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Mon 27 Sep Zoom 7.30pm – Step Up to COP26 Whilst Stepping Down Carbon Footprints

Mon 27 Sep Zoom 7.30pm – Step Up to COP26 Whilst Stepping Down Carbon Footprints

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On Mon 27 Sep  Zoom 7.30pm to 9pm Soroptimist International St Albans and District invite you to “Step Up to COP26  Whilst Stepping Down Carbon Footprints”. Book now on  Eventbrite – please click on this link: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/step-up-to-cop26-whilst-stepping-down-carbon-footprints-tickets-170144232981 On booking you will be asked if you would like to make a voluntary donation to Friends of the Earth, there is no pressure to do this but any donations will be gratefully received. Learn and share 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.  Led by our Member and Carbon Literacy Trainer Linda Shall this Zoom session is open to all women and aims to build knowledge of the current environmental challenge, the need for Britain to step up to lead through COP26 and engaging with the Count Us In campaign www.count-us-in.org

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

Soroptimist St Albans Museum Orange the World for 16 Days of Activism
Orange The World Nov 25 – Dec 10 to End Gender Based Violence

Orange The World Nov 25 – Dec 10 to End Gender Based Violence

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Join St Albans & District Soroptimists to Orange the world! We need your help to turn St Albans and neighbouring towns and villages orange  to raise awareness of gender-based violence and domestic abuse in Hertfordshire. Between 25 November – 10 December 2021, buildings all over the world will be lighting up Orange in solidarity with the UN campaign to ‘Orange the World’, raising awareness of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-base Violence. The colour orange is used to show solidarity with the movement to end violence against women and girls around the world. Soroptimist International St Albans and District, the local branch of the global women’s organisation, is reaching out to local Hertfordshire organisations to encourage as many buildings as possible across the county to join the campaign and light up ‘Orange’. We started this in 2020 when the wonderful and pioneering St. Albans museum

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 (in the pic right) and Vivien Sheehan (in the pic centre) about OWCH Older Womens Co-housing for over 50’s www.owch.org.uk.  They showed the excellent video on their website (13 mins) called Senior Co-housing The Way We Do It which explained how it works. Ann Beatty (in the pic left), one of our Members, invited Charlotte and Vivien to tell us about because they all live at the OWCH New Ground Co-housing in Barnet. Our Members asked lots of

Five 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.        

Networking at St Albans Girls School on International Womens Day

Networking at St Albans Girls School on International Womens Day

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St Albans Soroptimists Kat Clark and Jane Slatter were delighted to attend the St Albans Girls’ School International Women’s Day Inspiring Women Careers Event for Year 8 and Year 12 Students. These girls all have a great future – we hope we helped to inspire them! Soroptimists have been participating in this annual event since it’s inception.                           Thanks to STAGS for the montage image.

Are Women Their Own Worst Enemy? Inspiring Womens Day Debate

Are Women Their Own Worst Enemy? Inspiring Womens Day Debate

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Are women their own worst enemy? an International Women’s Day debate… The panel and audience discussed the question: Are Women their own worst enemy? the answer: yes and no – it’s complicated!   St Albans Soroptimists and sponsors, *The Talent Keeper Specialists held a lively debate with an expert panel. The event was broadcast live and is available as a podcast from  www.radioverulam.com/show/the-parents-show/ listen again to 7 March at 8pm   Please click on the link below to scroll through photographs from the event. [new_royalslider id=”14″] We were delighted to welcome the Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Councillor Rosemary Farmer to the event. Animated discussions covered: equality, women and employability, domestic abuse, health, societal and media pressure on women and how women experience the criminal justice system. The event was chaired by The Thinking Woman’s Coach, *Dr Jessica Chivers and the panelists

Two Toilets Twinned at St Albans Museum and Gallery

Two Toilets Twinned at St Albans Museum and Gallery

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Following Soroptimist International St Albans and District World Toilet Day event last year (please see the web page for more about it www.sigbi.org/st-albans/2018/toilet18/ ) we have been able to present St Albans Museum and Gallery with another Toilet Twinning certificate so now both of the ground floor toilets have been twinned – one is twinned with Afghanistan and the other with Zambia. Caroline Eldred, Trustee of St Albans Museum and Gallery is pictured here in one of the loos receiving the Toilet Twinning Certicates from Soroptimist Communications Officer Jane Slatter on her left and Past Club President Rita Andrews on her right. NB: we did get some funny looks having our picture taken in the loo – and we had to move out of the way a few times – these loos are very popular! Thanks to the Herts Advertiser for running our story: www.hertsad.co.uk/news/st-albans-museum-gallery-toilets-twinned-with-loos-in-afghanistan-and-zambia-1-5894359 We are planning

Refuges, Life Talk, Blankets, Birthday – what a busy Club Open Evening!

Refuges, Life Talk, Blankets, Birthday – what a busy Club Open Evening!

