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Cosima Wiltshire
Mon 22 Jul 7.30pm Zoom – The Online World, A Force for Good…with care

Mon 22 Jul 7.30pm Zoom – The Online World, A Force for Good…with care

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Mon 22 Jul 7.30pm to 9pm on Zoom – our speaker is Cosima Wiltshire. This promises to be a fascinating evening because Cosima will be leading the discussion on the importance of meaningful youth engagement in civil society efforts, and the use of the online world to facilitate it, including the importance of regulating that sphere domestically, supranationally and in the private sector. Cosima’s credentials are impressive. She is 18 years old, and has already been working in digital regulation and the online space for 5 years. For 4 years she has been a Childnet Digital Champion, advocating for the safeguarding of young people on the internet. She has engaged with the UK government during the passage of the Online Safety Act through Parliament though to it becoming law in 2023. Cosima has also worked with the United Nations and numerous third sector organisations to

Soroptimist Gill Clegg Reports Back from her trip to Zambia at the end of 2023

Soroptimist Gill Clegg Reports Back from her trip to Zambia at the end of 2023

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It was great that so many of our Members were able to join us on Mon 8 Jul at our Club Meeting to hear Gill Clegg’s first hand account of her most recent trip to Zambia. She showed us photos which brought what she was telling us to life. Gill started by using maps to show us where Watete in Zambia is. Zambia is a large land-locked African country, bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique. Katete is in the East of Zambia, on the Great East Road, 50 km from the Mozambique border. More text and pictures to be added here soon….. Gill emphasised how happy the people were – breaking into song and dance at every opportunity – just click on the video below to see and hear the women “rock breakers”: You can also click here to read

Soroptimist Orange the World 2023 montage
Soroptimists Orange The World 25 Nov for 16 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women

Soroptimists Orange The World 25 Nov for 16 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women

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Join Soroptimist International St Albans and District Oranging the World and saying NO! to violence against women in 2024 #OrangeTheWorldHerts – Ending Abuse is Everyone’s Business! Mon 25 Nov – Tue 10 Dec Soroptimists Orange The World 2024 – 16 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women. As a bright and optimistic colour, orange represents a future free from the scourge that is violence against women and girls. www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/unite/orange-the-world #OrangetheWorldHerts 2024 – this image above is a montage of photos from the 2023 campaign What will you be doing this year? There is an information pack for everyone who wants to join in: Orange the world 2023 Info pack final  We also produced these two posters, to explain why the campaign. One has an orange background and one has a white background to provide different print options: Orange-the-World-Flyer-Poster-Updated Organisations joining the campaign are the County Council, the

Harpenden Health and Wellbeing Fair and a Picnic in the Chiswell Green Community Garden

Harpenden Health and Wellbeing Fair and a Picnic in the Chiswell Green Community Garden

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It was great for St Albans and District Soroptimist women’s group  to  participate in the Harpenden Library “Health and Wellbeing Fair” promoting “Orange the World” to End Violence Against Women – asking how will Harpenden people, organisations, businesses turn orange for the 16 Days of Activism 25 Nov to 10 Dec? https://sigbi.org/st-albans-and-district/orange-the-world/ Other organisations were The OLLIE Foundation, Age UK Hertfordshire, Communities 1st, Hertfordshire Health Walks, Harpenden Learning For Leisure, Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care Compassionate Cafe, The Harpenden Trust and Pets As Therapy with Lexa the Labradoodle (pictured on the poster).  Jane Slatter and Helen are pictured here on p47 of the 27 June issue  of the St Albans Times with Hannah, a volunteer with the Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline. On Thu 27 Jun the Club had a social event at Chiswell Green Community Garden. The evening was arranged by Helen Byrne and the Planet Team. 

Soroptimist International with St Albans Women's Cricket Team
Soroptimists win over the St Albans Womens Cricket Team

Soroptimists win over the St Albans Womens Cricket Team

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On Monday 10 June we had a lively and interesting evening with 3 members and their coach from the St Albans Cricket Club Women’s Cricket Team.  Our Club sponsors women’s cricket in Hertfordshire as a lasting legacy in memory of our Member Audrey Collins OBE – Audrey was an inspirational past member and teacher at STAGS, who played cricket for England. click here to read more https://sigbi.org/st-albans-and-district/projects/cricket/. See below for a photo of the St Albans Women’s Cricket Team wearing the shirts with our logo. The evening proved to be a great opportunity for the St Albans Cricket Team to find out more about our Club’s projects and for us to hear about the challenges and successes of our local women’s cricket team. Our wonderful visitors told us how they had got into playing cricket and what kept them playing. Then India Newman, the Team

Steve Sinnott Foundation for Education – Celebrating 15 Years of Success

Steve Sinnott Foundation for Education – Celebrating 15 Years of Success

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It was wonderful to hear from Ann Beatty, Chief Executive Officer of the Steve Sinnott Foundation, on Zoom on Tue 28 May. Soroptimist International St Albans and District are proud to have Ann as a Member of the Club.  As the Steve Sinnott Foundation celebrates its 15th year, Ann Beatty gave a presentation and we also heard from one of the Foundation’s Partners in Gambia, Marie Antoinette, who attended on Zoom. They told us about the Foundation’s unique way of working in partnership to support access to education for all. They explained that the education charity develops programmes together with people, and not for them. As a Partner, Marie Antoinette is working on the ground to change the lives of women and girls. We had 22 people on the call, including Foundation Ambassadors Helen Porter from the Winchester Soroptimist Club and our own Ameeta Sabharwal.

