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Soroptimist Charity Quiz Night
Club’s First Virtual Quiz Night a Triumph!

Club’s First Virtual Quiz Night a Triumph!

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Soroptimist International St Albans & District’s First virtual quiz night was a triumph! Thanks to the generosity of everyone who attended we raised close to £600 for the St Albans & Hertsmere Women’s Refuge plus charities supported by the Club’s projects.   Our Quiz masters Derek and Barbara did a fantastic job and led everyone though 6 rounds of 6 questions with multiple choice answers. After each round of questions Jane took everyone went into the 8 Zoom “breakout rooms”, with the same people for every round to chat about the questions and answers, make new friends and catch up with old friends too. The winners were decided on a tie break. Well done and a massive thanks to everyone who took part in this fun event! It was lovely to receive the following messages from people who attended: “The whole evening was a triumph” “Thank

New Member Louise Marron
New Member at First Meeting of the New Year and Soroptimist Centenary!

New Member at First Meeting of the New Year and Soroptimist Centenary!

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It was great to all be back together, albeit virtually, for our first Club meeting of 2021! We inducted a new Member to our Club and welcomed Regional President Helen Byrne to speak about the 100th Anniversary of Soroptimist International this year.  It was a special evening because we officially welcomed our new member, Louise Marron (pictured here), to our Club and to the worldwide Soroptimist movement. Louise enjoyed attending  Soroptimist meetings and events on Zoom last year and as a result decided to join. She works for the HCF Training and Development (HCF stands for Hertfordshire Community Foundation) and has worked with lots of the local charities that our Club supports. Louise was introduced to us by SI East London through work she was doing for one of the charities they support. Louise said “I have been looking to join an organisation like Soroptimist

Balloons
Virtual Balloons Raced 500kms from the North Pole in a Week!

Virtual Balloons Raced 500kms from the North Pole in a Week!

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This year Soroptimist International St Albans and District  teamed up with the Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline and held a virtual balloon race for their Christmas fundraiser! The event raised about £200 to be split between the  Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline and the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge One of Soroptimist Barbara’s family balloons “Jon the Sherriff” was the winner from our supporters and the family were thrilled to find he had won an Apple iPad!  Soroptimist and our charities’ supporters sponsored 94 balloons and the race included many other participants racing for other worthy causes.  The balloon “Jon the Sherriff” travelled 515.54km and came in second overall – it was the only one of ours that came in the top 100 (1st prize was £500, 2nd prize an Apple iPad and there were 10 £10 book tokens for the runners up). Barbara said “the family

Soroptimist St Albans Gifts for Womens Refuge
Christmas Gifts for Womens Refuge

Christmas Gifts for Womens Refuge

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Our Soroptimist elves have been busy again buying and wrapping up personal Christmas gifts for the women at the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge. 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! Soroptimist Jean Eaton kindly agreed to be the collection point for the gifts this year. Members were also able to drop off donations of tea, coffee etc for the women’s refuge  (see the photo). Normally when me meet face to face we are able to bring our donations of tea and coffee to Club meetings, so this was a good solution. Someone from the Refuge then came and collected everything. Liz Perry on the Refuge managers says “there is no situation

Soroptimist Tree Planting National Tree Week
National Tree Week – Soroptimists Planting Trees for Centennial

National Tree Week – Soroptimists Planting Trees for Centennial

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St Albans Soroptimists Planet Team will be mobilising the Club to “Plant Trees for a Brilliant Future” in 2021 to celebrate a century of work transforming the lives of women and girls across the globe. Even though Soroptimists can’t meet in person yet, National Tree Week is a great time for #PlantTrees planning. Many Soroptimists have already made a positive impact on nature by planting trees – read their stories here https://bit.ly/30cRIM9. We are using the time to plan our tree planting in 2021 in partnership with St Albans Friends of the Earth www.stalbansfoe.org And joining in the Tree Council’s free programme of cultural events for National Tree Week 2020 #TreelyConnected www.treecouncil.org.uk/take-action/seasonal-campaigns/national-tree-week/join-our-free-national-tree-week-arts-culture-events Why not join us? It is time to:  Wake Up    Take Notice    Raise our voices    Build Back Better for People and Planet Soroptimists Plant Trees for a Brilliant Future #PlantTrees

Soroptimist St Albans Museum Orange the World for 16 Days of Activism
St Albans Museum Turns Orange for Action Against Gender Based Violence

