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Soroptimist Denise Reports Back from the Liverpool Conference

Soroptimist Denise Reports Back from the Liverpool Conference

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This year our attendance at conference may have been small – but it was perfectly formed – see the pic of Denise Powell and the Club’s mascot Sally Bear in situ at the Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) Conference in Liverpool. We were kept well informed with information from Denise, the SIGBI Conference website www.sigbi.org/liverpool2018 plus Facebook and Twitter too #SoroptimistLiverpool2018 Last year 11 of us went to the Conference in Cardiff, so let’s hope we can get a good turnout again for Bournemouth 24-26 Oct 2019 www.sigbi.org/bournemouth2019– put it in your diaries now so you don’t miss out! Below is a great report with pics from Denise who represented our Club brilliantly – thanks Denise! Conference this year followed the traditional pattern. It opened on Thursday night with the Flag ceremony, I find it quite emotional seeing the corners of the world that are covered by our

Democracy is a Woman, Soroptimist Warsaw Conference

Democracy is a Woman, Soroptimist Warsaw Conference

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The 100th Anniversary of Votes for Women in Poland was celebrated with a Soroptimist Conference in Warsaw entitled “Democracy is a Woman.” Barbara Saunders, SI St Albans and District Secretary, joined 88 sister Soroptimists from 12-14 October 2018 for the event. This is Barbara’s “travel diary”, she certainly enjoyed her first Soroptimist Friendship Link visit and I hope you now enjoy reading this and sharing it with her! “Warm weather, a warm welcome, and a huge amount of preparation by SI Warsaw, were all it took to make this weekend a success.  Coinciding with the 100th Anniversary of Poland’s Independence this month, there was much to celebrate. Danuta Jabukowska, Treasurer, made my weekend by collecting me at the airport (with husband Derek) and ferrying me around between the various venues. Her smiling face, enthusiastic welcome and the way she ensured I was looked after at

October Region AGM and Conference – the Impact of Women

October Region AGM and Conference – the Impact of Women

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Four Members of SI St Albans and District joined an action packed Soroptimist International London Chilterns Region meeting in London – with the AGM, a #VotesForWomen  presentation, a run through nominated “Women of Achievement” and a panel session on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW). President Margaret’s theme for the Soroptimist London Chilterns Region year has been IMPACT and this event fully met the brief! The photo above was taken with everyone present and many were wearing sashes and rosettes in the colours of women’s suffrage plus Irene Cockroft and Jen Simpson were in costume. The AGM was first and reports are sent separately to Clubs. Our first speaker was Irene Cockroft with a fascinating talk with excellent photo images to illustrate “International Women’s Day, Now and Then”. This is in light if the centenary of the UK women’s vote and the fact this talk was cancelled in

Mental Health Challenges For Women – Event for World Mental Health Day 2018

Mental Health Challenges For Women – Event for World Mental Health Day 2018

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On Monday 8 Oct we had a brilliant evening to mark World Mental Health Day and we now all understand so much more about the mental health challenges facing women. We looked into the many aspects of mental health including dementia and received management and support advice for how to live a better life for mental health well being. Our Member Katherine Clark ran the event. Kat is an experienced Mental Healthcare professional  with her own specialist support and training service “Essential Life Skills”, working with individuals with a wide variety of needs. www.essentiallifeskills.org Kat delivered an excellent presentation covering the many aspects of mental health and how to manage them which can be downloaded and viewed here – Presentation WMHD2018 it covers depression and anxiety and what can help. Kat also did a relaxation exercise with us all – leaving us feeling like the cat in Kat’s presentation – see the pic! Kat

Wildlife Trust and FoodSmiles – captured our environment themed evening

Wildlife Trust and FoodSmiles – captured our environment themed evening

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On Monday  24 Sep Soroptimist International St Albans and District Club held a Wildlife and Environment Themed Evening. Our Guest Speakers were Wendy Hartnell from Herts and Middlesex Wild Life Trust and Janet Bruce from FoodSmiles (pictured here are Janet on the left, Wendy on the right and Jane Slatter who chaired the evening as the happy sandwich filling!). Wendy gave us a fascinating talk with fabulous photographs on our big screen called “Where the Wild Things Are”. She told us about all the brilliant work that the Wildlife Trust does in Hertfordshire to protect and enhance places for wildlife and to inspire the whole community to value the natural world. Since WW2 93% of heathland has been lost in Herts sadly along with a great many different species of wildlife. They face the challenges created by climate change and habitat loss through development. We heard about the chalk rivers including the

New Term, New Member Jude and ICS Volunteer Alisha

New Term, New Member Jude and ICS Volunteer Alisha

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We had a lively meeting on Monday 10 Sep – it was the perfect opportunity for Club Members to catch up after the Summer break. The first thing we did was to welcome Jude Kenyon as a new Member of our Club – pictured here with Jude in the middle are Club President Linda Shall on the left and Club Membership Officer Amanda Brown on the right – they are all sharing the “hands of Soroptimist friendship” – as Linda said “what a great way to start our ‘new term’!” Alisha Mirza, a 22 year old marine biology graduate from Welwyn Garden City then spoke to the Club about her forthcoming ICS Project in Tanzania www.volunteerics.org  Alisha has so much energy and enthusiasm and is such an excellent communicator that we know her trip will be a great success. The ICS work with VSO to send

