previously made. The stall made over £120 which is the best ever � To learn more about the work of Watling View School please come along to our Soroptimist Club Speaker meeting on 27 Jan at 8pm click on this link to find out more www.sigbi.org/st-albans/club-programme/
Motivational speaker Dr Kathy Weston gave a packed-house some brilliant tips and strategies to help families raise resilient girls when she delivered her inspirational talk on Monday 25 Nov at Townsend School St Albans. The talk covered the current state of girls’ mental health, how in this “age of anxiety” it must to be talked about and managed. Kathy explained the mechanics of resilience and how families can give girls the confidence to thrive. The role of digital technology was detailed and the harm from social media undermining children’s views of themselves. There were a few great questions from the floor and then most of the audience left the room almost reeling from the volume of useful information they had received and still processing what they had heard. All attendees will receive a copy of Kathy’s inspiring presentation. Please scroll through the photos below to get a
Wow – that was a busy evening! On Mon 11 Nov we had speakers from OWCH Older Women’s Co-Housing, reports back from the Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland Conference in Bournemouth and Soroptimist International London Chilterns Region, a bottle sale for Toilet Twinning to mark World Toilet Day, Christmas gifts for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge plus some Club business too! First off we heard from Charlotte Balazs (in the pic right) and Vivien Sheehan (in the pic centre) about OWCH Older Womens Co-housing for over 50’s www.owch.org.uk. They showed the excellent video on their website (13 mins) called Senior Co-housing The Way We Do It which explained how it works. Ann Beatty (in the pic left), one of our Members, invited Charlotte and Vivien to tell us about because they all live at the OWCH New Ground Co-housing in Barnet. Our Members asked lots of
Five Members of Soroptimist International St Albans and District attended the annual Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) Conference this year in 24-26 Oct in Bournemouth – they are pictured here from l to r Becca Powell, Denise Powell, Ann Beatty, Ameeta Sabharwal, Jane Slatter (plus the Club’s mascot Sally Bear). To read the reports on each of the sessions see the Conference website www.sigbi.org/bournemouth2019 then click on the Friday and Saturday sessions using the additional menu options for the difference sessions of the day either at the side or at the top. To get a feel for how much our Club Members enjoyed the experience please click through the photo slideshow below. There would have been seven of us but sadly two of our Members were unable to attend at the last minute. The theme was #ThinkOnIt and included some inspiring and
St Peter’s Church has recently refurbished their toilets and installed a new disabled one. Reverand Mark Dearnley, Vicar of St Peter’s and Natalie Liley, Churchwarden are pictured standing in the new disabled toilet holding the twinning certificates. They had seen the news item in the Herts Ad in August and so it seemed the perfect opportunity to join the Soroptimist International St Albans and District “St Albans Toilet Twinned City” campaign. For each paired toilet a donation of £60 was made to the Toilet Twinning Charity www.toilettwinning.org The charity funds projects to help build basic toilets and provide access to clean water in poor communities, maintaining a focus on the importance of hygiene education and community-led action in the improvement of sanitation – “flushing away poverty one loo at a time”. Jane Slatter from the St Albans Soroptimists said “we started this project on World
Three Soroptimist sisters from our Friendship Link in Warsaw visited us for the weekend of 18-21 Oct. It was a joy for us to entertain Jola, Malgosia and Danusia for this cultural exchange where we all learn more about one another’s countries and lives. Friendship Link visits are at the heart of the Soroptimist objective of “international goodwill and understanding” dating back to 1921. Please click through the photographs in the slideshow below: After arriving at Luton airport on Friday afternoon our guests dined “royally” at the Kings Lodge in Hunton Bridge (the building dates back to 1642) with their three hostesses for the weekend Barbara Saunders, Sarah Lichman and Jane Slatter. Saturday was a day in St Albans with a walk through Verulamium Park, a guided tour of St Albans Cathedral, lunch in the Waterend Barn (another 17th century building), market shopping and a