St Albans Museum Turns Orange for Action Against Gender Based Violence

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St Albans Museum and Gallery has turned orange standing with the St Albans Soroptimists for women everywhere 25 Nov marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women the start of #16daysofactivisim #orangetheworld for Zero Tolerance against Gender Based Violence International Day for the  #GenerationEquality  www.un.org/en/observances/ending-violence-against-women-day Thanks to the museum and St Albans City and District Council for making this happen for the first time! It will remain orange until Monday 30 Nov when it will change to Christmas colours. Thanks also to Maya Derrick at the Herts Advertiser for covering the news and raising awareness of the campaign www.hertsad.co.uk/news/museum-orange-for-action-against-gender-based-violence-1-6946806

Domestic Abuse Traveller Film
Screening of Film About Domestic Abuse in Traveller Community for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

Screening of Film About Domestic Abuse in Traveller Community for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

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Never Going to Beat You – a powerful new film about Domestic Abuse in the Traveller Community To mark the United Nations 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence , Jude Tisdall presented the brilliant new 1 hour film about domestic abuse in the traveller community called “Never Going to Beat You”. The film was followed by a Q&A on Zoom. This event was organised by Soroptimist International St Albans and District. Jude Tisdall has been a trustee of Giants Theatre Company for many years and is a supporter of the work of The Travellers Movement. She is an educator and arts consultant and is passionate about enabling young people to realise their potential through education in its broadest sense. For more information and resources go to: www.travellermovement.org.uk/advocacy-support/woman-girls/domestic-violence-and-sexual-abuse-project Soroptimists Denise Powell and Ann Beatty welcomed and introduced the event. Jude Tisdall spoke of the six

SIGBI President Johanna Raffan
9 Nov Club Meeting – welcome to SIGBI President Johanna Raffan and feedback from SIGBI Conference

9 Nov Club Meeting – welcome to SIGBI President Johanna Raffan and feedback from SIGBI Conference

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Our special guest speaker at our meeting on Zoom on 9 Nov was the new SIGBI President Johanna Raffan MBE. Johanna is a Member of the Thames Valley Club in the same Region as us – London Chilterns Region. We were really proud when we heard that this was Johanna’s first public engagement since becoming President! Please scroll down to read a brief biography about Johanna. Johanna talked to us first about her passion for education – her career leading to her MBE and how important we all know it is as Soroptimists and a key UN Sustainable Development Goal SDG4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all After that she spoke to us about the reason behind her theme for 2020-21 – “We Stand Up for Women – Believe to Achieve” – the purple and gold colours

Herts Area Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre
Club Cuppa and £1000 Donation to Herts Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre

Club Cuppa and £1000 Donation to Herts Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre

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On the afternoon of Mon 2 Nov nine Soroptimist St Albans Members got together on Zoom for a “cuppa”. We were delighted that Cathy Freeman from Herts Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre www.hertsrapecrisis.org.uk was able to join us so we could officially “handover” the £1000 we raised for the charity over the last year. Cathy said “That’s wonderful – thankyou so much! I can’t tell you how much it’s appreciated. In Lockdown we have had to buy 6 laptops! The women will be grateful too.” Fundraising for the £1000 included singing Christmas carols at St Albans Station, coffee mornings at Wesley Cafe in Harpenden and a Health Event on Zoom www.sigbi.org/st-albans-and-district/2020/breathe Cathy gave us an update on what’s been happening to the charity during COVID-19.  Counselling has been carried out online, the volume of referrals for counselling have been about the same as before the pandemic

Sovel Cunningham
Inspiring poetry and spoken word event with Sovel Cunningham

Inspiring poetry and spoken word event with Sovel Cunningham

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On an Autumn October evening we found “space to unwind the mind” thanks to the inspirational Sovel Cunningham who took us on a journey – “Just being me” – a poetry & spoken word event on Zoom. This was scheduled as a social event for Club Members – and in “normal” times we would have probably held an event in the hall where we meet or gone out for a meal together. We began with the Soroptimist Vision and Mission, read by Vathsala, which always focuses our minds at the start of an evening. Soroptimist Vision Women and girls will achieve their individual and collective potential, realise aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong, peaceful communities worldwide. Soroptimist Mission Soroptimists transform the lives and status of women and girls through education, empowerment and enabling opportunities. Sovel Cunningham is a poet. She began by

Liz Tillett United Nations
Action Packed Club evening – the United Nations, Positive Periods and Womens Cricket

Action Packed Club evening – the United Nations, Positive Periods and Womens Cricket

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Wow – what an action packed Club evening we had on Zoom on Mon 12 October! First up was Club Member Liz Tillett with “Fun and Games at the UN” Liz spoke about her experience negotiating at the United Nations (UN) in New York on behalf of the UK government. Liz led a short quiz to get everyone’s brains in gear – click here to view Liz Tillett UNQuiz Liz’s career led her to working at the UN – negotiating for the UK on UN disability policies. Liz was lucky enough to meet the incumbent US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on her birthday (sadly we are not permitted to use that photo). Liz explained some of the complexity of our political system and why change is so difficult. She was rightly very proud of the disability group that ensured that disabilities are