Transfer Member Ayushi Kundu with Jane Slatter
Lovely Club Meeting with 90th Birthday Celebrations and a new Member

Lovely Club Meeting with 90th Birthday Celebrations and a new Member

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What a lovely Club meeting we had on Mon 13 April. We welcomed Ayushi Kundu as a new Member of our Club, she has transferred from SI Calcutta. We felt very fortunate to have Joan Williams with us, our longest standing Member who was celebrating her 90th Birthday! We also had a lively discussion with ideas for the Club Programme in the year ahead – you can click here to save the dates in your diaries! sigbi.org/st-albans/club-programme It is always a special event when we officially welcome a new member to our Club. Ayushi has followed her mother’s footsteps into being a Soroptimist and has been a Member of SI Calcutta since 2014. Ayushi describes herself as a “young and passionate Soroptimist, working earnestly to transform the lives of women and girls!” She held the position of Soroptimist International President’s Appeal Coordinator 2019-2021 for the

SISTA AGM 24 New Member Deirdre with Denise and Barbara
Busy AGM – New Member, Refuge Update and Reflections on Another Great Year for the Club

Busy AGM – New Member, Refuge Update and Reflections on Another Great Year for the Club

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On Monday 15th April the Club held its 67th Annual General Meeting. It was held at Cottonmill Community and Cycling Centre. New Member Induction: We were delighted to start the AGM by officially welcoming new Member Deirdre Millar to our Club. Deirdre found out about Soroptimists when Denise Powell asked the choir they are both members of to wear orange for our “Orange the World” campaign last November https://sigbi.org/st-albans-and-district/2023/orange23/ Denise is pictured here left of Deirdre and Barbara Saunders who was leading the meeting is on the right. Most of Deirdre’s working life has been spent in social care in local government, some front line, but mostly Commissioning future services and quality marking services and managing teams of people who do this. Deirdre is looking forward to getting to know Soroptimists and they are looking forward to getting to know her. We are sure that

Charity Quiz Night a Great Success for St Albans Soroptimists

Charity Quiz Night a Great Success for St Albans Soroptimists

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Soroptimist International St Albans and District’s Charity Quiz Night on Sat 23 March was a a great success raising £1150 for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge and other charities supported by the Club. This is always the Club’s last big fundraiser for the Club’s end of year in April so it was brilliant to be so well supported. Barbara Saunders, co-President of the Club was the MC for the evening keeping everyone to time and and keeping scores too. The Quiz Master was Barbara’s husband, Derek Palmer who challenged everyone’s brain cells on the night with some really interesting and varied rounds – all with multiple choice answers meaning that everyone has a chance to answer the questions. Barbara did a brilliant job supporting Derek as well as organising the event. Ian Byrne organised and ran the music round which meant accessing another part

SISTA IWD24 #InspireInclusion
International Women’s Day – an important date in the Soroptimist calendar

International Women’s Day – an important date in the Soroptimist calendar

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As always Soroptimists have been busy around International Women’s Day – a really important day in the calendar for women’s rights campaigners all over the world. The two themes for IWD this year are #InspireInclusion, and the United Nations theme: #InvestInWomen – see below for more information. Jane Slatter was interviewed for MIX 92.6 – you can click here and listen to the 10 minute recording that was played during shows in the week of International Women’s Day https://mix926.com/highlight/soroptimists-iwd/ On Friday 8 Mar three Members of Soroptimist International St Albans & District, Debbie Tankard, Linda Middleton and Jane Slatter were at St Albans Girls’ School for their International Women’s Day Inspiring Women Careers Event for Year 8 and Year 12 Students. The photos of the event were taken by the school. The students are told that the purpose of the careers networking event is to provide them with the opportunity to

Important Herstory – The Women’s Land Army in WW1

Important Herstory – The Women’s Land Army in WW1

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Everyone learned some important “herstory” about British women in World War 1 on Mon 26 Feb. Soroptimist International St Albans and District were delighted to welcome Alex Amos to speak about “The Formation and Organisation of the Women’s Land Army in WW1” – this is of particular interest to Soroptimists because the organisation was founded in 1921, soon after WW1. The Women’s Land Army changed British women’s lives forever, and was vital for the outcome of the war. Members of SI St Albans and District were joined by friends of Members and guests from Soroptimist Clubs as far afield as Bridgend and Lincoln – technology is a gift for connecting people. Diana Kingham introduced guest speaker Alex Amos who is a researcher with the Luton Hoo Walled Garden Volunteer Project – where Diana is also a volunteer. Alex is pictured here on the Zoom call. We can’t

Steel Magnolias Abbey Theatre Charity Night Feb 29 2024

Steel Magnolias Abbey Theatre Charity Night Feb 29 2024

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Thanks to the generosity of the Abbey Theatre in St Albans, Soroptimist International St Albans and District were proud to co-host the charity night’s performance of the fabulous play, Steel Magnolias, on Thu 29 Feb. Our partner host was the Hertfordshire Federation of Women’s Institutes. The play’s run is to 9 March www.abbeytheatre.org.uk which appropriately takes in International Women’s Day on 8 March. Soroptimists were raising money for  SAHWR, the local women’s refuge service, plus other charities supported by the Club. The event raised an incredible £1630.40!! There was a fundraising raffle on the night and a bucket collection at the end of the evening after Soroptimist co-President Barbara Saunders (pictured here) had thanked the audience and the theatre for their support and spoken about the funding shortfall faced by the Refuge. Soroptimists were completely blown away by the generosity of everyone who came – thank