For World Mental Health Day our Members wore green to mark the special day #SoroptimistsThinkOnIt We had an excellent talk from Pam and Kathy from Herts Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre www.hertsrapecrisis.org.uk The talk is summarised below. Our Members and guests had many questions for them and the answers are included in the text below. After Pam and Kathy, Ruth Farenga from Mindful Pathway www.mindfulpathway.co.uk demonstrated Mindfulness in Practice – more about this below Pam and Kathy’s talk. Herts Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre – Pam talked to us about the early days of the centre which had been set up in a small room in Ware In 1986. Originally it was a telephone service only but counsellors would go out to the homes of victims in pairs. This still continues and nowadays the centre has twelve trained women counsellors, all volunteers, one part time admin assistant and one part time
While St Albans Club Member Helen Byrne and her husband Ian were in Japan for the Rugby World Cup they decided to pay a visit to our Friendship Link Club SI Osaka. Helen sent an email from Japan to report that they had an amazing day with Keiko Kato and 7 other Members of SI Osaka on Sunday 13 Oct. Helen said “They treated us royally … of which I will tell you more on my return when I will also share the pictures we took. In the meantime I thought you might like to see the attached picture of Ian and I with Keiko Kato (current Club President) and Suiran U (on the left – our new contact as Chairlady of International Goodwill and Understanding). The lovely ladies I met send their regards to all at SI St Albans especially Midori who also attended
It’s always a great start to a Club Meeting when we get to welcome a new Member! Bev Keech (see pic in the centre with Club President Kat Clark left) was introduced to the Club by Janet Tansley (right) who will be her mentor. She was given a welcome pack with badge and was welcomed by all of the Members. Janet and Bev first met when their sons were at school and remained friends. Bev teaches Alexander Technique after a career in which she spent time in the theatre and training race horses and polo ponies. She looks really thrilled to join the Club – what a great photo! Irma Mullins (pictured here with Club President Kat Clark) came to tell us about the New Leaf Wellbeing College which was conceived in 2014. The College works with Herts Partnership Trust and Secondary Mental Health Services.
One of the benefits of being a Soroptimist is having a massive family of sisters all over the world strengthened by Friendship Links between Clubs. SI St Albans and District has four Friendship Links – click on this page to find out more www.sigbi.org/st-albans/about-our-club/club-friendship-links/ This lovely “travelogue” below, by our Member Jean Eaton, is about the Club’s recent visit to our Friendship Link in Muenster www.soroptimist-international-muenster.de : Four St Albans Soroptimists – Sarah Lichman, Janet Audley-Charles, Janet Tansley and I – plus three husbands piled into a taxi to Luton and after a short flight delay it wasn’t long before we were being met at Dortmund by Muenster Soroptimists Irmgard Klotz and Olga Felix. Later we met at the lovely home of Sabine Schiller-Lerg for drinks and a buffet supper. It was great to be in her lovely garden and later in the evening in
On Wednesday 21 August four Members of the Club visited the New Maynard Gallery in Welwyn Garden City. President Katherine Clark is a Trustee of the gallery. Katherine showed Amanda Brown, Sarah Lichman and Jane Slatter the display space available for exhibitors. They enjoyed seeing the paintings and ceramic pieces being shown by the three artists Jo Gold, Kerry Brown and Sarah Merry (many are on sale at reasonable prices too) and had a very nice lunch. All agreed it was well worth a visit whenever they are in the area to see what is on show in the gallery and visit the excellent cafe too.
