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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
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 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

Group Zoom SISTA Love Food Hate Waste 23-5-22
Food for thought and takeaways from Love Food, Hate Waste event for #SUSTFEST22

Food for thought and takeaways from Love Food, Hate Waste event for #SUSTFEST22

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The St Albans Soroptimists’ “Love Food, Hate Waste?” event for #SUSTFEST22 gave everyone “food for thought” and lots of actions to takeaway!  We heard from David Birley (pictured in the screenshots of his slides) Waste Aware Co-ordinator, Herts Waste Aware Partnership and Louise Palmer (pictured below) St Albans’ Recycling and Waste Officer. The meeting was chaired by Helen Byrne, Soroptimist Planet Team facilitator and co-President (see pic). David’s presentation can be downloaded here as a PDF: Food Waste – Waste Aware for SISTA 23 May David introduced his talk: how much waste is there? how much of that is food? how good are we at recycling food waste? should we be looking at reduction and not just recycling? How might we do this? How much waste is there? During the last 10 years there has been a gradual reduction of household waste, until COVID and

SISTA Bookstall SustFest22
Successful Soroptimist Charity Bookstall Sun 15 May Harpenden #SUSTFEST22

Successful Soroptimist Charity Bookstall Sun 15 May Harpenden #SUSTFEST22

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Our Soroptimist Charity Bookstall on Sunday 15 May for #SustFest22 was a great success raising almost £300 for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge sahwr.org.uk and meant that hundreds of books were recycled to new homes! The May Harpenden Sustainability Market on Harpenden Common marked the launch of the 2022 Sustainability Festival for St Albans, Harpenden and surrounding villages. Sarah Lichman (pictured above on the right) 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 Jane Slatter, Janet Tansley, Jean Eaton, Denise Powell and Diana Kingham. Thanks also to Louise Marron, Janet Audley-Charles, Madeline Skinner, Nicky Bloom and her daughter who were all on later shifts. A big thanks to our Member Linda Shall and Harpenden Lions David Shall and John Powell who set

Herts QGC Project Presentation Annie Brewster
Queen’s Green Canopy and Sustainability in Herts

Queen’s Green Canopy and Sustainability in Herts

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On Monday 25 March Members of Soroptimist International St Albans and District were delighted to welcome Councillor Annie Brewster, Vice Chair of Hertfordshire County Council and Lead for the Queens Platinum Jubilee. Annie gave an excellent presentation on Zoom about the Queens Green Canopy project in Hertfordshire. We also heard about some great sustainability work from Zac Mather, Herts County Council Programme Manager for Sustainable Herts. Kate Belinis, President of SI Hertford and District was able to tell us about her Club’s Tree Planting. It was wonderful to welcome guests to the Zoom event from the Hertford Soroptimists, Friends of the Earth St Albans and Trees of St Albans. Annie’s presentation is the first 8 slides and Zac’s is from slide 9 – please click here to download and view: Soroptimist Presentation QGC 28.3.22 Helen Byrne, the Club’s Planet Team lead, started the evening by

Climate Change Image
Optimism after COP26? The world needs increased action to achieve climate justice

Optimism after COP26? The world needs increased action to achieve climate justice

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The title of our speaker evening on 24 Jan was “What’s next after COP26? How do we achieve climate justice particularly for women in Africa?” We heard from two eminent speakers from the UK academic and the African international development communities: Mike Wilkins Executive Director/Professor of Practice in the Centre for Climate Finance and Investment, Imperial College Business School: Progress at COP26 in Glasgow and the Key Challenges which Remain Estherine Lisinge-Fotabong, Director, Programme Innovation and Planning, NEPAD, the new partnership for Africa’s Development: The impact of climate change on women in Africa and the financial aid needed to achieve climate justice. Please scroll down for their more detailed biographies. Mike and Estherine gave us optimism in what COP26 achieved. They identified the challenges ahead and what action is needed by the world to achieve climate justice. Click here to read this excellent meeting report