Christy Mitchell from Grow Chiswell Green with SISTA Helen Byrne
New Member and Grow Chiswell Green and the Pancake Race

New Member and Grow Chiswell Green and the Pancake Race

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It was another inspiring Club meeting on 12 Feb when we welcomed new Member Linda Middleton, and heard from Christy Mitchell of Grow Chiswell Green. New member induction: Linda Middleton It is always a special evening when we officially welcome a new member to our Club. On Monday 12 February all Club Members were proud to welcome Linda Middleton. Jane Slatter, the Membership Officer for the Club, was leading the meeting and is photographed here presenting Linda to the Club as its newest Member. Linda has lived in Harpenden for 30 years, having been brought up in Hong Kong and then Northamptonshire. Work wise,  Linda has worked in social housing field either for the local council or housing associations until the last few years. Linda moved into the Transformation and Business Improvement areas and has also spent a spell in Customer Delivery at St Albans Council.

Judith Leary-Joyce Presentation
Judith Leary-Joyce – “Beginner’s Guide to Eco Renovation” – inspired to reduce emissions from our homes

Judith Leary-Joyce – “Beginner’s Guide to Eco Renovation” – inspired to reduce emissions from our homes

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On Monday 22nd January, Soroptimist International St Albans and District hosted an important talk on Zoom with Judith Leary-Joyce, author of the “Beginner’s Guide to Eco Renovation”. Judith is a great speaker – energising and motivating – a real inspiration. You and your builder can help save the planet – the why and how of making your home more energy efficient and sustainable. At the end of the event we heard from Amanda Yorwerth from Friends of the Earth about the important and very relevant “United for Warm Homes” campaign – please scroll down for more information. 40 people attended the Zoom with Judith – from far and wide, Soroptimists and non-Soroptimists. The guests from Taiwan were from the furthest away, and we also had guests from all over the UK including Yorkshire, Cheshire and Devon. Since 21% of emissions in the UK come from

STAGS Year 11 Mock Interview Day 2024
Soroptimists at the St Albans Girls School Year 11 Mock Interview Day

Soroptimists at the St Albans Girls School Year 11 Mock Interview Day

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On Thu 18 Jan it was St Albans Girls School (STAGS) Year 11 Mock Interview Day for GCSE year students. St Albans Soroptimists Bev Keech,  Helen Atkinson, Linda Middleton, Jane Slatter and Debbie Tankard (pictured here l to r) were five of the thirty + interviewers there for the morning. They found the girls and the event really worthwhile and as inspiring as ever. As part of the careers programme at St Albans Girls’ School, they offer a mock interview to every year 11 student on one morning. Each student has a 20 minute interview based on CV’s they have prepared in school and receive verbal and written feedback. We were welcomed to the event by Margaret Chapman, Executive Head, and Paul Kershaw Head of School. Jessica Flint, Assistant Head Teacher and Careers Lead made sure that the event went smoothly and thanked everyone for their time.

Soroptimist Orange the World 2023 montage
Soroptimists Orange The World 25 Nov for 16 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women

Soroptimists Orange The World 25 Nov for 16 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women

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Soroptimist International St Albans and District Oranging the World and saying NO! to violence against women in 2023 #OrangeTheWorldHerts – Ending Abuse is Everyone’s Business The Global, United Nations Orange the World Campaign is 16 days of activism to end gender based violence from 25 Nov, the International Day to end Violence Against Women to 10 Dec, Human Rights Day  www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/unite #OrangetheWorldHerts 2023 – this image is a montage of photos from the 2023 campaign and you can scroll down for the slide show of all the images.  This year we have had great media coverage from the St Albans Times see p78 of the Nov 23 issue: https://issuu.com/stalbanstimes/docs/st_albans_times_issue_43  and pages 3 plus 44-46 of the Nov 30 issue:  https://issuu.com/stalbanstimes/docs/st_albans_times_issue_44_1_ Welwyn and Hatfield Times: https://www.whtimes.co.uk/news/23969311.orange-world-herts-raise-awareness-gender-based-violence/ Hertfordshire Mercury - "The orange glow of optimism" My Local News - St Albans - www.mynewsmag.co.uk/we-pledge-chief-constable-shares-plan-to-end-violence-against-women-in-st-albans/ Herts Advertiser www.hertsad.co.uk/news/23985752.st-albans-soroptimists-sing-station-womens-refuge St Albans Council issued
St Albans Soroptimists Season’s Greetings

St Albans Soroptimists Season’s Greetings

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Members of Soroptimist International St Albans and District would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and peaceful 2024. Instead of sending Christmas cards we are making a donation to the Soroptimist International Foundation soroptimistinternational.org/si-foundation Soroptimists are feeling festive after delivering a magnificent pile of gifts donated and wrapped by Club Members for the SAHWR Women’s Refuge .  Our member Jean Eaton is pictured here displaying the stash before it was all delivered safely to the Refuge. 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! Members have also donated tea, coffee, toiletries and other goodies. Liz Perry one of the Refuge managers said “thank you for all you do for us”. Our festive singing at St