While England’s men were battling it out in the final of the Cricket World Cup in June, St Albans Soroptimists Helen Byrne and Barbara Saunders (pictured here either side of the team with Helen on the left and Barbara on the right) were at Knebworth Cricket Club, supporting the under 14 girls playing their League final for the Audrey Collins Cup and Shield. after a summer of hard-fought matches. This season has been successful with regular matches at local clubs and several Festivals for the enthusiastic girls. The final was played in good spirits between St Albans and Bishop’s Stortford but St Albans had the competitive edge and won the match. There was lots of enthusiasm and skill on display from both teams, but good length bowling from the Bishop Stortford girls gave St Albans batters a chance to hit out, find the boundaries and
Three Members of Soroptimist International St Albans and District, the local branch of the global women’s organisation, were delighted to present Sub Dean Abi Thompson with four framed Toilet Twinning Certificates for the new toilets at St Albans Cathedral. Pictured here in the hand washing area of the lovely new loos with Abi are, l to r, Jane Slatter, Jean Eaton and Barbara Saunders. By donating £60 to the Toilet Twinning Charity to twin each of the toilets, it helps fund a project in a poor community that will enable families to build a basic toilet, have access to clean water and learn about hygiene – a vital combination that saves lives. Often girls can’t go to school because of lack of toilets, a situation that Members of Soroptimist International all over the world are working to address. Myanmar, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Zambia were
Jenny Scotland from Harpenden, one of our student volunteers, has now graduated from Bristol University. Jenny came to our Club Meeting to reported back on her ICYE Inter-Cultural Youth Exchange 2 month project in Bolivia last year. Before she went the Club gave her a donation of £40 and she promised to come back and tell us about it. Jenny is pictured here with Club President Katherine Clark. Jenny’s presentation is available to download here Jenny Scotland Volunteering in Bolivia The charity she was working for is called Alalay and helps the street children from Santa Cruz in Bolivia. She worked in a cabana in a rural area with 1 permanent member of staff supporting 11 girls aged 6-17 all with very different needs. She lived with a host family to immerse herself in Bolivian life and was able to visit the city of Santa
On the hottest day of the year attendees of the Soroptimist International London Chilterns Region Conference had their thoughts provoked by two inspirational speakers Janet Fyle MBE Policy Adviser at the Royal College of Midwives www.rcm.org.uk/promoting/professional-practice/violence-women-girls/ and Ruby Raut CEO and Co-founder of WUKA Periodwear www.wuka.co.uk/pages/about The focus this year on mental health #SoroptimistThinkOnIt was covered by both of these speakers. They spoke about the impact on women and girls’ mental health from the taboos around having children and menstruation. The physical abuse of female genital mutilation (FGM) covered by Janet has serious mental health effects too. The topics covered at this conference show yet again that Soroptimists are not afraid to tackle difficult subjects. The title of Janet’s presentation was – The hidden harms – she split it into 2 parts – Mental Health – its effects on women and families from pregnancy to post birth and FGM – its physical and psychological impact throughout
On Monday 24 June Brigid Brennan, Chair of the Harpenden Child Contact Centre HCCC www.harpendenchildcontactcentre.org.uk visited us to tell us about the services they provide. A Child Contact Centre is a safe, friendly and neutral place where children from separated families can spend time with one or both parents, and sometimes other family members. It is a child-centred environment that puts the needs of the children first. The HCCC is an accredited Member of the National Association of Child Contact Centres www.naccc.org.uk “Keeping children in touch with parents following separation” – there are around 350 Contact Centres in England. The key to the success of the arrangements is to facilitate the building of trust between children and their parents – the HCCC was set up 12 years ago because of the understanding of the importance for a child to have a relationship with both parents.