Soroptimist St Albans OTW Collage
Soroptimists Orange The World – 16 Days of Action in Herts to End Gender Based Violence

Soroptimists Orange The World – 16 Days of Action in Herts to End Gender Based Violence

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St Albans & District Soroptimists Oranged the world (well Hertfordshire anyway!). Building on our success last year when we ‘Oranged’ the beautiful St Albans Museum, (see photos and read more about it here) this year we set out to ‘Orange’ Hertfordshire as part of the United Nations Orange the World Campaign and the 16 days of activism to end gender based violence from 25 Nov to 16 Dec 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. The Club is very proud that the photo montage shown here won the Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland photo of the month competition for January 2022! Please watch our video on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g6Uhoy7PH8 We wrote to significant buildings, councillors, businesses and senior schools, seeking support…..and we got it!. The Museum were once again delighted to support us and this year laid on a ‘lighting up’ tea in the Courtroom

Soroptimist Christmas Carols St Albans 2021
Happy Soroptimist Christmas – carol singing, plus Refuge gifts

Happy Soroptimist Christmas – carol singing, plus Refuge gifts

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The St Albans Soroptimist women’s group and friends sang carols and festive songs this year at St Albans City Station on Mon 6 Dec for the first time since 2019. It was a great success raising £261 for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge  A fabulous result considering COVID! We would like to thank everyone who made a donation, including the St Albans City supporters who were on their way to Borehamwood for the match (commiserations to them for the result 🙁). Thanks also to the station staff who joined in the singing and made us feel welcome. We were joined by Jules and Rosie our Soropti-dogs – who we are sure attracted lots of extra attention and donations! 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

Elizabeth Gowing
Changing the Lives of Women and Girls in Kosovo – an inspiring evening with Elizabeth Gowing!

Changing the Lives of Women and Girls in Kosovo – an inspiring evening with Elizabeth Gowing!

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On Monday 22 Nov the Soroptimist International St Albans and District Club Members and guests, Soroptimists and friends from as far afield as Manchester, Wales and Western Canada! were delighted to welcome Elizabeth Gowing from The Ideas Partnership to talk about her inspiring work in Kosovo supporting girls into education and empowering women in the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian community in Pristina. Elizabeth explained that she was going to share the stories of 7 women living in Kosovo. She shared her journey to Kosovo and the history of the breakup of Yugoslavia. Albania is the neighbouring country 90% of people living in Kosovo are Albanian, 8% from Kosovo and the remaining 2% include the minority Roma Ashkali and Egyptian people and all 7 of the women talked about are from this most impoverished and ostracised community.   Elizabeth is an educationalist and talented story teller.

Step Up to COP26 Whilst Stepping Down Carbon Footprints – Next Steps

Step Up to COP26 Whilst Stepping Down Carbon Footprints – Next Steps

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On Mon 27 Sep  Zoom Soroptimist International St Albans and District’s Planet Team organised the online event “Step Up to COP26  Whilst Stepping Down Carbon Footprints”. Please click on the link here to view the excellent presentation delivered by our Member and Carbon Literacy Trainer Linda Shall  SISTA Sep 2021 Step Up to COP26 Whilst Stepping Down Carbon Footprints There were 28 people on the Zoom call learning what COP26 is and what role it could and should play in helping women reduce their own, their community and the planet’s carbon emissions.             A few notes to help with the background and jargon in the presentation:  COP = UN Conference of Parties – annual event; 2015 Paris COP21; 2020 Glasgow COP26 (delayed to 2021 due to COVID with a pre-COP meeting in Italy);  COP purpose is for global negotiations towards agreements and