Festive Singing for the Refuge at St Albans Station

Festive Singing for the Refuge at St Albans Station

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Shake Rattle and Sing! Soroptimist local women’s group with friends (including some members of local choirs), sang festive songs at St Albans City Station raising a much needed £261 for  SAHWR Women’s Refuge. Singers were wearing orange to continue with our campaign to #OrangetheWorldHerts ! https://sigbi.org/st-albans-and-district/2023/orange23/ One commuter who stopped to made a donation said “you’re too good to walk through!” – praise indeed. Soroptimist Jane Slatter said “we all had a great time – donations were less than last year, but that’s not really surprising with the financial situation and rail strikes too!” Funding cuts and increased demand mean that Refuges really need money from our fundraising so we were grateful to everyone who donated on the night.  If anyone wants to make a donation after the event please email us at sistalbans@hotmail.com  This event is timed on the closest Monday to Human Rights Day

Becca Britton Scout Jamboree 2023
Becca’s Life-Changing Jamboree Journey 2021-2023

Becca’s Life-Changing Jamboree Journey 2021-2023

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It was wonderful to be able to welcome Becca Britton back on Mon 13 Nov to tell us all about her “Jamboree Journey 2021-2023” – a life-changing experience. Please click here to download and view her presentation Becca Britton Girl Guide – PP after World Scout Jamboree Korea 2023 When Becca visited our Club in May 2022 she was fundraising to go to South Korea for the World Scout Jamboree in August 2023. All Scouts and Guides from the UK had to raise £4000 to attend. https://sigbi.org/st-albans-and-district/2022/9may/ If you were following the news in August you would have seen what a disaster the event was https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-66425588 We were mesmerised listening to Becca’s first-hand experience as events unfolded in South Korea. Before Becca went she met with the East Anglia group of Scouts and Guides in Norwich for team building and preparation. The original premise for

Barbara and Andrea
Club Meeting – learning about the St Albans Healthy Hub

Club Meeting – learning about the St Albans Healthy Hub

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Our speaker Andrea, from Citizens Advice (CAB) St Albans introduced us to the work of CAB and the Project she is working on to raise awareness of the St Albans Healthy Hub and its partner organisations https://www.stalbans.gov.uk/healthy-hub – based at the Civic Centre (where St Albans CAB is based). Andrea is pictured here with Barbara Saunders who chaired the meeting. Andrea is holding a copy of the St Albans Healthy Hub Handout which available to download as a PDF by clicking here St Albans Healthy Hub handout. Andrea began by explaining the work of Citizens Advice (CAB) – you can read more by downloading their annual review https://citizensadvicestalbans.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Annual-Review-2022-23.pdf . The services cover St Albans and surrounding areas – Harpenden, London Colney, Redbourn, Wheathampstead. They have 91 volunteers and 28 staff and last year they helped 9,900 people with 24,000 issues, helped clients gain £1.5 million

Sarah Mitcherson
Sarah Mitcherson – an Inspirational Leader Facing the Challenges in Secondary Education

Sarah Mitcherson – an Inspirational Leader Facing the Challenges in Secondary Education

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Can everyone achieve? What are the challenges facing Secondary Education leaders? Soroptimist International St Albans and District invited Sarah Mitcherson, Head of Ridgeway Academy in Welwyn Garden City https://ridgeway.herts.sch.uk/ to talk on Zoom about the challenges facing the Head of a Secondary, Co-Ed school with 900 pupils. The school’s vision is “Everyone Can Achieve”. This first video is 37 mins long. Part 2 is in the second video. We often invite inspirational women to speak at or Club meetings, and can honestly say that Sarah is beyond inspirational, we were all in awe of what she says and does. Her positivity, energy and commitment shines though. We are sure Sarah has a really bright future ahead of her – so look out for that name in the future. Our Member Liz Tillett is Chair of the School Governors at Ridgeway Academy and has been keen

SISTA Club new venue CCCC
Club Meeting in Lovely New Venue – Cottonmill Community and Cycling Centre

Club Meeting in Lovely New Venue – Cottonmill Community and Cycling Centre

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On Monday 11 September we held our inaugural meeting at our new Club Venue – Cottonmill Community and Cycling Centre,  12 Old Oak, Cottonmill Lane, St Albans AL1 2EF. You can see from the photos what a lovely room we are booked to meet in now (2nd Monday of most months – always check the programme for details – https://sigbi.org/st-albans-and-district/club-programme/), and we had lots of positive feedback. Being September many of our Members were away, and often meetings with smaller numbers are more intimate so the group really enjoyed a evening together to catch up after the summer break. Sarah, Jean, Janet and Denise reported back enthusiastically about their experiences at the Soroptimist International Convention in Dublin in July – click here to read more  https://sigbi.org/st-albans-and-district/2023/dublin/ Barbara and Sarah are pictured here holding up our “Orange the World Project” poster that was on display in

St Albans Soroptimists Sponsor Women’s Cricket in 2023

St Albans Soroptimists Sponsor Women’s Cricket in 2023

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After several years of supporting the development of girls cricket in Hertfordshire, Soroptimist International St Albans and District agreed to sponsor the St Albans Cricket Club Women’s Team shirts in 2023-4. See the photo of the team looking fantastic wearing the shirts. This has provided us with an opportunity to help the development of the women’s game and promote the work of Soroptimists in the local area. The development of leadership skills through sport has been a topic of interest first promoted by a member Audrey Collins OBE, who played cricket for England and taught at a local school. We continue to assist with funding where we can and were happy to help on this occasion at the request of some of the St Albans Cricket Club Women’s Team who valued the support they had received from us in the past. Please click here to