We had a really inspiring and enjoyable Club Meeting on Monday 10 June. Mary Moran was officially welcomed to the Club. Mary is a poet, she moved to St Albans from the US many years ago and her family were originally from Syria. She is an interesting and talented woman with a passion to end violence against women and for the support and education of women and girls. We know Mary will be a real asset to our Club. We were able to get to know Mary a little better later in the evening when she read some of her thought-provoking poems to us. Mary is pictured here on the right laughing with President Katherine Clark as she accepts the hand (paw) of Soroptimist friendship from the Club’s mascot Sally Bear. Our speaker for the evening was our new Member Ann Beatty, who joined the
Pictured here are St Albans Soroptimist baristas Jean Eaton, Janet Audley-Charles and Joan WIlliams with John Powell, our Member Denise Powell’s husband, who completed the team on the 1 June. Joan Williams and Wesleys have both been nominated in the Mums Guide to Harpenden Awards – voting opens Sat 8 June and closes on Fri 21 June – just click here www.mumsguideto.co.uk/harpenden/awards.php Coffee mornings at the Wesley Coffee Shop are a great way for us to swell the coffers for our Club’s charities – this time we raised a tasty £75 for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge We’ll be doing it again so watch this space and you can drop in any day for Coffee/Tea and Yummy Cakes at Wesley’s Cafe High Street, Harpenden – www.highstreetmethodist.org.uk/wesleys/
On Monday 13 May we were delighted to welcome Alisha Mirza back to the Club to report on her trip with ICS International Citizen Service www.volunteerics.org to Kamachumu in Tanzania. To see Alisha’s presentation, which includes lots of wonderful photographs of her experiences, please download by clicking here Alisha Mirza Volunteer Tanzania SI presentation Alisha Mirza, 23 and a marine biology graduate from Welwyn Garden City is going to start her training as a midwife at KCL from this September. The ICS work with VSO to send volunteers from the UK to work on overseas projects. Last September we were able to send Alisha off with £92 towards the £800 she had to raise to part-fund the 10 week trip to work on “Rise Income for School” which is part of the mission for a “world without poverty”. While Alisha was there, she stayed with
Members of Soroptimist International St Albans and District enjoyed a lively Annual General Meeting in April. The AGM marked the end of the Club’s 62nd year, and the start of the Club’s 63rd year. The event was a celebration of President Linda’s excellent year and a look forward to a new year with the latest Club President Katherine Clark (Katherine is pictured here in the Club’s regalia). All the Officers of the Club gave their reports which can be found in the Members’ Area of this website, Linda went through the busy Club year – as an aide-memoir just scroll down through the Club News on this website. Our new President Katherine addressed the Club as President for the first time – please see Katherine’s message on this web page: www.sigbi.org/st-albans/president The Club was sorry to say goodbye to Christine Farringdon who has decided to retire
The St Albans Soroptimists held a celebration on 8 April in support of girls’ cricket in Hertfordshire, The Club’s support for girls’ cricket is a legacy of their late Member Audrey Collins OBE who died in 2010. Audrey was an inspirational Soroptimist – a pioneer of Women’s cricket and a trail blazer for women. Please read more about the legacy project here : www.sigbi.org/st-albans/charities/cricket/ During the evening we heard back first-hand from the young women who went to the first ever County Ladies tour to Sri Lanka last autumn. Our sponsorship included kit bags (one is in the photo) so that the team looked professional at all times – there is more about the tour on the website www.sigbi.org/st-albans-and-district/2018/cricket-tour/ Supporting women and girls sport is really important for mental health and personal development – clearly demonstrated by the attitude and determination of the girls and young women involved in
The Club was delighted to welcome Katie Waite to their meeting. Katie is from Girlguiding Hertfordshire and runs a Girl Guide group in Radlett. She is fundraising to attend the World Scout Jamboree for 3 weeks in West Virginia USA 22 July www.2019wsj.org please take a look at the website it looks amazing! The World Scout Jamboree is an educational event that brings together the world’s Scouts to promote peace and mutual understanding and to develop leadership and life skills. They are expecting 50,000 guides and scouts from around the world! Katie was selected as one of the leaders for the trip from Hertfordshire who are taking a group of 40 children. Each place costs £4000 which has to be raised by each individual. The Club gave Katie a cheque from the Club for £40. Katie is pictured above receiving her cheque from Club President Linda
The Soroptimist annual quiz night was a great event as always! We raised close to £750 for the St Albans & Hertsmere and Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuges plus charities providing learning opportunities for women and girls. Well done to the winning team – it was a close result! Thanks so much to everyone who came along on Sat 23 March and made it such a winner! Special thanks, of course, must also go to all of our Club Members and supporters who worked hard on the night to ensure the event was so much fun.