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On Monday 28 Jan we were thrilled to be able to make donations to the St Albans and Hertsmere and the Welwyn Hatfield women’s refuges. Sara and Liz from SAHWR are pictured to the right of President Linda with a cheque for £1000. Unfortunately Dee from WHWR was not able to join us for the evening so her cheque has been sent separately. Liz and Sara gave us an update on what has been happening with the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge since they last visited us. They said we have supported for so many years now as our “annual” Club charity that they almost feel like part of the furniture! The services of the Refuges are now contracted to the larger organisation “Safer Places” which has been a big change for everyone to get used to (and which will be due for renewal in 2020). Liz and

Soroptimists Provide Interview Practice at St Albans Girls School

Soroptimists Provide Interview Practice at St Albans Girls School

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Four Soroptimists volunteered this year to take part in St Albans Girls School (STAGS) “Big Interview day” for year 11 (GCSE year) students. Pictured here are Barbara Saunders and Amanda Brown. Debbie Tankard and Jane Slatter were also conducting parallel interviews. As part of the careers programme at St Albans Girls’ School, they offer a mock interview to every year 11 student on a day called “The Big Interview”. Each student has a half hour interview based on CV’s they have prepared in school and receive verbal and written feedback. The event has been running the for the past 6 years, and it is very well received by students, for some of whom it is their first interview experience. Soroptimists have been involved for the last 4 years and have found meeting the girls a real inspiration – a win win for everyone involved!  

100 pounds Easyfundraising Prize | Pants for SmallsForAll

100 pounds Easyfundraising Prize | Pants for SmallsForAll

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In November our Club signed up for EasyFundraising  please see the SIGBI website for more info www.sigbi.org/members/clubs/easyfundraising/ When the Club signed up were were entered into a prize draw and St Albans & District Soroptimists were the lucky winners of £100 to spend with Amazon! We decided to spend all of the money on pants! 114 pairs for women and girls – see the screen-shots below. The Club already supports a charity called SmallsforAll and has collected loads of gently worn bras but needed to send more pants (in packets) with their donations see the Club website for more information www.sigbi.org/st-albans/charities/bras/ On hearing the news about winning the prize Club Secretary Barbara Saunders said to Easyfundraising “This is fantastic news! I was initially a bit suspicious about easyfundraising – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is – or so the warnings go!  But this has been

Christmas Gifts for Womens Refuges

Christmas Gifts for Womens Refuges

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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 and the Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuges. Santa’s got a right sackful here! We know the women are thrilled at Christmas to know that we’re thinking about them and we hope it brings them a little bit of Christmas cheer and hope for a happy new year!

Womens Refuges Benefit from Soroptimist Christmas Carols

Womens Refuges Benefit from Soroptimist Christmas Carols

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We hope we gave the St Albans commuters a bit of Christmas cheer with our annual Soroptimist carol singing on Mon 3 Dec at St Albans City Station. We collected a much-needed £380 for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge and the  Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuge.  We were joined again this year by a very festive Jules the dog who encouraged donations by making sure he got lots of strokes as people went by! One commuter said “thanks for what you’re doing to support the refuges – you sound great!” This year we were recorded on quite a few smart phones and some children just had to join in by singing and dancing with us which was great fun! Funding cuts and increased demand mean that Refuges need additional funding now more than ever before. Thanks to the Herts Advertiser for covering our story www.hertsad.co.uk/news/st-albans-soroptimists-carol-singing-1-5813657 This event is timed

Soroptimists Volunteer on Watling View School Christmas Stall

Soroptimists Volunteer on Watling View School Christmas Stall

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This year Watling View School for pupils with profound learning difficulties have had a Christmas Stall on Wednesdays for 5 weeks from 14 Nov to 12 Dec on St Albans Market 10am to 2pm. Students from the school made and prepared plants and crafts as Christmas gifts to sell to raise funds for the school. Staff and volunteers from the St Albans Soroptimist Club helped the pupils and staff with the stall. The weather wasn’t very kind to us and sales were slow but it has been a great experience for the students to learn about making things and selling them and it hasn’t stopped us singing on the stall and having a bit of Christmas fun! Thanks to the The Herts Advertiser for this lovely photo and item in the paper www.hertsad.co.uk/news/watling-view-school-christmas-1-5798721

Toilet Twinning and World Toilet Day 2018

Toilet Twinning and World Toilet Day 2018

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On Monday 12 Nov the Club held a lively and busy meeting to mark World Toilet Day  with a bottle sale, speaker and presentation of a Twinned Toilet certificate to Caroline Eldred and Cllr Annie Brewster from the St Albans Museum and Gallery. Please click on this link to find out more about Toilet Twinning Annie Brewster (centre), portfolio holder for Culture and Sport, and Caroline Eldred (right) from St Albans Museum and Gallery are pictured here with Club President Linda Shall receiving their framed Toilet Twinning Certicate – destined for the Ground Floor loo in the new St Albans Museum and Gallery. Catherine Fenton, an artist, interpreter and translator for child protection gave an inspirational talk about how she became involved in Toilet Twinning (see picture of Catherine). She had an idea of doing something through her art for World Toilet Day. 2.3 billion people have