Soroptimist London Chilterns Region President Helen Byrne
St Albans Soroptimists Lead the Region Two Years Running

St Albans Soroptimists Lead the Region Two Years Running

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Congratulations to Helen Byrne who has become the new President of Soroptimist International London Chilterns Region www.sigbi.org/london-chilterns Helen Byrne, pictured here, has been an active Member of Soroptimist International St Albans and District since 2008 and is a past Club President, Membership Officer and is currently facilitator of the Club’s Planet Team which focuses on environment projects. Helen said “I am humbled to be Regional President, especially in 2020-21 the Centenary Year of Soroptimist International. We have achieved so much and yet there is still so much to do. Hence my theme ‘Celebrate the Past, Create the Future’. ” Helen takes over from the Regional President 2019-2020, Denise Powell, who is also an active Member of the St Albans Soroptimist Club – having served as President, Secretary, Programme Action Officer,  currently sharing the Club Presidency with five other Members and facilitator of the Peace Team which

Build Back Better Letter Handover Daisy Cooper MP Chris Allen Kate Swindells Helen Byrne Soroptimist
St Albans Soroptimists Support Build Back Better Movement and Deliver Open Letter to MP

St Albans Soroptimists Support Build Back Better Movement and Deliver Open Letter to MP

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Chris Allen, Founder of Build Back Better St Albans approached Helen Byrne from Soroptimist International St Albans and District asking us to sign an open letter to Daisy Cooper, MP for St Albans. The photo was taken on 8 Oct with Chris Allen and Daisy at the front. At the back left is Kate Swindells and at the back right is Helen Byrne (Jane Slatter took the photo). Build Back Better wants to see a programme which protects public services, tackles inequality in our communities, provides secure well-paid jobs and creates a shockproof economy which can fight the climate crisis. You can click here to read the letter Build Back Better Letter to MP Helen Byrne said “As a non political organisation working to transform the lives of women and girls we are fully supportive of Build Back Better’s aims. We are only too aware

Mandy McNeil St Albans Club Zoom 28 Sep
Survivor of 9/11 speaks to Club to mark the International Day of Peace

Survivor of 9/11 speaks to Club to mark the International Day of Peace

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Mandy McNeil joined our Club Meeting on Zoom to mark the International Day of Peace. Mandy spoke candidly about her life and her experience as a 9/11 Survivor from the World Trade Centre in New York. Club Members were moved and lost for words by Mandy’s powerful testimony. Mandy is originally from New Zealand and from 2000 to 2004 was working for the largest global insurance company called Marsh which had offices across Manhattan including the 99th floor of the World Trade Centre where Mandy worked. On the 11 Sep 2001 Mandy remembers it was a beautiful day when she tried to get to work but was unable to get into the building because everyone was leaving but she had no idea what was happening. She got to a place where she could look back at the building and saw first hand the devastating images

Hertfordshire Ladies win the Inaugural Soroptimist East of England Ladies County Championship Trophy

Hertfordshire Ladies win the Inaugural Soroptimist East of England Ladies County Championship Trophy

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On a chilly Sunday 27th September member Helen Byrne attended Knebworth Cricket Club to present the Inaugural Soroptimist East of England Ladies T40 County Championship Trophy. The presentations were made at the end of the day: Inaugural Soroptimist County Championship Trophy – Hertfordshire. Kezia Hassall collected the trophy on behalf of Hertfordshire Ladies. Kezia takes over from Amy Price (who is now training to be a PE Teacher at the Univ of Herts) as Captain of the Ladies team for both the T20 and the T40 format games for next season. Success in the Inaugural year of the Championship was very equitable with the Best Batter and Bowler Trophies for the T40 competition going to players from the other 2 Counties – Norfolk and Huntingdonshire (presented at a later date). The T20 competition trophy went to Buckinghamshire Before the presentation the final two matches of

Sarah Lichman Eyes
Top to Toe Health – Club Evening – By Us for Us

Top to Toe Health – Club Evening – By Us for Us

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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

Zoom Soroptimist St Albans Kenya Outing KACH IPI
Vibrant Virtual Club Outing to Meru Kenya

Vibrant Virtual Club Outing to Meru Kenya

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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

Donations of household items for new womens refuge
St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge Support Update

St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge Support Update

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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

SoroptimiOrla Fawcett Nepal Project Trust
Club Meeting – Orla Fawcett’s Year in Nepal with Project Trust

Club Meeting – Orla Fawcett’s Year in Nepal with Project Trust

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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

Louise Caplin Spice Way
Souper Soroptimist Spice Way of Life with Louise Caplin on Zoom!