SISTAs at the Mind Blowing Soroptimist International Convention Dublin 2023

SISTAs at the Mind Blowing Soroptimist International Convention Dublin 2023

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Six St Albans Soroptimists were blown away by the Soroptimist International Convention Dublin July 27 – 29. Our delegates were (pictured here left to right) Sarah Lichman, Denise Powell,  Jean Eaton, Jane Slatter, Janet Tansley and Helen Byrne. Although everyone had been to a Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland Conference before, only Jane had attended an International Convention and everyone found out to their delight that it engages and inspires on another level altogether. Please carry on reading to find out more, but it is difficult to get the immersive experience across on a web page. There is also a 2 minute post-event video to watch  https://www.soroptimistinternational.org/soroptimist-international-2023-dublin-convention-after-movie/ An international SI convention allows Members to experience the highest levels of Soroptimism as well as the depth and breadth of the organisation. It is an opportunity to engage with other members from every corner of the

Book Recycling Success at Harpenden Sustainability Market 

Book Recycling Success at Harpenden Sustainability Market 

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Our Soroptimist Charity Bookstall on Sunday 16 Jul was another great success raising more than £200 for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge sahwr.org.uk and meant that hundreds of books were recycled to new homes! The Harpenden Sustainability Market is held on Harpenden Common, close to the town centre, on the Third Sunday of March, May, July, Sept, and Nov. Sarah Lichman (pictured in the pink) organised the event with the Club’s Planet Team and we had lots of helpers on the day – pictured above l to r on the “early shift” with Sarah are Helen Byrne, Diana Kingham, Denise Powell and Jane Slatter. Thanks also to Anna Barrett, and Nicky Bloom and her daughter who were on the later shifts. Nicky’s daughter does a brilliant job selling the children’s books. A big thanks to Harpenden Lion, John Powell who set up and dismantled

Gill Clegg Zambia
Health, Education, Development in rural Zambia – a personal journey

Health, Education, Development in rural Zambia – a personal journey

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Supporting Health, Education, and Development  in Rural Zambia On Monday 10 June we were blown away by our guest speaker, one of our Club Members, Gill Clegg.  She lived in Zambia for 6 months in 2018/19 and will be returning in October this year. Gill’s professional background is as a nurse working in paediatrics and occupational health. Please scroll down for the link to download and view her presentation. There were 19 of us on Zoom. It is always great to be able to welcome guests from farther afield, including SI Thames Valley, Central and South West London and especially good to see Margaret from our Soroptimist Friendship Link in Chico California. It is wonderful that technology could bring us all together to hear about Gill’s journey. Gill explained a little background on Zambia and it’s history. Katete is in the Eastern province and a

Homelessness Flyer 26 Jun
Homelessness – the Crisis on our Doorstep

Homelessness – the Crisis on our Doorstep

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On Mon 26 Jun Nicola from Herts Young Homeless and David Lane, Chair of  Open Door St Albans joined Soroptimist International St Albans and District on Zoom for an enlightening and moving evening. Nicola talked about Homelessness facing young people across Hertfordshire and David told us about the direct action Open Door is taking to ensure no-one needs to sleep rough in St Albans. Some of the things we learned were happening on our door steps are deeply shocking. Nicola MacKinnon (Fundraiser) from Herts Young Homeless please click here to download and view Nicola’s presentation HYH – NMK basic presentation June 23 It contains a wealth of information so please take a few minutes to read. Nicola started by asking us to think about what the word ‘home’ means to us. She gives presentations at schools and said that children give similar answers to us –

Orange Cafe Helen Janet Sarah
Orange Weekend for St Albans Soroptimists!

Orange Weekend for St Albans Soroptimists!

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On Sat 24 Jun we had a lovely time at the New Ground Summer Party (a cohousing development where Ann, one of our Members lives).  Ann is pictured here with Jane (l) and Ameeta (r). This turned out to be an unexpectedly orange afternoon with nasturtiums in bloom and some of the residents wearing orange too – Jane was able to explain why orange is important to Soroptimists – a vibrant colour to represent a world without violence against women and girls. Please see the website from the New Ground visit to our Club in 2019 https://sigbi.org/st-albans-and-district/2019/wtd19/ It was after that we were first invited to visit, but COVID got in the way! On Sun 25 Jun Helen, Janet and Sarah had an Orange Walk and Cafe – wearing orange to promote the Orange the World campaign to end violence against women and girls. They braved the baking

Cottonmill Community and Cycling Centre
New Venue from Sep – Cottonmill Community and Cycling Centre

New Venue from Sep – Cottonmill Community and Cycling Centre

NEW VENUE for St Albans Soroptimists from September Our new meeting venue from September will be the Cottonmill Community and Cycling Centre (known as CCCC). Our last meeting at the Greenwood Park URC will be the potluck supper on the 24th of July. This is because the URC have plans to rebuild their hall and so it will not be available to hire. You can see from the photos and website that there is a lovely community hall which will be a great meeting place for us (we will be using the larger section). We will have a direct hatch to the kitchen making our all-important coffee break really easy and there is a large spacious car park. Our member Janet Audley-Charles is the chair of the Sopwell Residents Association and was very involved with the Sopwell Community Trust campaign to build this wonderful community

Denise Powell and Helen Atkinson Induction
New Member, Refuge Donation and Orange The World Plans – another busy evening!

New Member, Refuge Donation and Orange The World Plans – another busy evening!