Novel Bookstall Raises Funds for Refuges on Literacy Day

Novel Bookstall Raises Funds for Refuges on Literacy Day

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The Club marks International Literacy Day every year selling 2nd hand books on St Albans market. On Sat 8 Sep this year the event raised more than £230 providing much needed funds for the St Albans & Hertsmere Women’s Refuge and the  Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuge Our stall was busy all day and our Members enjoyed meeting many generous supporters in the town. Left over books were gratefully received by the Lions Charity Bookshop in the Maltings, Hemel Hempstead. Pictured here are some of the Soroptimist willing volunteers who always enjoy our day on St Albans Market. As Soroptimists our mantra is Educate, Empower and Enable so it is fitting that we celebrate International Literacy Day with projects that promote education, enabling women to achieve their full potential and thus empowering them to control their lives and know their rights. www.en.unesco.org/commemorations/literacyday UNESCO ‪#‎LiteracyDay  

Knitting with Benefits

Knitting with Benefits

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This year Club Members have been knitting squares to make blankets. We had “knit-ins” at Amanda’s which were very sociable and chatty occasions. Away from the “knit-ins” many of the knitters found the knitting to be therapeutic. One of our Members encouraged her elderly Mum to join in with the knitting – she hadn’t knitted for years and seemed to get pleasure from the creative process. Another knitter found that it stopped her from being so obsessed with her Smart phone and a very kind supporter donated squares that she had knitted while sitting at her sick husband’s bedside. The work has now begun to sew all the squares together – see the photo above – we even managed to turn that into a social occasion by doing some sewing at a most enjoyable coffee morning. We can’t wait to see the finished blankets!  

Three Club Summer Outings – Theatre Plus Exhibitions in St Albans and Camden

Three Club Summer Outings – Theatre Plus Exhibitions in St Albans and Camden

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The Club doesn’t meet formally in August but we had three summer outings which were both entertaining and interesting and provided a perfect opportunity for some Members to catch up with one another! The first enjoyable outing was on Sat 21 Jul when a group went to see  “Fanny’s First Play” at Shaw’s Corner Outdoor Theatre. On 2 August a group of nine St Albans Soroptimists plus two guests attended the first “Museum Late” event  at the newly opened St Albans Museum and Gallery in the centre of St Albans www.stalbansmuseums.org.uk The theme of the this first event was printing which played a big part in St Albans history. The group had an enjoyable evening learning about and doing some hands-on printing and they were also able to see a 3D Printer in operation.                     Outing number

WINNER! Soroptimist St Albans Wins SME Hertfordshire Business Award

WINNER! Soroptimist St Albans Wins SME Hertfordshire Business Award

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Great news! Our Club won the SME Hertfordshire Business Award in the “Not for Profit Business of the Year”  category Please see the website for all the information – hertfordshireawards.co.uk  The Club’s Membership Officer and local business woman Amanda Brown (pictured here) proudly represented the Club at the Awards dinner on Thursday 26 July. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….         ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………   The other three deserving finalists in the “Not for Profit” category were: Golden Giving Impactful Governance – Community Interest Company Tring Together  

Girls Cricket – Harpenden U14 – Winners of Soroptimist Audrey Collins Trophy 2018

Girls Cricket – Harpenden U14 – Winners of Soroptimist Audrey Collins Trophy 2018

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Harpenden Cricket Club U14 girls re-gain the Soroptimist International Audrey Collins Cricket Trophy The exciting finale to the 8th Soroptimist International Audrey Collins Girls’ Cricket League took place on a hot afternoon on Sunday 8th July 2018 at West Herts Cricket Club in Watford. After a busy summer of league games between the Clubs in the County the U14s Girls’ Teams from Harpenden and Bishop’s Stortford Cricket Clubs rose to the top to compete for the SI Audrey Collins Trophy, giving an enthusiastic crowd a very entertaining display. Members of Soroptimist International St Albans and District, Helen Byrne and Barbara Saunders, were delighted to attend and represent the Club.    Bishop’s Stortford who are to be commended for reaching both the U14 and U12 finals in their first year of entry, batted first and, despite some very good, consistent bowling and great work in the field from Harpenden reached a respectable

Soroptimists Successful Partnership with Harpenden Lions for the Highland Gathering Raffle

Soroptimists Successful Partnership with Harpenden Lions for the Highland Gathering Raffle

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St Albans and District Soroptimists supported the Harpenden Lions at the annual Harpenden Highland Gathering selling the Prize Draw Charity Raffle tickets. This is a partnership arrangement where Soroptimists share the workload with Harpenden Lions to great effect. Pictured here are Soroptimists Debbie Tankard, Catherine Moore, Denise Powell, Club Mascot Sally Bear (of course!) and Jane Slatter – just part of the team of volunteers who worked through the day selling tickets to win 25 great prizes with a value of almost £1000! It was a beautiful (if very hot!) day and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves doing good while having a good time – what perfect partnership work! Charities benefiting from this event are: Harpenden Lions Club charities, including the Life Skills Programme in local schools.  See Life Skills Rennie Grove Hospice Care is a charity providing care and support for adults and children diagnosed with cancer and other life-limiting