Souper Soroptimist Spice Way of Life with Louise Caplin on Zoom!

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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,

Praise for Zoom Event with Breathing Coach Jen Tiller

Praise for Zoom Event with Breathing Coach Jen Tiller

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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

Dr Alka Patel LIFESTYLE FIRST
Soroptimist Zoom Health Event a Big Hit

Soroptimist Zoom Health Event a Big Hit

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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

President Katherine Clark with picture gift
Club Year 2020-2021 – Shared Presidents and Lockdown

Club Year 2020-2021 – Shared Presidents and Lockdown

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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

Soroptimist St Albans Lockdown Zoom Meeting
SISTAs in Lockdown – Zoom Virtual Club Meeting was Super

SISTAs in Lockdown – Zoom Virtual Club Meeting was Super

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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

Earthworks Steve Pike Soroptimist Barbara Saunders
Earthworks and Watling View School in one inspiring evening!

Earthworks and Watling View School in one inspiring evening!

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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

Soroptimists at the St Albans Girls School Big Interview Day

Soroptimists at the St Albans Girls School Big Interview Day

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              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

Refuge and Rape Crisis supported by customers at Wesley Coffee Shop

Refuge and Rape Crisis supported by customers at Wesley Coffee Shop

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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/

Great start to the new Club year with Eva Obeng introducing women and products from Ghana

Great start to the new Club year with Eva Obeng introducing women and products from Ghana

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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

Soroptimists Help Watling View School Christmas Market Stall

Soroptimists Help Watling View School Christmas Market Stall

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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/

Inspiring Evening Reveals How To Raise Resilient Girls

Inspiring Evening Reveals How To Raise Resilient Girls

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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

Co-Housing, World Toilet Day, Refuge Gifts and more…

Co-Housing, World Toilet Day, Refuge Gifts and more…

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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

Inspirational Soroptimist Conference in Bournemouth

Inspirational Soroptimist Conference in Bournemouth

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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

Five new Toilet Twinned Loos in St Peter’s Church St Albans

Five new Toilet Twinned Loos in St Peter’s Church St Albans

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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

Warsaw Soroptimist Sisters Visit St Albans

Warsaw Soroptimist Sisters Visit St Albans

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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

Herts Rape Crisis and Mindfulness for World Mental Health Day

Herts Rape Crisis and Mindfulness for World Mental Health Day

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For World Mental Health Day our Members wore green to mark the special day #SoroptimistsThinkOnIt We had an excellent talk from Pam and Cathy 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 Cathy, 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

Helen Byrne Visits Friendship Link in Osaka

Helen Byrne Visits Friendship Link in Osaka

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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

Club Welcomes New Member and Learns About New Leaf Wellbeing College

Club Welcomes New Member and Learns About New Leaf Wellbeing College

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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.

Fabulous Friendship Link Visit to Muenster

Fabulous Friendship Link Visit to Muenster

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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

Visit to the New Maynard Gallery in Welwyn Garden City

Visit to the New Maynard Gallery in Welwyn Garden City

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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.

Success for St Albans in the Soroptimist Audrey Collins Under 14 Girls Cricket League

Success for St Albans in the Soroptimist Audrey Collins Under 14 Girls Cricket League

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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

Twinning Four New Toilets at St Albans Cathedral – part of the revo-loo-tion

Twinning Four New Toilets at St Albans Cathedral – part of the revo-loo-tion

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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

Student Volunteers Jenny and Sanaya Welcomed to Club Meeting

Student Volunteers Jenny and Sanaya Welcomed to Club Meeting

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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

Hot Soroptimist Womens Conference

Hot Soroptimist Womens Conference

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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

Harpenden Child Contact Centre and Dress a Girl Around the World

Harpenden Child Contact Centre and Dress a Girl Around the World

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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.

New Members and My Other Hat Evening

New Members and My Other Hat Evening

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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

Women’s Refuge supported at Wesley Coffee Shop‏

Women’s Refuge supported at Wesley Coffee Shop‏

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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/

Alisha Mirza, Inspirational ICS Volunteer, reports back from Tanzania

Alisha Mirza, Inspirational ICS Volunteer, reports back from Tanzania

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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

Club Marks 62nd Birthday at AGM

Club Marks 62nd Birthday at AGM

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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

Celebration of Soroptimist Support for Girls Cricket in Hertfordshire

Celebration of Soroptimist Support for Girls Cricket in Hertfordshire

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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

Katie Waite Fundraising to attend the World Scout Jamboree in USA

Katie Waite Fundraising to attend the World Scout Jamboree in USA

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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