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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

St Albans Soroptimists Support Herts Girls Cricket Tour to Sri Lanka

St Albans Soroptimists Support Herts Girls Cricket Tour to Sri Lanka

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Soroptimist International St Albans and District have supported the Hertfordshire Girls Cricket Tour to Sri Lanka 25 Oct to 5 Nov 2018. Their coach Jonathan Cirkel sent us these images from the airport en-route to Colombo. The tour party comprises 15 girls, plus Jonathan as coach and a representative of the county office. Amy Price, Captain of the Herts Ladies Cricket Team is on the tour and pictured holding the banner on the left. Our financial support helped pay for the kit bags for the team – as you can see they are very proud of them and the bags look great with our logo on them! This is part of the Club’s Audrey Collins legacy project – see this web page for more information www.sigbi.org/st-albans/charities/cricket – Audrey Collins OBE was a past Member of the Club who played for England’s women’s cricket team and was a pioneer in

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

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

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

New Term, New Member Jude and ICS Volunteer Alisha

New Term, New Member Jude and ICS Volunteer Alisha

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

Novel Bookstall Raises Funds for Refuges on Literacy Day

Novel Bookstall Raises Funds for Refuges on Literacy Day

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

Knitting with Benefits

Knitting with Benefits

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

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

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

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

Domestic Abuse and Options for Victims – interactive evening

Domestic Abuse and Options for Victims – interactive evening

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

Soroptimists Support Girls Cricket Festival

Soroptimists Support Girls Cricket Festival

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

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

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

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

Home-Start and a Working Gap-Year in Nepal

Home-Start and a Working Gap-Year in Nepal

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

Club Celebrates Girls and Womens Cricket in Hertfordshire

Club Celebrates Girls and Womens Cricket in Hertfordshire

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

Women and Men Voted Soroptimist Quiz Night a Winner

Women and Men Voted Soroptimist Quiz Night a Winner

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

Soroptimists Provide Interview Practice at St Albans Girls School

Soroptimists Provide Interview Practice at St Albans Girls School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Collecting Bras and Bottle Tops

Collecting Bras and Bottle Tops

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The St Albans Soroptimists are collecting barely worn bras and new women’s and children’s knickers and pants (in packets please). This is part of the “Smalls for All” initiative – sending underwear to Africa to help women and children. Please see www.smallsforall.org for more info. To arrange collection/delivery please email sistalbans@hotmail.com or use the “Contact Us” facility on this website.           What do you do with your plastic milk bottle tops? We collect all colours for special added value recycling. We give them to our local LUSH store uk.lush.com/shop/st-albans where they are later transformed into packing crates – what a fab sustainability initiatve! To arrange collection/delivery please email sistalbans@hotmail.com or use the “Contact Us” facility on this website.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hidden Impact of Violence against Women

The Hidden Impact of Violence against Women

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

Girl Guide Sophie back from her Nepalese Adventure

Girl Guide Sophie back from her Nepalese Adventure

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

Dragons Apprentice Challenge Evening

Dragons Apprentice Challenge Evening

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

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

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

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

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint One Step at a Time

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint One Step at a Time

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

International Citizen Hazel goes to Cambodia with VSO

International Citizen Hazel goes to Cambodia with VSO

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

Club Twins Three Toilets

Club Twins Three Toilets

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

60 for 60 – what a diamond year!

60 for 60 – what a diamond year!

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

Dragon’s Apprentice Challenge Finale – Fundraising for Rennie Grove Hospice

Dragon’s Apprentice Challenge Finale – Fundraising for Rennie Grove Hospice

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Soroptimist Dragons Jennie Redford and Jane Slatter were delighted to attend the 2017 Dragons Apprentice Awards Evening at the University of Hertfordshire. Fellow Soroptimist Jean Eaton, also attended as an Ambassador for Rennie Grove Hospice.Team Elite from St Albans Girls’ School (STAGS) were joined by supporting Teacher Helen Glanvill. Team Elite from Year 12 at STAGS completed their fundraising for Rennie Grove Hospice  and raised a brilliant £848.75 in spite of loads of setbacks! To quote a TV Apprentice the team had “bouncebackability”. Team Elite also won the award for the best poster on the evening which was very well deserved. To read more about how the girls raised the money please read this news item www.sigbi.org/st-albans/2016/dragons/ They were certainly very busy – impressive at such a busy stage in their school lives! The awards evening was a celebration of the hard work of all the Teams involved – including the