Domestic Abuse and Options for Victims – interactive evening

Domestic Abuse and Options for Victims – interactive evening

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Mary McEvoy, Partner and Head of Divorce and Family Law and Notary Public at Neves Solicitors in Harpenden came to the Club in June and spoke about:  – Development of the Law in the area of domestic violence – Current position – Practical information: what to do if you are the victim of abusive behaviour – What help is out there for both for victims & perpetrators – What’s missing? What other help/support/frameworks should be provided? Despite the really hot weather, the Club was delighted to welcome 16 visitors, many of whom work in the Domestic Abuse arena, to the Club’s “Violence Against Women” Team Speaker Meeting. The speaker, Mary McEvoy is a hightly experienced family lawyer from the Harpenden firm Neves. She has been working in family law for over 30 years and told us that she has often represented victims (and sometimes perpetrators) of domestic

New St Albans Museum includes Soroptimist Name

New St Albans Museum includes Soroptimist Name

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The new St Albans Museum and Gallery has opened! It is in the old Town Hall building right in the centre of the City. Soroptimist International St Albans and District made a donation of £250 towards the development of the new museum and we are very proud that our name now appears on an Honours Board in the museum. St Albans Soroptimist Members Denise Powell, Jean Eaton and Jane Slatter attended two of the special evenings held for the Honours Board donors. See below for a few photos – the refurbishment of the museum is a real triumph and well worth a visit. The Honours Boards are in the basement where you can also see the original cells used to detain prisoners before they appear in the Courtroom – which is now available for you to sit and enjoy refreshments from the cafe – perfect!

St Albans First Community Fair

St Albans First Community Fair

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St Albans Community Central organised the first Community Fair this week. Soroptimists were there with 45 small, local charities from our District. The event was held at The Alban Arena for organisations like ours to meet the public and offer opportunities for people to help locally. Rita Andrews who was “womanning” the Soroptimist stand in the morning said “It was really good, we met some lovely women who will make great Members if they decide to join our Club.The Arena was buzzing!”. Other Members who were there are on the day were Sarah Lichman, Debbie Tankard, Katherine Clark, Janet Audley-Charles and Helen Byrne (Janet and Helen are pictured above).  

Refugee Tales – Modern Day Canterbury Tales

Refugee Tales – Modern Day Canterbury Tales

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Felicity Dick a Trustee of Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group www.gdwg.org.uk spoke to the Club about the project Refugee Tales. The Refugee Tales Walk will be launched this year in St Albans on Friday, 6 July. It is like a Modern Day Canterbury Tales and will end in Westminster on 11 July. Felicity is pictured here accepting a donation from our President-Elect Katherine Clark. On Sat 7 July we are welcome to join the walk from St Albans to Hertford (or part of it) – please click on the links below for more details and email refugeetales@gdwg.org.uk if you’d like to join in http://refugeetales.org/the-walk-of-2018/ and http://refugeetales.org/book-for-refugee-tales-walk-2018/ On the evening of Sat 7 July there is an event in Hertford that sounds lovely – just click on the link below if you want to attend http://refugeetales.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/RefTales_Hertford_Poster_A4_small.pdf  Felicity spoke in some depth about the work of Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group. They work

Processions 2018 – march marking 100 Years of Votes for Women

Processions 2018 – march marking 100 Years of Votes for Women

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On 10 June Members of Soroptimist International from all over the UK marched with  PROCESSIONS, a mass artwork celebrating 100 years of women voting, in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London. Members of SI St Albans and District marched in London in solidarity with 30,000 women and girls. We met up with many more Soroptimists from all over England while we were there too. Please click on the link below to scroll through photographs from the day and click on the video for more of a taste of this inspirational event. Women may have the vote in the UK, but we still need to continue the fight for equality. [new_royalslider id=”13″]   PROCESSIONS 2018 highlights What a day! We're still loving seeing and hearing about your time at #PROCESSIONS2018. Thank you all for coming. Here's a quick round up of a truly spectacular day. Artichoke 1418 NOW

Soroptimists Support Girls Cricket Festival

Soroptimists Support Girls Cricket Festival

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Boxmoor Wins the Girls’ Under 13’s Cricket Festival  During a weekend of wall to wall sunshine, and the joy of a Royal Wedding, Barbara Saunders and Helen Byrne from St Albans and District Soroptimists (SISTAs) had the pleasure of presenting a cup and shield to Boxmoor Cricket Club’s girls’ team, at a festival of girls’ cricket held at Abbots Langley Cricket Club on Sunday 20th May. Five local girls teams took part in this Under 13’s Festival. There were some good cricketing skills on show and the girls played their matches with enthusiasm and a competitive spirit. The winning team, runners up (St Albans Cricket Club) and their coaches received individual medals which Barbara also presented. Barbara spoke of the ongoing commitment of the St Albans Soroptimists to encourage and support girls’ cricket in recognition of the pioneering contribution to women’s cricket of their late member Audrey

Does Population Matter? – evening about population growth and the sustainability of the planet

Does Population Matter? – evening about population growth and the sustainability of the planet

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On Monday 14 May a lively group listened and engaged interactively with Steve Bown’s talk “Does Population Matter?” on the consequences of human population growth to our planet.  Steve Bown is a doctor and trustee of the charity, Population Matters – which has high profile conservationists Richard Attenborough and Chris Packham as Patrons. Steve started the evening introducing the subject from the global perspective and after coffee showed photographs and spoke about his personal experiences in Kenya, supporting the Dandelion Project, and the CHASE Africa charity, helping run Health & Family Planning Clinics in rural Africa, empowering women to make their own choices on childbirth and health issues.  In the 21st century, human activity demands more of the Earth than it can provide, and threatens the health of the natural environment on which we all depend. The more of us there are, the more we consume the planet’s natural resources,

Club Celebrates 61st Birthday at AGM

Club Celebrates 61st 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 61st year, and the start of the Club’s 62nd year with a celebration to end President Rita’s excellent year and to start a new Club year in style with President Linda Shall at the helm.        