St Albans Soroptimist Celebrate 100 Years with 100 Laps of the Lake

St Albans Soroptimist Celebrate 100 Years with 100 Laps of the Lake

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On Saturday 7 Aug Soroptimist International St Albans and District women’s group and supporters set themselves the goal of walking 100 laps of the lake in Verulamium Park to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Soroptimist International #100for100 They actually did 147 laps between them and earned a slice of celebration cake at the end before the rain set in! The photos give you a glimpse of what a great day it was. One of our Members, Louise Marron, had to self-isolate due to COVID so she did laps of her garden with her “Soroptisons” – pictured here with the banner they made for the occasion – well done to Louise and her lovely boys! Louise also sent us these two lovely videos: The Soropimists took a collecting bucket (of course!) to the park and collected £75 for the SAHWR women’s refuge www.sahwr.org.uk which was a bonus because this

Shelley Hayles
Raihaanah Ahmed and Shelley Hayles are Making a Difference in St Albans

Raihaanah Ahmed and Shelley Hayles are Making a Difference in St Albans

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On Monday 26 Jul our speaker guests were Raihaanah Ahmed, who set up the Sopwell Community Trust which run community initiatives such as Eid in the Park with the aim of breaking down barriers between different communities living in St Albans, and Shelley Hayles. Shelley is a leading voice in Black Lives Matter in St Albans, a registered Social Worker, lobbying for change to the Children Act to provide more provision for Care Leavers. These two inspiring local women infomed us about their local community support and “accidental activism”. Raihaanah Ahmed Raihaanah introduced herself and told us a little of her background. She is a Muslim and Bangladeshi woman. She formed the Sopwell Community Trust. One initiative is Eid in the Park with the aim to make the event accessible to all members of the local community. Raihaanah organised a number of community events pre-Covid.

Herts Girls Cricket Bishop's Stortford Winning Team 2021
St Albans Soroptimists Proud to Award Herts Girls Cricket Trophy

St Albans Soroptimists Proud to Award Herts Girls Cricket Trophy

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Fantastic skills and commitment on display in Hertfordshire Girls Cricket Final Sun 18 July 2021 On a sun-drenched Sunday 18 July 2021 on the lovely cricket ground of Berkhamsted Cricket Club, the Girls’ Finals Day saw 3 fascinating tussles take place between the girls’ sides who had risen to the top of the Hertfordshire 2021 season. U11 Berkhamsted vs Harpenden U13 Redbourn vs Harpenden U15 Redbourn vs Bishop’s Stortford Club Member and Regional President, Helen Byrne, attended on behalf of the Club to watch the third of the three games and present the Soroptimist Trophy to the winners in memory of Club Member and ex-England player Audrey Collins. Helen was joined by Members Jean Eaton and Madeline Skinner who enjoyed their visit, learning a little more about the fascinating game of cricket. Bishop’s Stortford U15, so far unsuccessful twice, were playing in their third final

Soroptimists Litter Pick for St Albans Sustainability Festival

Soroptimists Litter Pick for St Albans Sustainability Festival

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The St Albans Sustainability Festival – #SUSTFEST seemed to be a perfect opportunity for getting people together outdoors to join organised litter picks www.sustfest.org Soroptimist International St Albans and District Club President Barbara Saunders and Club Treasurer Sarah Lichman worked really hard and picked up loads of litter on Redbourn Lane, between Harpenden and Redbourn, on 23 May. The event was organised by Plastic Free Harpenden. During lock down and the gradual reopening of society, we have seen and heard lots of examples of people meeting up in public spaces and leaving their rubbish behind. Rubbish and waste also blows around getting caught in the trees and building up along verges detracting from the beauty of our local environment and sometimes causing injury and possible death to animals. After the litter pick Barbara said ‘The verges are very overgrown at this time of year so

St Albans and Hertsmere Womens Refuge
Coffee, Chat and a Virtual Cheque handover – with Liz and Sara from St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge

Coffee, Chat and a Virtual Cheque handover – with Liz and Sara from St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge

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On 7 Apr Liz and Sara, Managers of the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge SAHWR   joined us for our monthly coffee morning on Zoom. They were delighted that the Club has been able to send the Refuge £1000 from this year’s fundraising and generous donations. The Club has supported SAHWR for many years – it is a charity which provides specialist domestic abuse services in the St Albans, Hertsmere, Three Rivers, Watford and Dacorum areas. Liz told us that they use the money from our Club specifically to benefit residents. This year with home-schooling of children they were able to use the money we sent last year to buy Wi-Fi Access SIM cards for the iPads that had been provided by BBC Children in Need. The money also funded Easter egg hunts in the Refuges and gifts for the Mums from the children for

Carbon Footprint Presentation SI St Albans
How can Women lead on Reducing Carbon Footprints? Engaging Soroptimist Event

How can Women lead on Reducing Carbon Footprints? Engaging Soroptimist Event

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On Mon 22 March we had an engaging evening on Zoom – “How can Women lead on Reducing Carbon Footprints?” The event was led by Soroptimist St Albans Club Member Linda Shall who is an experienced Carbon Literacy Project trainer and a member of the Club’s “Planet Team”. The world has to reduce carbon emissions if we are to prevent irreparable damage to life on our planet: we all have a part to play in that reduction and we need to start now. During the evening we investigated climate change and how we, as women, can lead on carbon footprint reduction. The Aims and Objectives of the event are at the bottom of this piece. Everyone who registered for the event was asked to calculate their Carbon Footprint beforehand. For details of the World Wildlife Fund’s Carbon Footprint Calculator we used and other resources from the evening

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

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

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

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

Christmas Gifts for Womens Refuge

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

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

National Tree Week – Soroptimists Planting Trees for Centennial

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

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

St Albans Museum Turns Orange for Action Against Gender Based Violence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vibrant Virtual Club Outing to Meru Kenya

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This year our annual August Club Outing was to Meru in Kenya – virtually of course! We went to Kithoka Amani Children’s Home (KACH) a program of International Peace Initiatives www.ipeacei.org in Meru Kenya After introducing everyone to the charity’s founder, Dr Karambu Ringera, we showed this 3 minute video from the kids at KACH – please click and be inspired! Presentation – with vibrant photographs – please click on the orange link here: 2020 KACH 11th Anniv Virtual Tour Dr Karambu Ringera (pictured here and bottom row left on the Zoom screen shot from the visit) took us through this presentation of photographs which marks the 11th Anniversary of KACH. On the call were Soroptimists from around the world as well as many of the staff and kids from KACH. There were 11 Members of SI St Albans and District, 4 Soroptimists from the

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

St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge Support Update

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At the end of June Soroptimist Club Members met Liz Perry, one of the Managers of the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge www.sahwr.org.uk on Zoom. SAHWR provides specialist domestic abuse support services in our area. The full report is below. Liz was able to thank us for our donation of tea, coffee etc (see the photo). Normally when me meet face to face we are able to bring our donations of tea and coffee to Club meetings, but in the current circumstances we agreed to purchase a good supply from a wholesaler. Liz always says there is no situation in the Refuge that can’t be improved by a sit down with a cup of tea. Liz was also able to inform us about a new 5 bedroom refuge opening in September in Hemel Hempstead. Jean Eaton, our Club liaison with the refuge put out

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

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

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At our Club Meeting on Zoom on 27 July Members were delighted to welcome back Orla Fawcett to report back from her Project Trust 1 year assignment in Nepal. Orla, is pictured 6th from the left in this photo with garlands to thank her at the end  of her assignment. She talked us though the photos in her presentation – please click on this link to view:  Orla Fawcett – My Year in Nepal Orla wrote a Blog in the year she was away – you can read it here –  orlanepal.blogspot.com/ click on “More Posts” at the bottom of the blog to read more. Orla was living and working in a school in Harpe, in the foothills of Annapurna mountains. She told us how life was hard but happy. She lived with a mother and her child, and another volunteer and they became her