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It was another busy Club meeting on 12 June when we welcomed new Member Helen Atkinson, handed over £1800 to the SAHWR Refuge and shared some great ideas for our 2023 “Orange the World” campaign to end violence against women, 25 Nov to 10 Dec. New member induction: Helen Atkinson It is always a special evening when we officially welcome a new member to our Club. On Monday 12 June all Club Members were proud to welcome Helen Atkinson. Denise Powell, facilitator of the Peace Team was leading the meeting and is photographed here presenting Helen to the Club its newest Member. Helen introduced herself to the club. She lives in Harpenden and is originally from Bradford. Her interests have been around gender inequality and issues effecting women. She saw Jane’s letter in Good Housekeeping and wanted to know more about Soroptimists. Helen is a Management

Jean Repair Fair Plants for Pollinators
SUSTFEST23 – Repair Fair – happy homes, happy bees and a happy planet!

SUSTFEST23 – Repair Fair – happy homes, happy bees and a happy planet!

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Joint Repair Fair Event – happy homes, happy bees and a happy planet – and some fundraising too! On the first afternoon of the Sustainable St Albans Festival 2023 – Sat 10 June, Soroptimists Anna, Jean and Helen took part in a wonderful joint #Susfest23 event at St Albans URC (Greenwood) – a Repair Fair with a Plants for Pollinators stall and a Smalls for All collection. This a first joint event between the URC, our Soroptimist Club and the St Albans Fixers and we are keen to repeat it. As you can see from the cheery pictures the Repair Fair was a great success – with more than 25 people going home happy with their item fixed , a help both for them and for the planet: as you can see from the data below there was also a saving in waste and CO2.

SI Wakiso Charter with Caroline Tyrwhitt
New Soroptimist Club Wakiso Uganda, Coronation and Planning the New Club Year

New Soroptimist Club Wakiso Uganda, Coronation and Planning the New Club Year

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On Mon 15 May we kicked off the new Club year. With all the bank holidays in May our programme got messed up so this was the 3rd Monday, when we normally meet 2nd and/or 4th Mondays. It was just as well we were meeting on Zoom because, sadly, most of our Members were unable to attend and join in with what turned out to be a most enjoyable meeting. We will share the event here so that anyone who couldn’t be there, can get a taste of the evening. Our guest speaker was Associate Soroptimist Member Caroline Tyrwhitt, who returned to us to talk about her trip to Uganda to celebrate the chartering of a new club, SI Wakiso. Caroline told us about it in February before she went https://sigbi.org/st-albans-and-district/2023/13feb/ Click here to see Caroline’s presentation from 15 May which is loaded with lots

AGM 2023 SISTA Exec 22/23
SI St Albans and District AGM 2023, celebrating another great year and a special birthday for Margaret from Chico

SI St Albans and District AGM 2023, celebrating another great year and a special birthday for Margaret from Chico

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SI St Albans and District AGM Monday 24th April – marking 66 years since the Club was chartered in April 1957 On the evening we were able to welcome a special guest, Margaret van Laan Martin from our Friendship Link Soroptimist International Chico, California. Margaret is travelling in Europe with her husband Richard and they are staying with her long-standing Soroptimist friend Joan Williams. They are travelling to celebrate Margaret’s “special 0” birthday, and we were delighted to be able to present her with some gifts and a cake that Joan had made. Margaret is pictured here with her gift bag, she is on the left with Barbara Saunders in the centre and Diana Kingham on the right. Later in the week some Club Members and friends were able to join Margaret and Richard at the Luton Hoo Walled Garden – please scroll down for

Soroptimist St Albans Quiz 2023 Louise Team
Charity Quiz Night Success for St Albans Soroptimists

Charity Quiz Night Success for St Albans Soroptimists

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The Charity Quiz Night on Sat 25 March was a sell-out and a great success raising £1350 for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge and other charities supported by the Club. It was great to be back at our favourite St Albans quiz venue, Homewood Road URC Church Hall. The last time we were here was in 2019 and we cancelled the one planned for March 2020 due to COVID and haven’t been able to run it again until now. This is always the Club’s last big fundraiser for the Club’s end of year in April so it was brilliant to be so well supported. The Quiz Master was Derek Palmer who challenged everyone’s brain cells on the night with some really interesting and varied rounds. Derek is the Club’s co-President Barbara Saunders’ husband and Barbara did a brilliant job supporting him for example Derek

Watling View Coffee
St Albans Soroptimists visit Nourish to Flourish cafe at Watling View School

St Albans Soroptimists visit Nourish to Flourish cafe at Watling View School

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On Thursday 16 March six Members of Soroptimist International St Albans & District arranged a coffee morning at Nourish to Flourish, the new cafe at Watling View School in St Albans. The school caters for up to 92 pupils age 2-19, with a wide range of complex and profound learning difficulties. The Club has supported the school for many years and are thrilled that they have now opened a new purpose-built cafe ‘Nourish to Flourish’. The cafe is designed to teach the older students hands-on skills that will support them in independent living and provide the potential for future employment www.watlingview.herts.sch.uk. Debbie Tankard, a Member of the St Albans Soroptimists, is a school governor at Watling View School and arranged the visit. While we were there Andy Scott the Headteacher dropped by. Everyone was really impressed by the cafe and the quality of the food, drink and service.