Home-Start and a Working Gap-Year in Nepal

Home-Start and a Working Gap-Year in Nepal

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What an interesting and enjoyable Club Meeting we had on 9 April! Orla Fawcett came to talk to the Club to tell us about her forthcoming volunteer trip to Nepal for a year starting September 2018 with the charity Project Trust .   Cick on the images to view the leaflet that Orla has produced about her trip, the organisation and how to support her. You can follow her on Facebook @orlafawcettnepal She wrote to us in February asking if she could come and talk to us Orla Nepal Letter Orla talked us through the educational work she is likely to be doing in a remote Nepalese village, living with a local family for a year. She is a talented and confident young woman and we are sure she will make this venture a great success for the people she will be helping, those working with her and also for her

Club Celebrates Girls and Womens Cricket in Hertfordshire

Club Celebrates Girls and Womens Cricket in Hertfordshire

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A Celebration of Girls’ and Women’s Cricket in Hertfordshire and the Soroptimist Audrey Collins Legacy Project  The St Albans and District Soroptimists held an inspirational evening to celebrate Girls’ Cricket in Hertfordshire and the impact of the Soroptimist Audrey Collins Legacy Project 2009 – 2017. We heard about opportunities for development in Womens and Girls cricket locally as part of our planning for Phase 2 of the Soroptimist Audrey Collins Legacy Project. The finale of the event was the  presentation of the Soroptimist Audrey Collins U13 League Trophy for 2017 to the winning team – Harpenden Cricket Club.  Please see the pic below. News of this initiative is in the Herts Advertiser too: www.hertsad.co.uk/news/st-albans-soroptimists-celebrate-girls-crickets-with-updates-on-audrey-collins-legacy-project-1-5466238 We heard from John Mihil and the girls of Harpenden Cricket Club about the joys and challenges of Girls’ club cricket. Sam Rose from Cricket East told us about Girls’ and Women’s cricket in Hertfordshire.

Women and Men Voted Soroptimist Quiz Night a Winner

Women and Men Voted Soroptimist Quiz Night a Winner

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The Soroptimist Quiz had a theme this year around the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote. The Quiz Masters (pictured) really entered into the spirit by dressing in period costumes plus rosettes and sashes in the women’s suffrage colours of green, violet and white. Many of the rounds of questions gave a nod to this special year for Soroptimists, and quiz teams had associated names like “The Fawcetteers”, “Deeds not Words”, and “Millicent”. The room was buzzing and everyone had a great evening – see the slide show of pics below. The best news is that this sellout event raised more than £1200!! for the St Albans & Hertsmere and Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuges plus charities providing learning opportunities for women and girls. [new_royalslider id=”12″] Thanks so much to everyone who came along on the night and made it such a winner! Thanks of course must

St Albans Soroptimists Mark International Womens Day

St Albans Soroptimists Mark International Womens Day

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The Club marked International Women’s Day with three different and varied events this year – what a wonderful way to mark the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote! On 8 March, International Women’s Day, St Albans Soroptimists were “Guest Editors” on Radio Verulam our local community radio station. Jane Slatter, Denise Powell and Amanda Brown were chatting about equality, ending violence against women, past Member Audrey Collins OBE legacy for women and girls’ cricket and collecting pants and gently worn bras for the charity Smalls for All  – what a wonderful opportunity – thanks Radio Verulam! To listen to the podcast please click here www.radioverulam.com/podcast/international-womens-day-soroptimists/ Also on 8 March, Katherine Clarke, Debbie Tankard and Jane Slatter attended the St Albans Girls’ School International Women’s Day Inspiring Women Careers Event for Year 8 and Year 12 Student Leaders. These girls all have a great future – we hope

Inspiring Club Open Evening – Home and Away

Inspiring Club Open Evening – Home and Away

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Members of Soroptimist International St Albans & District held an Open Evening to explain more about the work that  Soroptimists do to make a difference to the lives of women and girls locally, nationally and internationally. We had Soroptimist speakers, speakers from local businesses, lots of guests and great fun learning about each other with while tying ourselves up with ribbons (too difficult to explain – you will need to ask!). Sue Wybrow, the founder of St Albans Businesses  www.facebook.com/groups/stalbansbusinesses/ talked about making connections with local organisations and the challenges/opportunities  of running your own business/enterprise. Claire Suttee who runs Atlas Translations, spoke about how she organises the Polar Bear Plunge www.polarbearplunge.org.uk on New Year’s Day each year at the St Albans Sub-Aqua Club. More than 500 people are involved. There are opportunities for fancy dress, loads of volunteers, people making hot food, polar bear medals, musicians, firemen, lifequards. £5000 raised