Soroptimist International St Albans and District Club Members are proud to announce that the Club won the St Albans Mayor’s Pride Award 2019 in the Voluntary Sector category. The first picture is of the three finalists (Soroptimist Jane Slatter is on the right), with the Mayor, Councillor Rosemary Farmer at the front. The other finalists in the Voluntary Sector were the St Albans Museum Volunteers and the SAlbans Helping the Homeless Group. We could hardly believe it when we won because the other finalists would have been truly worthy winners. Barbara Saunders Secretary, Jane Slatter Communications Officer and Kat Clark President-Elect are pictured here at the beginning of the event at St Michael’s Manor, before the awards were announced. They all agreed it was a wonderful evening and brilliant to be recognised for the work Club Members have been doing in St Albans and District since
St Albans Soroptimists Kat Clark and Jane Slatter were delighted to attend the St Albans Girls’ School International Women’s Day Inspiring Women Careers Event for Year 8 and Year 12 Students. These girls all have a great future – we hope we helped to inspire them! Soroptimists have been participating in this annual event since it’s inception. Thanks to STAGS for the montage image.
Are women their own worst enemy? an International Women’s Day debate… The panel and audience discussed the question: Are Women their own worst enemy? the answer: yes and no – it’s complicated! St Albans Soroptimists and sponsors, *The Talent Keeper Specialists held a lively debate with an expert panel. The event was broadcast live and is available as a podcast from www.radioverulam.com/show/the-parents-show/ listen again to 7 March at 8pm Please click on the link below to scroll through photographs from the event. [new_royalslider id=”14″] We were delighted to welcome the Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Councillor Rosemary Farmer to the event. Animated discussions covered: equality, women and employability, domestic abuse, health, societal and media pressure on women and how women experience the criminal justice system. The event was chaired by The Thinking Woman’s Coach, *Dr Jessica Chivers and the panelists
The St Albans Pancake Race in aid of HomeStart Herts was a great success! Seven Soroptimist volunteers (pictured here) helped with the registration on the day. To find out more about the event please see the website pancake.events Amanda Brown (Soroptimist group pic left) organised the St Albans Soroptimist volunteer crew. Suzy Moody, Strategic Manager for Home-Start Herts, sent an email to Amanda saying “a massive thank you to you and your volunteers for your support on Tuesday. We really couldn’t have done it without you all. I hope that you enjoyed the day, it was a great success with £1800 raised!” Denise Powell (far right in the group pic) said afterwards “it was a great event, enjoyed by participants, spectators and helpers alike”. Well done to everyone – it stayed dry but it was seriously chilly!
It is always a great Club evening when it is our pleasure to welcome new Members. The 11 Feb was twice as good because Pauline Swindells and Ann Beatty both joined the Club at the same time! Pictured here (l to r) are Club Officer Denise Powell, Pauline Swindells, Membership Officer Amanda Brown and Ann Beatty – we hope Pauline and Ann will enjoy their Membership and know that they have a lot to offer to the Club and the wider Soroptimist community. Pauline has a lot of experience working with victims of domestic abuse, and Ann is the CEO of the Steve Sinnott foundation. At the same meeting Club Members approved the proposals for end of year donations to various charities. These charities included Electric Umbrella which was explained on the night – it is “A collaboration of professional musicians and adults with learning disabilities;
Following Soroptimist International St Albans and District World Toilet Day event last year (please see the web page for more about it www.sigbi.org/st-albans/2018/toilet18/ ) we have been able to present St Albans Museum and Gallery with another Toilet Twinning certificate so now both of the ground floor toilets have been twinned – one is twinned with Afghanistan and the other with Zambia. Caroline Eldred, Trustee of St Albans Museum and Gallery is pictured here in one of the loos receiving the Toilet Twinning Certicates from Soroptimist Communications Officer Jane Slatter on her left and Past Club President Rita Andrews on her right. NB: we did get some funny looks having our picture taken in the loo – and we had to move out of the way a few times – these loos are very popular! Thanks to the Herts Advertiser for running our story: www.hertsad.co.uk/news/st-albans-museum-gallery-toilets-twinned-with-loos-in-afghanistan-and-zambia-1-5894359 We are planning
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
Four Soroptimists volunteered this year to take part in St Albans Girls School (STAGS) “Big Interview day” for year 11 (GCSE year) students. Pictured here are Barbara Saunders and Amanda Brown. Debbie Tankard and Jane Slatter were also conducting parallel interviews. As part of the careers programme at St Albans Girls’ School, they offer a mock interview to every year 11 student on a day called “The Big Interview”. Each student has a half hour interview based on CV’s they have prepared in school and receive verbal and written feedback. The event has been running the for the past 6 years, and it is very well received by students, for some of whom it is their first interview experience. Soroptimists have been involved for the last 4 years and have found meeting the girls a real inspiration – a win win for everyone involved!