IWD SISTA Embrace Equity
St Albans Soroptimists – International Womens day 2023

St Albans Soroptimists – International Womens day 2023

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As always Soroptimists have been busy around International Women’s Day – a really important day in the calendar for women’s rights campaigners all over the world. The two themes for IWD this year are #EmbraceEquity, and the United Nations theme: #DigitALL : Innovation and technology for gender equality. The photo below is of St Albans Soroptimists at the 13 Mar Club meeting in the #EmbraceEquity pose. St Albans Soroptimists Debbie Tankard, Barbara Saunders 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 on Friday 10 March. The photo above of the event was taken by the school. 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. Sadly we had to say goodbye to Assistant

Home-Start Pancake Race Sarah, Hope, and Jane
St Albans Pancake Race was a Flipping Success for Home-Start Herts

St Albans Pancake Race was a Flipping Success for Home-Start Herts

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St Albans Soroptimists help every year with the Home-Start Herts annual Pancake Race in St Albans. The charity does amazing work supporting vulnerable families who are struggling and in need of help. The annual event receives a lot of publicity and is great for St Albans and the community  – see the item in the Herts Advertiser www.hertsad.co.uk/news/23344563.st-albans-pancake-race-raises-4-4k-home-start-herts A couple of weeks ahead of the event Soroptimists Barbara Saunders and Gill Clegg did a great job on a very wet Saturday drumming up support from the local businesses in the Hollywell Hill area. On the day itself 5 Soroptimists were there to help. Sarah Lichman and Jane Slatter sold raffle tickets (seen pictured here withe Hope the Hippo – the Home-Start mascot). Debbie Tankard, Bev Keech and Kat Clark were needed as marshalls helping with managing the event. Please see the messages below that show

Dame Vera Baird DBE KC
Women’s Justice with Dame Vera Baird DBE KC

Women’s Justice with Dame Vera Baird DBE KC

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Dame Vera Baird DBE KC was warmly welcomed by Soroptimist International St Albans and District to speak at this Zoom event about women’s justice on Mon 27 Feb. The event proved of huge interest to Soroptimists and guests from all over the UK – with almost 100 people attending on the night. Dame Vera is a British barrister and politician who has held roles as a Government Minister, Police and Crime Commissioner, and Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to women and equality. She is also a Soroptimist and a terrific speaker. For more about Dame Vera please read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vera_Baird Notes from the event are included below. If you were unable to attend or want to listen/watch it again please click on the YouTube link

A new Member, Smalls for All and a new Club in Uganda

A new Member, Smalls for All and a new Club in Uganda

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Just a regular Club meeting? We welcomed a new Member had an update about Smalls for All and heard about a new Club in Uganda. So maybe what we thought was a regular Club meeting was a rather modest description! It is always a special evening when we officially welcome a new member to our Club. On Monday 13 Feb all Club Members were proud to welcome Shenara Abraham. Shenara is a Financial Adviser by profession and previously worked in the charity sector, supporting community projects in central London. These included homelessness outreach work and anti-trafficking. Shenara is passionate about community, especially women’s rights and wellbeing so we know that she will be fit in well with the St Albans Soroptimists! She will be a Member of the Club’s Peace Team and will have Sarah Lichman as her mentor. The photo l to r has

Sopwell eco-stars
How Local Communities are Tackling Climate Change – Action Provoking Evening

How Local Communities are Tackling Climate Change – Action Provoking Evening

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On Mon 23 Jan we heard from Kate Swindells about  how her local St Albans community is tackling climate change and building resilience to its effects. The information she gave us is for sharing so we can multiply the effect everywhere. There were 38 people on the Zoom call which was great – from Soroptimist groups far and wide including Western Canada, Yorkshire, the Midlands and the Chilterns areas. There were lots of guests as individuals and representing groups interested in finding out more about the Sopwell Eco-Stars manageable approach to building resilience to the effects of climate change. Kate is a founder member of the Sopwell Eco-Stars Group which is a sub-group of Sopwell Residents Association. The group supports local people in managing the uncertainties we are all facing because of global warming, ecological breakdown, and related disruptions around food, energy, and the general cost

SISTA Planet Team Tree Planting Jan 23
What a busy start to the new year!

What a busy start to the new year!

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What a busy start to the new year! On Monday 9 Jan we had a face to face Club meeting where we were able to go through the data from the Club survey. Notes from the meeting and the survey results have been emailed to Club Members and are available in the Members area of this website sigbi.org/st-albans-and-district/members. It was great to hear everyone’s ideas and enthusiasm for the future of the Club – what a positive start to 2023! We’d been asked to take a photo of Members involved with the Domestic Abuse Court Observation Project for the final write up – so this photo of  four of the observers has now been submitted – l to r are Barbara Saunders, Sarah Lichman, Denise Powell and Jane Slatter. On Sun 15 Jan Members of the Club’s People Team braved the cold to plant trees

Christmas Card SI St Albans and District 2023
St Albans Soroptimists Festive Fun and Season’s Greetings

St Albans Soroptimists Festive Fun and Season’s Greetings

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Members of Soroptimist International St Albans and District would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and peaceful 2023. Instead of sending Christmas cards we are making a donation to the Soroptimist International President’s Appeal Opening Doors to a Brighter Future. Soroptimists are feeling festive after delivering a magnificent pile of gifts donated and wrapped by Club Members for the SAHWR 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! Members have also donated a stash of tea, coffee, biscuits and toiletries. Liz Perry one of the Refuge managers says “there is no situation in the Refuge that can’t be improved by a sit down with a

Soroptimists Orange The World 25 Nov for 16 Days of Action to End Gender Based Violence

Soroptimists Orange The World 25 Nov for 16 Days of Action to End Gender Based Violence

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Soroptimist International St Albans and District Oranging the World and saying NO! to violence against women in 2022 #OrangeTheWorldHerts The Global Orange the World Campaign is 16 days of activism to end gender based violence from 25 Nov, the International Day to end Violence Against Women to 10 Dec, Human Rights Day  www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/unite This year Soroptimist International St Albans and District has engaged with even more schools, places of worship and businesses across the area than last year. Organisations and individuals are challenged to do something orange and send photos to the Soroptimists between 25 Nov and 10 Dec as part of the call to action, with the Museum and Gallery lighting up orange  for the launch of the campaign. See the photos here from Fri 25 Nov. The outstretched hands in the photos means "Say No! Unite to end violence against women."   Mayor
Big Orange Party Success!!