Club Welcomes 2 New Members, plus update about both Refugees and Refuges

Club Welcomes 2 New Members, plus update about both Refugees and Refuges

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Club Members were delighted to start the new year by welcoming 2 new Members Alison Jarvis and Helen Clothier.  They are pictured here l to r with Amanda Brown, Membership Officer who introduced Alison who is standing next to her, President Rita Andrews is in the centre with the Club’s mascot Sally Bear (she gets everywhere!), Helen Clothier is next to Helen Byrne on the far right who introduced her to the Club. Helen and Alison are, like all of our Members very busy women. Helen Clothier is Vice Chair of the St Albans & Harpenden Patient Group among other things. Alison Jarvis is a senior Manager of Community Central St Albans – working to develop the local voluntary sector. We have a short informal induction ceremony in which the new Member, and all Club Members present, pledge their duty to the Club, the organisation and to each

Soroptimists Provide Interview Practice at St Albans Girls School

Soroptimists Provide Interview Practice at St Albans Girls School

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Three Soroptimists volunteered this year to take part in St Albans Girls School (STAGS) “Big Interview day” for year 11 (GCSE year) students. Pictured here l to r are Barbara Saunders, Denise Powell and Jane Slatter. As part of the careers programme at St Albans Girls’ School, they offer a mock interview to every year 11 student on a day called “The Big Interview”. Each student has a half hour interview based on CV’s they have prepared in school and receive verbal and written feedback. The event has been running the for the past 6 years, and it is very well received by students, for some of whom it is their first interview experience. Soroptimists have been involved for the last 3 years and have found meeting the girls a real inspiration – a win win for everyone involved!

Soroptimist Tree at St Saviours Christmas Tree Festival

Soroptimist Tree at St Saviours Christmas Tree Festival

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Members of Soroptimist International St Albans and District decorated a beautiful Christmas tree which was on show at the St Saviour’s Christmas Tree Festival. 95 trees were decorated by local community groups and businesses and were displayed in the church until Sat 23rd December 2017. The theme for 2017 was “Community at Christmas” and our tree was “DIAMOND SISTAs – Soroptimist International St Albans & District,  Women Serving the St Albans Community Since 1957″ Jean Eaton organised decorating the Club’s tree along with her Christmas helper/elf Madeline and said “The opening ceremony on Saturday 16th was different from usual. The vicar said a few kind and welcoming words and two opera singers gave a Christmas performance. After everyone had admired all the trees there we all enjoyed wine and canapes. There were lots of people at the opening ceremony and it was all rather lovely.” In the Programme Father Richard Wilson, Vicar

Canine Star Brings Success for Carol Singers at St Albans City Station

Canine Star Brings Success for Carol Singers at St Albans City Station

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This year’s annual Soroptimist Christmas carol singing at St Albans City Station was a great success raising £516.20 for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge  and the  Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuge  – and it was great fun too! We were joined by Jules the dog – who we are sure attracted lots of extra attention and donations! One weary female traveller gave us a very generous donation and said “it’s wonderful to hear something so lovely after a hard days work”. The feedback and donation was very welcome indeed! We would like to send a big thank you and wish the generous St Albans Commuters a very merry Christmas. Recent funding cuts and increased demand mean that Refuges need additional funding now more than ever before. This event is timed on the closest Monday to Human Rights Day when Soroptimists all around the world take action www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday Over a well deserved supper

Understanding Cyberstalking Will Make Women Safer – Fascinating Evening in St Albans

Understanding Cyberstalking Will Make Women Safer – Fascinating Evening in St Albans

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Staying Safe Online: the truth about Cyberstalking – an event for 16 Days of Activism to end gender based violence [new_royalslider id=”10″] On Monday 27 Nov our Soroptimist women’s group, Violence Against Women Team hosted an event at the Maltings Theatre St Albans – please scroll through the pictures here for a flavour of this fascinating evening if you missed it. Dr Emma Short demonstrated clearly her expertise on the field of cyberstalking (see below for more information about Emma and the content of her presentation). Cyberstalking is a crime against (mostly) women and must be taken more seriously because it wrecks lives. Awareness raising is essential and this event is part of that process. Emma presented some fascinating and scary information and the audience listened intently. She advised everyone to take up the advice from Get Safe Online www.getsafeonline.org – there are some simple steps we can all take

New Members, Cambodia Volunteering, Refuge Gifts, Toilets, Coats and Bras!

New Members, Cambodia Volunteering, Refuge Gifts, Toilets, Coats and Bras!