Pictured here are St Albans Soroptimist baristas Janet-Audley-Charles, Judith Kenyon, Helen Byrne and Joan WIlliams. Coffee mornings at the Wesley Coffee Shop are a great way for us to swell the coffers for our Club’s charities – on 12 Jan we raised a fabulous £85!! for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge and the Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuge We’ll be doing it again on 1 June between 10am and 12.30 so please drop in for Coffee and Yummy Cakes at Wesley’s Cafe High Street, Harpenden – www.highstreetmethodist.org.uk/wesleys/
In November our Club signed up for EasyFundraising please see the SIGBI website for more info www.sigbi.org/members/clubs/easyfundraising/ When the Club signed up were were entered into a prize draw and St Albans & District Soroptimists were the lucky winners of £100 to spend with Amazon! We decided to spend all of the money on pants! 114 pairs for women and girls – see the screen-shots below. The Club already supports a charity called SmallsforAll and has collected loads of gently worn bras but needed to send more pants (in packets) with their donations see the Club website for more information www.sigbi.org/st-albans/charities/bras/ On hearing the news about winning the prize Club Secretary Barbara Saunders said to Easyfundraising “This is fantastic news! I was initially a bit suspicious about easyfundraising – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is – or so the warnings go! But this has been
Members from Soroptimist Clubs in the London Chilterns Region and their guests attended a moving Human Rights Day event on Saturday 15th December. Five Members of SI St Albans and District attended – please see the photograph here with Janet Audley-Charles at the front left, Jane Slatter behind Janet, then left to right around the table are Sarah Lichman, Denise Powell (daughter Becca and Member of SI Lewisham and SE London) and Helen Byrne. 2018 marked 70 years since the signing of the United Nations declaration of Human Rights www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/ One of our traditions to celebrate Human Rights Day is to light candles in recognition of the work of Soroptimists and women around the world in striving to ensure that the human rights of women and children are protected everywhere. The introduction to the declaration was made by Regional Officer Joanna Swift, SI Aylesbury
Our Soroptimist elves have been busy again buying and wrapping up personal Christmas gifts for the women at the St Albans and Hertsmere and the Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuges. Santa’s got a right sackful here! We know the women are thrilled at Christmas to know that we’re thinking about them and we hope it brings them a little bit of Christmas cheer and hope for a happy new year!
We hope we gave the St Albans commuters a bit of Christmas cheer with our annual Soroptimist carol singing on Mon 3 Dec at St Albans City Station. We collected a much-needed £380 for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge and the Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuge. We were joined again this year by a very festive Jules the dog who encouraged donations by making sure he got lots of strokes as people went by! One commuter said “thanks for what you’re doing to support the refuges – you sound great!” This year we were recorded on quite a few smart phones and some children just had to join in by singing and dancing with us which was great fun! Funding cuts and increased demand mean that Refuges need additional funding now more than ever before. Thanks to the Herts Advertiser for covering our story www.hertsad.co.uk/news/st-albans-soroptimists-carol-singing-1-5813657 This event is timed
This year Watling View School for pupils with profound learning difficulties have had a Christmas Stall on Wednesdays for 5 weeks from 14 Nov to 12 Dec on St Albans Market 10am to 2pm. Students from the school made and prepared plants and crafts as Christmas gifts to sell to raise funds for the school. Staff and volunteers from the St Albans Soroptimist Club helped the pupils and staff with the stall. The weather wasn’t very kind to us and sales were slow but it has been a great experience for the students to learn about making things and selling them and it hasn’t stopped us singing on the stall and having a bit of Christmas fun! Thanks to the The Herts Advertiser for this lovely photo and item in the paper www.hertsad.co.uk/news/watling-view-school-christmas-1-5798721