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

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

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The St Albans Soroptimists organised an event for Louise Caplin to demonstrate her ‘Spice Way’ of Life for 45 people online on Zoom on Monday 13th July – and it was “souper”! Louise took us on a live creative cookery adventure using the power of herbs and spices to enhance health and well being. Louise is pictured above getting set up for the demo with her husband, and sous chef for the evening, Adam. Louise is also on the top line of the Zoom group screen shot below. There were  45 people and you can see the group giving a thumbs up for Louise here! Louise would normally run demonstrations for smaller groups in the Spice Way shop so this was a first and we were all delighted by how well it went! The menu for the evening was – gazpacho, frittata, noodles with aubergine,

Praise for Zoom Event with Breathing Coach Jen Tiller

Praise for Zoom Event with Breathing Coach Jen Tiller

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Jen Tiller, Breathing Coach – Helping People Heal and Thrive One Breath at a Time #SoroptimistsinLockdown This event is one of a series of events organised by Soroptimist International St Albans and District focused on wellbeing. As we come through the COVID-19 crisis it is really important that we all stay as well as we can, so that we can enjoy our lives to the full when we move into the new normal…  Messages of thanks came pouring in during and after the Zoom event on Monday 22 June hosted by Soroptimist International St Albans and District “Thank you so much for organising the Zoom session. I enjoyed seeing you all very much and thought Jen’s presentation was absolutely excellent – just what I need at the moment and shall follow it up.” “I thought that was a really informative session – found it very

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

Soroptimist Zoom Health Event a Big Hit

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Finding Health and Happiness in a world struck by fear – the L.I.F.E.S.T.Y.L.E. FIRST method – with Dr Alka Patel, GP, Health Coach and Lifestyle Medicine Physician On Monday 8 June the St Albans Soroptimist Club hosted their first Zoom fundraising event and it was a big hit! #SoroptimistsinLockdown This event is one of a series of events organised by Soroptimist International St Albans and District focused on wellbeing. As we come through the COVID-19 crisis it is really important that we all stay as well as we can, so that we can enjoy our lives to the full when we move into the new normal…  Dr Alka Patel delivered her presentation to almost 80 people – helping them to understand her 10 key dimensions of health and simple steps to take every day to prevent, reduce and reverse ill health. We had lots of

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

Earthworks and Watling View School in one inspiring evening!

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On Monday 27 Jan we heard from Steve Pike, Joint Project Leader Earthworks St Albans, the local charity that provides “Horticultural training for those with learning disabilities” and also from Andy Scott, Head of Watling View School St Albans , the special school for pupils with a wide range of complex and profound learning difficulties. In the above photo l to r are Barbara Saunders, Steve Pike, Andy Scott and Debbie Tankard. Barbara and Debbie are in the Club’s Learning Opportunities Team – the group that arranged the event for the Club. Steve Pike has worked for Earthworks for 15 years following a stint volunteering there while he was a student in Hatfield. The Club has helped this worthwhile charity over many years. Steve spoke passionately about Earthworks – The Natural Place to Grow having shown a short film made by the Earthworkers who benefit

Soroptimists at the St Albans Girls School Big Interview Day

Soroptimists at the St Albans Girls School Big Interview Day

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              St Albans Soroptimists Denise Powell, Debbie Tankard and Jane Slatter volunteered again this year to take part in St Albans Girls School (STAGS) “Big Interview day” for year 11 (GCSE year) students. As part of the careers programme at St Albans Girls’ School, they offer a mock interview to every year 11 student on a day called “The Big Interview”. Each student has a half hour interview based on CV’s they have prepared in school and receive verbal and written feedback. Ellen McHugh, Assistant Head Teacher, Student Leadership and Enterprise said in an email to the volunteers after the event: “A HUGE thank you from everyone at STAGS for your support on Tuesday for the Year 11 Big Interview Day and for giving so generously of your time. The students have found your feedback very helpful and many