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Wow – what a busy Club Meeting we had on Mon 13 Nov! It was our  last regular meeting before the New Year – and just about all our Members were there – making the evening really buzz with activity! First on the agenda was the introduction of two delightful new Members to our Club – Elly Donachie and Vathsala Ramamurthy pictured here between (L to R) Amanda Brown the Club’s Membership Officer and Rita Andrews the Club’s President. The welcoming of new Members is one of the nicest things we get to do as a Club it is always a real joy to know that as a Club we are growing and going from strength to strength!   We were delighted to welcome Hazel Duffell back from volunteering for three months in partnership with the charity Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) as a participant on  International Citizen Service (ICS) where she

Step Up, Lead the Way – Brilliant Soroptimist Conference Cardiff October 2017

Step Up, Lead the Way – Brilliant Soroptimist Conference Cardiff October 2017

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Over 1,200 women from around the world gathered at the magnificent Wales Millennium Centre on Cardiff Bay to listen to inspiring speakers and to share ideas and energise each other through networking and friendship. Olympian Katherine Grainger DBE, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian  and Tornado Jet Pilot Mandy Hickson – only the second female pilot flying RAF fighter planes. These motivational speakers supported the conference theme of “Step Up, Lead the Way”. Two major threads of the Conference were around Violence Against Women and Modern Day Slavery. Michael Kaufman, founder of the White Ribbon Campaign  challenged men to break their silence about violence against women. Kevin Hyland OBE and a panel gave a presentation with others inspiring us to take action to end human trafficking and modern day slavery. Clubs throughout our organisation also presented their inspirational projects and won awards You can read more about it

You Can’t Put A Plaster On It – World Mental Health Day

You Can’t Put A Plaster On It – World Mental Health Day

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“Mental Health:You Can’t Put a Plaster On it”  On Monday 9 Oct Soroptimist Club Members and guests heard from local mental health service providers about support available to people in Hertfordshire. Barry Canterford, (pictured above right) Public Governor at the Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust www.hpft.nhs.uk/ which delivers mental health services in Hertfordshire, gave an excellent presentation which can be viewed here: Mental Health Oct 2017 HPFT Leslie Billy (pictured above left) Chief Executive of Viewpoint www.hertsviewpoint.co.uk/ provided insight to the work of Viewpoint in improving mental health services from the users’ perspective – his presentation can be viewed here: Mental Health Oct 2017 Viewpoint A summary report of information from the evening is available to download here: World Mental Health Day Oct 2017 Meeting Report  This event marked World Mental Health Day www.who.int/mental_health/world-mental-health-day/en/  The evening was organised by the Club’s Sustainable Environment and Wellbeing (SEW) Team and particularly our Member Katherine Clark (pictured here on the right of

Abbey Theatre Charity Night – Juliet and her Romeo raised £1000 for local women’s refuges!!

Abbey Theatre Charity Night – Juliet and her Romeo raised £1000 for local women’s refuges!!

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£1000 raised for local women’s refuges!! Soroptimist International St Albans and District Women’s Group proudly made this announcement following the Abbey Theatre Charity Night on 5 Oct. “Juliet and her Romeo” by Sean O’Connor and Tom Morris was performed by the Company of Ten www.abbeytheatre.org.uk Everyone who attended said how much they enjoyed this new take on the well known Shakespeare drama – they had a great evening supporting Soroptimists and the Women’s Refuges. Jean Eaton (pictured here at the Theatre) was the driving force behind this excellent result – working hard to sell tickets (it was sold out!) and organise the raffle on the night.   The money will provide much needed funds for the St Albans & Hertsmere Women’s Refuge and the  Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuge                   Juliet and her Romeo by Sean O’Connor and Tom Morris: This is Shakespeare’s Romeo

The Hidden Impact of Violence against Women

The Hidden Impact of Violence against Women

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Soroptimist St Albans’ Violence against Women Team organised an informative speaker meeting on 25 Sep which focused on: The Hidden Impact of Violence against Women The event was well attended, interactive and very well received. Pictured here are (l to r) Liz, Shaheen, Dee and Sara – Liz and Sara are from the SAHWR and Dee is from the WHWR.   Notes from the part of the evening about the Women’s Refuges can be downloaded here: The Hidden Effects of Domestic Abuse notes 1.10.17 Guest speakers included representatives from the “St Albans and Hertsmere” and the “Welwyn Hatfield” Women’s Refuges and Shaheen Manif who is a family worker at a school in Luton.        

Girl Guide Sophie back from her Nepalese Adventure

Girl Guide Sophie back from her Nepalese Adventure

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The Club was delighted to welcome Sophie Hicks back  to give us a presentation brought alive with photos of her trip to Nepal in July and August with Girl Guiding Anglia and Projects Abroad where she was working with local schools and orphanages in Kathmandu. While she was there Sophie was able to practise some of her many skills including teaching, science and painting (she taught dental hygiene and decorated the school walls with the periodic table!). It was a truly life-changing experience and we now wish Sophie well as she enters 6th form and studies for her A Levels. This is the link to the news item about her visit to our Soroptimist Club from before she went www.sigbi.org/st-albans/2017/nepal Please see the two photos taken in Nepal and the photo of Sophie with Soroptimist St Albans Club President Rita Andrews plus the Club’s mascot “Sally

Growth Planning for Soroptimist Clubs

Growth Planning for Soroptimist Clubs

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SIGBI Growth Plan Workshops  – following the pilot last year Members of all Clubs in the Soroptimist London Chilterns Region have now participated in workshops organised by Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland and run by Affilius Group consultants. This year’s workshops were called “Growing Our Brand in the Local Community Workshops” and were held on Sat 10 Jun in Bedfordshire and on Sat 9 Sep in London. All the Clubs are now working on their development plans for the future.  The photo above is of the attendees at the Growth Planning workshop in London – 5 Members of the St Albans Soroptimist Club were at the workshop – can you spot them? The other photo is of St Albans President, Rita Andrews presenting the Club’s development plan on the day.      