Big Orange Party Success!!

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The Big Orange Party on Sat 3 Dec was a great success raising an amazing £682 for local domestic abuse charities! Everyone had a great time partying AND raising funds for Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse charities as part of Soroptimist International St Albans and District’s #OrangeTheWorldHerts campaign. People there were a real mix from the community, with lived experience and local supporters, campaigners and friends. Uncle Tim’s Total Kitchen served delicious burgers and hot dogs. The raffle was really popular. For the World Cup fans there was live football showing on the big screen, and the dancing got going with a great disco – what more could anyone want?! Soroptimist St Albans Club Member Louise Marron organised this fabulous event. She was supported by other Soroptimists on the night – left to right in the picture above are Janet Audley-Charles, Barbara Saunders, Louise, Denise Powell, Janet

Flushed with Success – St Albans is now a Toilet Twinned City!

Flushed with Success – St Albans is now a Toilet Twinned City!

On Mon 14 Nov Soroptimist International St Albans and District Members and guests celebrated St Albans becoming a Toilet Twinned City. This special event was the pinnacle of a project that began in 2015 when our Club heard that Soroptimists in Chester had made Chester a Twinned City. Soroptimist Clubs have long used the special days like World Water Day 22 March and World Toilet Day 19 November as a focus for action and fundraising because we understand the importance of sanitation and toilets globally. Today, 3.6 billion people are living with poor quality toilets that ruin their health and pollute their environment. Every day, more than 800 children die from diarrhoea linked to unsafe water, sanitation and poor hygiene. Girls often stop going to school when they reach puberty because of the lack of toilets. The £60 from each certificate bought from Toilet Twinning

St Albans Soroptimists – Excitement at the Belfast Conference

St Albans Soroptimists – Excitement at the Belfast Conference

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This year’s Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI) Federation Conference was a very exciting one for SI St Albans & District. This year’s SI Federation of Great Britain & Ireland Conference was a smaller affair than previous years with fewer members wanting to make the journey to Belfast. However it provided the usual exciting mix of amazing speakers, a chance to meet up with friends old and new and some new ideas for Programme Action and engaging potential members. It was also a very special one for our Club as you will read later. To read more about the conference and see more photos please visit the website https://sigbi.org/belfast2022/ The Opening Ceremony was a stand out with charming young local women carrying the flags of the various Regions and countries up to the stage showing our coming together, whilst we heard about and were

St Albans Soroptimist Janet Tansley 35 Years
Club Development, Long Service and Tree Planting!

Club Development, Long Service and Tree Planting!

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On Monday 10 Oct the Club held a lovely Club development meeting at Greenwood URC. Members met face to face and split into three groups for discussions. A lot has changed at our Club since we last reviewed how the Club works and the Club has had to adapt during the pandemic. Members are all encouraged to complete a survey so that all the feedback can be considered and incorporated into plans for a way forward which we plan to implement in the new year.  There are no pics of the group discussions, but we were delighted on the night to be able to present Janet Tansley with her 35 years long service award! Congratulations Janet – we love the T Shirt! Janet is a Member of the Club’s Planet Team – see below for more about the Club’s tree planting.       On

Biodiversity image bees
The Biodiversity Crisis and Climate Change

The Biodiversity Crisis and Climate Change

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Why the Biodiversity Crisis matters as much as Climate Change and what we can do locally to make a difference. On Mon 26 Sep Soroptimist International St Albans and District hosted a truly inspiring meeting on Zoom about the Biodiversity Crisis and what we can do to improve the situation locally alongside Climate Change. It was great to be able to welcome so many  guests from other Soroptimist Clubs, local community groups and Soroptimist friends. Helen Byrne welcomed everyone including our speakers Tim Hill, Conservation Manager at the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust  www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/ and Nadia Bishara who has been leading the work of the St Albans group Wilderhood Watch https://wilderhoodwatch.org/ This year Helen is sharing the presidency of the St Albans Soroptimist Club as well as facilitating the great work of the Club’s Planet Team. Club Members have all learnt a great deal about the Climate Crisis and have

Ann Beatty Steve Sinnott Foundation
Evening Remembering the Queen and Hearing about the Steve Sinnott Foundation

Evening Remembering the Queen and Hearing about the Steve Sinnott Foundation

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Our Club Meeting was very moving on Monday 12 September when we paid tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II following her sad passing the previous Thursday. Our Member Ann Beatty, Chief Executive of the Steve Sinnott Foundation, talked to us as planned, about her work, after we had shared our memories of the Queen together.  This photo of the Queen was sent out to Members of Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland with a message of condolence. Barbara kindly printed and mounted the photo – so it felt as if the Queen was with us for the evening. The first part of the evening was spent in reflection and remembrance of the Queen led by Denise after a 1 minute silence. Some Members spoke of their personal encounters with the Queen. Barbara had met the Queen as part of the 75th anniversary conference of