Inspiring Evening Reveals How To Raise Resilient Girls

Inspiring Evening Reveals How To Raise Resilient Girls

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Motivational speaker Dr Kathy Weston gave a packed-house some brilliant tips and strategies to help families raise resilient girls when she delivered her inspirational talk on Monday 25 Nov at Townsend School St Albans. The talk covered the current state of girls’ mental health, how in this “age of anxiety” it must to be talked about and managed. Kathy explained the mechanics of resilience and how families can give girls the confidence to thrive. The role of digital technology was detailed and the harm from social media undermining children’s views of themselves. There were a few great questions from the floor and then most of the audience left the room almost reeling from the volume of useful information they had received and still processing what they had heard. All attendees will receive a copy of Kathy’s inspiring presentation. Please scroll through the photos below to get a

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

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

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Wow – that was a busy evening! On Mon 11 Nov we had speakers from OWCH Older Women’s Co-Housing, reports back from the Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland Conference in Bournemouth and Soroptimist International London Chilterns Region, a bottle sale for Toilet Twinning to mark World Toilet Day, Christmas gifts for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge plus some Club business too! First off we heard from Charlotte Balazs  and Vivien Sheehan about OWCH Older Womens Co-housing for over 50’s www.owch.org.uk.  They showed the excellent video on their website (13 mins) called Senior Co-housing The Way We Do It which explained how it works. Ann Beatty (in the pic left), one of our Members, invited Charlotte and Vivien to tell us about because they all live at the OWCH New Ground Co-housing in Barnet. Our Members asked lots of questions and were impressed by the responses.

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

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

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St Peter’s Church has recently refurbished their toilets and installed a new disabled one. Reverand Mark Dearnley, Vicar of St Peter’s and Natalie Liley, Churchwarden are pictured standing in the new disabled toilet holding the twinning certificates. They had seen the news item in the Herts Ad in August and so it seemed the perfect opportunity to join the Soroptimist International St Albans and District “St Albans Toilet Twinned City” campaign. For each paired toilet a donation of £60 was made to the Toilet Twinning Charity www.toilettwinning.org The charity funds projects to help build basic toilets and provide access to clean water in poor communities, maintaining a focus on the importance of hygiene education and community-led action in the improvement of sanitation – “flushing away poverty one loo at a time”. Jane Slatter from the St Albans Soroptimists said “we started this project on World

Herts Rape Crisis and Mindfulness for World Mental Health Day

Herts Rape Crisis and Mindfulness for World Mental Health Day

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For World Mental Health Day our Members wore green to mark the special day #SoroptimistsThinkOnIt We had an excellent talk from Pam and Cathy from Herts Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre www.hertsrapecrisis.org.uk   The talk is summarised below. Our Members and guests had many questions for them and the answers are included in the text below. After Pam and Cathy, Ruth Farenga from Mindful Pathway www.mindfulpathway.co.uk demonstrated Mindfulness in Practice – more about this below Pam and Kathy’s talk. Herts Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre – Pam talked to us about the early days of the centre which had been set up in a small room in Ware In 1986. Originally it was a telephone service only but counsellors would go out to the homes of victims in pairs. This still continues and nowadays the centre has twelve trained women counsellors, all volunteers, one part time admin assistant and one part time

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

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

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While England’s men were battling it out in the final of the Cricket World Cup in June, St Albans Soroptimists Helen Byrne and Barbara Saunders (pictured here either side of the team with Helen on the left and Barbara on the right) were at Knebworth Cricket Club, supporting the under 14 girls playing their League final for the Audrey Collins Cup and Shield. after a summer of hard-fought matches. This season has been successful with regular matches at local clubs and several Festivals for the enthusiastic girls. The final was played in good spirits between St Albans and Bishop’s Stortford but St Albans had the competitive edge and won the match. There was lots of enthusiasm and skill on display from both teams, but good length bowling from the Bishop Stortford girls gave St Albans batters a chance to hit out, find the boundaries and