Fabulous Summer Garden Party

Fabulous Summer Garden Party

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Club Members were delighted to accept fellow Member, Amanda Brown’s kind invitation to a Garden party over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Following a “pot luck” lunch (which was truly indulgent!), we had a relaxing afternoon in Amanda’s  lovely garden, basking in the sunshine. This was a purely social event where we gave ourselves a break from Club Projects. In the pic L-R are Janet A-C, Madeline Skinner, Libby Brown (Amanda’s daughter who spoke to us at Club recently), Jane Slatter, President Rita Andrews, Jean Eaton plus Jane’s husband Jack’s hand is pictured clutching a bottle of beer….. Ed: Sorry Amanda took pics so I can’t include one of her!    

Summer Outing to the Walled Garden at Luton Hoo

Summer Outing to the Walled Garden at Luton Hoo

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On 16 August  Club Members enjoyed a “summer outing” to the Walled Garden” at Luton Hoo. The garden was designed by Capability Brown and established by the 3rd Earl of Bute in 1760. It fell into decline in 1980’s but is now being  restored. After exploring the clever design of this octagonal walled garden, greenhouses and outbuildings the group retired for a well earned afternoon tea at the Cafe which is also on land that formed part of the Luton Hoo estate,

Relaxing Italian Social Evening in Harpenden for Club Members

Relaxing Italian Social Evening in Harpenden for Club Members

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Our last meeting before we take a bit of a break for the summer was a lovely evening at Pasta Cibo – the family run Italian restaurant in Harpenden. This was a purely social event and there were 18 of us so as you can imagine the conversation flowed easily in true Soroptimist style. Everyone said they had really enjoyed the evening – thanks Denise for organising us – and thanks to the restaurant for providing us with scrummy food and a relaxed atmosphere  – I’m sure we will be back again before too long!    

Dragons Apprentice Challenge Evening

Dragons Apprentice Challenge Evening

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Soroptimist International St Albans and District women’s group was delighted to welcome Emma Gamble from CVS (Centre for Voluntary Service) St Albans on Monday 10 July. Emma is pictured here in the centre with Jennie Redford (l) and Jane Slatter (r). Emma gave Club Members a very informative presentation  which can be downloaded as a PDF here: Dragons Apprentice Presentation Soroptimists July 2017 Emma explained how the Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge started and how it has grown and developed including the new “Junior Apprentice Challenge” for Primary Schools launched last year. The Club has applied again for 2017/18 and will find out later this year if their application has been successful. The Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge is run by CVS with the aim to “Bring education, business and not for profit together to develop young minds”. This fits well with the Soroptimist mission to “Educate, Empower and Enable” women

Soroptimists Partner Harpenden Lions for the Highland Gathering

Soroptimists Partner Harpenden Lions for the Highland Gathering

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St Albans and District Soroptimists supported the Harpenden Lions at the annual Harpenden Highland Gathering selling the Prize Draw Charity Raffle tickets. This is a partnership arrangement where Soroptimists share the workload with Harpenden Lions to great effect. Charities benefiting from the event are: Combat Stress – A leading UK veterans’ mental health charity.  www.combatstress.org.uk Kids in Action –  a  charity providing sporting and social activities, day trips and holidays for children,  young people and young adults with disabilities and special needs www.kidsinaction.org.uk Harpenden Lions Club charities, including the Life Skills Programme in local schools.  See www.harpenden-lions.co.uk/services/schools/ Pictured here are Soroptimist President Rita Andrews, Harpenden Lion Jane Sadler and Soroptimist past-President Denise Powell. It was a beautiful day – and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves doing good while having a good time – what perfect partnership work!

Action Needed to Improve the Health of the 51%: Women

Action Needed to Improve the Health of the 51%: Women

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Dr Edward Mullins (Ed) was a thought provoking speaker with some authority on the subject of women’s health at our meeting on 26 June. Ed is Senior Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital and Editor-in-Chief of the recent “Annual Report on Women’s Health” and presented the findings of this ground-breaking report prepared for the first female Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Professor Dame Sally Davies. Ed is pictured here on the left with Members of the Club’s Sustainable Environment and Wellbeing (SEW) Team, plus President Rita Andrews on the right (in case you’re wondering Ed is holding the Club mascot Sally Bear). Ed’s presentation can be downloaded here: Ed Soroptimist Health Presentation 260617 and the audio recording of the evening can be played from here: https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArNtdNTFVpB2gz_ig5hQqmAST0R0 He spoke to a well informed audience of almost 50 people (Soroptimists and guests) who asked some searching questions. Some of the highlights

Group Hug for New Member Saleema Davies

Group Hug for New Member Saleema Davies

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The Club was delighted to be able to welcome new Member Saleema Davies at their meeting in June. Saleema is pictured here in a group hug with Club Membership Officer Amanda Brown (left) and Club President Rita Andrews (right). Rita is also introducing Saleema to “Sally Soroptimist Bear” the Club’s mascot (see Rita’s left hand). Saleema is a legal consultant in aviation and dispute resolution. She is also a hypnotherapist and hands-on mother to two young children. What better person to have as a Soroptimist – as the saying goes if you want something doing ask a busy person! Saleema said every time she hears the Soroptimist International Vision and Mission it gives her goosebumps – please click here to read the SI Vision and Mission:www.soroptimistinternational.org/about-us/  We have a short informal induction ceremony in which the new Member, and all Club Members present, pledge their duty to

Why Soroptimist? Membership Month 2017

Why Soroptimist? Membership Month 2017

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At our May meeting about reducing our carbon footprint www.sigbi.org/st-albans/carbon/ Members donned their “Ask me why I’m a Soroptimist” T Shirts as part of the Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) #WhySoroptimist ? campaign. (pictured her l to r are Denise Powell, Jane Slatter, Sally Bear with Janet Tansley, Helen Byrne, Ameeta Sabharwal and Pamela Rochford). Answers to the “Why Soroptimist?” question are many and varied – we all want to make a difference to the lives of women and girls and we all get a lot of support from the friendships we have developed with one another. With project evenings like the one this May on the environment and last year on giving birth in prisions, we are proud that as Soroptimists we are not afraid to tackle difficult and unpopular issues.     The second picture is from Membership Month in 2016 –

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint One Step at a Time

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint One Step at a Time

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On 22 May Catherine Ross from Transition St Albans www.transitionstalbans.org talked to the Club about the impact of their successful district-wide initiative –  “SuStAinable StAlbans Week”  www.sustainablestalbans.org and highlighted their practical strategy to reduce our carbon footprint street by street. If you click on the link below you can view Catherine’s excellent presentation: SustainableStAbansMay 2017 Cutting your Carbon Footprint One Step at a Time The photo is of Catherine Ross (3rd from left) with the Club’s Sustainable Environment and Wellbeing (SEW) Team. Katherine Clark presented Catherine with a cheque for £25 Catherine for Transition St Albans as a thank you for such an informative evening. The Club had held events in Sustainable St Albans Week for the last 2 years www.sigbi.org/st-albans/2016/sustainable/  and www.sigbi.org/st-albans-/2015/lush-2/ and was using the event as the beginning of the planning process for what to do next year when the event has moved to 21 – 29 April 2018 and also ongoing activities

International Citizen Hazel goes to Cambodia with VSO

International Citizen Hazel goes to Cambodia with VSO

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On Monday 8 May Hazel Duffell visited our Club to tell us about the adventure that she will be embarking upon in June.  Hazel will be volunteering for three months in partnership with the charity Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO). She will be working on development projects in Cambodia,  which will focus on health, education and livelihoods.  Hazel is a Biology graduate from the University of Exeter, and has since returned home to live in Harpenden, and work for a charity. Hazel applied for and was chosen as a participant on International Citizen Service. International Citizen Service (ICS) is an opportunity for 18 to 25 year old volunteers, like Hazel, to help some of the poorest people in the world and learn valuable new skills at the same time. It’s a programme that brings young people from different countries together to fight poverty. In many poorer countries

Club Twins Three Toilets

Club Twins Three Toilets

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The Club has now twinned 3 toilets for Toilet Twinning www.toilettwinning.org following successful fundraising and donations starting last November on World Toilet Day www.sigbi.org/st-albans/2016/toiletday/  We started by having a bottle sale which raised £67.55 and then Members took away disposable recycled coffee cups to “spend a penny” between November and February. Finally Club Members decided to make additional donations so that a toilet could be twinned as a gift for President Denise at the end of her three years as Club President – what else could a girl want? Denise was really chuffed – please see pic where Denise was presented with her certificate of her Twinned Toilet in Nepal at the Club’s AGM. For every £60 raised Toilet Twinning twins a toilet with a loo halfway around the world, in a country of our choosing. Toilet Twinning is particularly close to Soroptimists’ hearts because we know that without toilets girls

60 for 60 – what a diamond year!

60 for 60 – what a diamond year!

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The Club celebrated with events right through the year from April 2016 to April 2017. Events included our inspirational International Women’s Day live radio broadcast, fundraising for the Women’s Refuge from a quiz night, a market bookstall and carol singing at Harpenden station. We learned about and supported St Albans Refugees, Toilet Twinning, Sustainable St Albans, Birth Companions and many other great causes. We ended with a glittering weekend of diamond celebrations! If you click here you will see the full list: 60 for 60 Final List PDF We were very proud to win best photo for Soroptimist Membership Month last year – with this photo in our “Ask Me Why I’m a Soroptimist” T Shirts. To get a flavour of our “60 for 60” projects just scroll down through our Club news and you will see what a busy year it was! www.sigbi.org/st-albans/category/club-news/    

Soroptimists Get Hotter at Shopping!

Soroptimists Get Hotter at Shopping!

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Eight Club Members accepted an invitation to an evening at Hotter Shoes in St Albans. They learned all about these British shoes – had a great time trying on dozens of pairs of shoes, were given refreshments and goody bags filled with treats including scarves and purses! Retail therapy at its best – of course most of us bought shoes with the discount we were given for the evening! Jennie even won a pair of shoes of her choice in the raffle – she was really chuffed – and they are lovely… After the shoes we all retired just down the road to L’Italiana Restaurant for much needed sustenance after all of that shopping! What a lovely way to spend an evening with Soroptimist friends!