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

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

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Three Members of Soroptimist International St Albans and District, the local branch of the global women’s organisation, were delighted to present Sub Dean Abi Thompson with four framed Toilet Twinning Certificates for the new toilets at St Albans Cathedral. Pictured here in the hand washing area of the lovely new loos with Abi are, l to r,  Jane Slatter, Jean Eaton and Barbara Saunders. By donating £60 to the Toilet Twinning Charity to twin each of the toilets, it helps fund a project in a poor community that will enable families to build a basic toilet, have access to clean water and learn about hygiene – a vital combination that saves lives. Often girls can’t go to school because of lack of toilets, a situation that Members of Soroptimist International all over the world are working to address. Myanmar, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Zambia were

Student Volunteers Jenny and Sanaya Welcomed to Club Meeting

Student Volunteers Jenny and Sanaya Welcomed to Club Meeting

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Jenny Scotland from Harpenden, one of our student volunteers, has now graduated from Bristol University. Jenny came to our Club Meeting to reported back on her ICYE Inter-Cultural Youth Exchange 2 month project in Bolivia last year. Before she went the Club gave her a donation of £40 and she promised to come back and tell us about it. Jenny is pictured here with Club President Katherine Clark. Jenny’s presentation is available to download here Jenny Scotland Volunteering in Bolivia The charity she was working for is called Alalay and helps the street children from Santa Cruz in Bolivia. She worked in a cabana in a rural area with 1 permanent member of staff supporting 11 girls aged 6-17 all with very different needs. She lived with a host family to immerse herself in Bolivian life and was able to visit the city of Santa

Hot Soroptimist Womens Conference

Hot Soroptimist Womens Conference

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On the hottest day of the year attendees of the Soroptimist International London Chilterns Region Conference had their thoughts provoked by two inspirational speakers Janet Fyle MBE Policy Adviser at the Royal College of Midwives www.rcm.org.uk/promoting/professional-practice/violence-women-girls/ and Ruby Raut CEO and Co-founder of WUKA Periodwear  www.wuka.co.uk/pages/about The focus this year on mental health #SoroptimistThinkOnIt was covered by both of these speakers. They spoke about the impact on women and girls’ mental health from the taboos around having children and menstruation. The physical abuse of female genital mutilation (FGM) covered by Janet has serious mental health effects too. The topics covered at this conference show yet again that Soroptimists are not afraid to tackle difficult subjects. The title of Janet’s presentation was – The hidden harms – she split it into 2 parts – Mental Health – its effects on women and families from pregnancy to post birth and FGM – its physical and psychological impact throughout

Harpenden Child Contact Centre and Dress a Girl Around the World

Harpenden Child Contact Centre and Dress a Girl Around the World

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On Monday 24 June Brigid Brennan, Chair of the  Harpenden Child Contact Centre HCCC www.harpendenchildcontactcentre.org.uk  visited us to tell us about the services they provide. A Child Contact Centre is a safe, friendly and neutral place where children from separated families can spend time with one or both parents, and sometimes other family members. It is a child-centred environment that puts the needs of the children first. The HCCC is an accredited Member of the National Association of Child Contact Centres www.naccc.org.uk “Keeping children in touch with parents following separation” – there are around 350 Contact Centres in England. The key to the success of the arrangements is to facilitate the building of trust between children and their parents – the HCCC was set up 12 years ago because of the understanding of the importance for a child to have a relationship with both parents.

New Members and My Other Hat Evening

New Members and My Other Hat Evening

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We had a really inspiring and enjoyable Club Meeting on Monday 10 June. Mary Moran was officially welcomed to the Club. Mary is a poet, she moved to St Albans from the US many years ago and her family were originally from Syria. She is an interesting and talented woman with a passion to end violence against women and for the support and education of women and girls. We know Mary will be a real asset to our Club. We were able to get to know Mary a little better later in the evening when she read some of her thought-provoking poems to us. Mary is pictured here on the right laughing with President Katherine Clark as she accepts the hand (paw) of Soroptimist friendship from the Club’s mascot Sally Bear. Our speaker for the evening was our new Member Ann Beatty, who joined the

Women’s Refuge supported at Wesley Coffee Shop‏

Women’s Refuge supported at Wesley Coffee Shop‏

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Pictured here are St Albans Soroptimist baristas Jean Eaton, Janet Audley-Charles and Joan WIlliams with John Powell, our Member Denise Powell’s husband, who completed the team on the 1 June. Joan Williams and Wesleys have both been nominated in the Mums Guide to Harpenden Awards – voting opens Sat 8 June and closes on Fri 21 June – just click here www.mumsguideto.co.uk/harpenden/awards.php Coffee mornings at the Wesley Coffee Shop are a great way for us to swell the coffers for our Club’s charities – this time we raised a tasty £75 for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge We’ll be doing it again so watch this space and you can drop in any day for Coffee/Tea and Yummy Cakes at Wesley’s Cafe High Street, Harpenden – www.highstreetmethodist.org.uk/wesleys/

Alisha Mirza, Inspirational ICS Volunteer, reports back from Tanzania

Alisha Mirza, Inspirational ICS Volunteer, reports back from Tanzania

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On Monday 13 May we were delighted to welcome Alisha Mirza back to the Club to report on her trip with ICS International Citizen Service www.volunteerics.org to Kamachumu in Tanzania. To see Alisha’s presentation, which includes lots of wonderful photographs of her experiences, please download by clicking here Alisha Mirza Volunteer Tanzania SI presentation Alisha Mirza, 23 and a marine biology graduate from Welwyn Garden City is going to start her training as a midwife at KCL from this September. The ICS work with VSO to send volunteers from the UK to work on overseas projects. Last September we were able to send Alisha off with £92 towards the £800 she had to raise to part-fund the 10 week trip to work on “Rise Income for School” which is part of the mission for a “world without poverty”. While Alisha was there, she stayed with

Celebration of Soroptimist Support for Girls Cricket in Hertfordshire

Celebration of Soroptimist Support for Girls Cricket in Hertfordshire

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The St Albans Soroptimists held a celebration on 8 April in support of girls’ cricket in Hertfordshire, The Club’s support for girls’ cricket is a legacy of their late Member Audrey Collins OBE who died in 2010. Audrey was an inspirational Soroptimist – a pioneer of Women’s cricket and a trail blazer for women. Please read more about the legacy project here : www.sigbi.org/st-albans/charities/cricket/ During the evening we heard back first-hand from the young women who went to the first ever County Ladies tour to Sri Lanka last autumn. Our sponsorship included kit bags (one is in the photo) so that the team looked professional at all times – there is more about the tour on the website www.sigbi.org/st-albans-and-district/2018/cricket-tour/ Supporting women and girls sport is really important for mental health and personal development – clearly demonstrated by the attitude and determination of the girls and young women involved in

Katie Waite Fundraising to attend the World Scout Jamboree in USA

Katie Waite Fundraising to attend the World Scout Jamboree in USA

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The Club was delighted to welcome Katie Waite to their meeting. Katie is from Girlguiding Hertfordshire and runs a Girl Guide group in Radlett. She is fundraising to attend the World Scout Jamboree for 3 weeks in West Virginia USA 22 July www.2019wsj.org  please take a look at the website it looks amazing! The World Scout Jamboree is an educational event that brings together the world’s Scouts to promote peace and mutual understanding and to develop leadership and life skills. They are expecting 50,000 guides and scouts from around the world! Katie was selected as one of the leaders for the trip from Hertfordshire who are taking a group of 40 children. Each place costs £4000 which has to be raised by each individual. The Club gave Katie a cheque from the Club for £40. Katie is pictured above receiving her cheque from Club President Linda

Quizzically Successful Night

Quizzically Successful Night

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The Soroptimist annual quiz night was a great event as always! We raised close to £750 for the St Albans & Hertsmere and Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuges plus charities providing learning opportunities for women and girls. Well done to the winning team – it was a close result! Thanks so much to everyone who came along on Sat 23 March and made it such a winner! Special thanks, of course, must also go to all of our Club Members and supporters who worked hard on the night to ensure the event was so much fun.