Glittering Diamond Celebrations for St Albans Soroptimists

Glittering Diamond Celebrations for St Albans Soroptimists

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Glittering Weekend of Diamond Celebrations for our Club – Women Serving the St Albans Community Since 1957 The highlight of our weekend of celebrations was the glittering diamond gala dinner on Saturday night at Aldwickbury Park Golf Club in Harpenden. Guests of Honour were Countess Verulam Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire and Ann Hodgson President of Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland, pictured here with Soroptimist International St Albans and District Club President Denise Powell. We were delighted to welcome visitors from all of our Club’s Soroptimist Friendship Link Clubs: Warsaw Poland, Chico USA, Muenster Germany and Osaka Japan (see picture of Osaka Members with Beatriz Sampson and Helen Byrne). We welcomed Soroptimist dignitaries and Members of Soroptimist Clubs from across the UK including Brixham, Bedford, Cambridge, Cwmbran, Glasgow, Southport, Widnes, Winchester, and from many of the Clubs in our Region: Bedford, Hertford, High Wycombe, Oxford, two

Is it Still a Mans World? Yes but… Conclusion of the International Womens Day Debate

Is it Still a Mans World? Yes but… Conclusion of the International Womens Day Debate

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Is it Still a Man’s World? Yes but…… The women’s group Soroptimist International St Albans and District hosted a lively 2 hour long debate marking International Women’s Day and the Club’s 60th Anniversary on Tuesday 7 March at The Maltings Arts Theatre St Albans. It was broadcast live on Radio Verulam and is available to download and listen to now  Please scroll through the photos below as you listen and you can imagine you were there! This event marked the United Nations International Women’s Day 2017 [new_royalslider id=”5″]       This event was introduced by Denise Powell, President of the St Albans Soroptimist Club and chaired by business expert and academic Roma Bhowmick. The panellists (L to R) were Siobhan Godley tax partner in a London law firm, Aline Bavister from the pharmaceutical industry, Jenny Brown Headteacher of St Albans High School for Girls, Amy Whitehead Commonwealth medallist, Commander Catherine Jordan Royal Navy and Annie Brewster Councillor and

Soroptimists Provide Interview Practice at St Albans Girls School

Soroptimists Provide Interview Practice at St Albans Girls School

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Five Soroptimists volunteered this year to take part in St Albans Girls School (STAGS) “Big Interview day” for year 11 (GCSE year) students. Pictured here l to r are Pamela Rochford, Jennie Redford, Denise Powell, Amanda Brown and Barbara Saunders. 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 15 minute 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 5 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 2 years and have found meeting the girls a real inspiration – a win win for everyone involved! Soroptimist International St Albans

Coffee for the Refuge at the Wesley Coffee Shop‏

Coffee for the Refuge at the Wesley Coffee Shop‏

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Soroptimist Baristas at Wesley’s Church Coffee Shop High Street Harpenden Pictured here are St Albans Soroptimist  baristas Joan WIlliams, Allyson Walker, Jean Eaton, Denise Powell and Janet Audley-Charles. Coffee mornings at the Wesley Coffee Shop are a great way for us to swell the coffers for our Club’s charity – this year it’s the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge – we raised £75 on 7th January! We’ll be doing it again on 18 March between 10am and 12.30 so please drop in for Coffee and Yummy Cakes at Wesley’s Cafe High Street, Harpenden – www.highstreetmethodist.org.uk/wesleys/ fundraising for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge Soroptimist International St Albans and District – Women Serving the St Albans Community Since 1957 The Club will celebrate its Diamond Anniversary in April 2017, and these events are a “60 for 60″ production……..        

Carol Singing Success at Harpenden Station for Womens Refuge

Carol Singing Success at Harpenden Station for Womens Refuge

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Soroptimist Carol Singing at Harpenden station – fundraised more than £500 for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge – and marked Human Rights Day. This year the group had to switch to Harpenden Station instead of St Albans at late notice so the £501.87 feels more like a million dollars! Thanks so much to the generous Harpenden Travellers, and to all the singers including some extra friends and supporters who joined us on the night. Recent funding cuts and increased demand mean that the Refuge needs additional funding now more than ever before. This news was also reported in the St Albans and Harpenden Review Afterwards many Club Members went to Pasta Cibo in Harpenden for a delicious meal, a welcome warm up and to wish one other season’s greetings! Club Members also made donations of £58, in lieu of sending one another Christmas cards, to the International

Dragons Apprentice Challenge Update

Dragons Apprentice Challenge Update

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The Dragon’s Apprentice Challenge Team Elite from St Albans Girls’ School STAGS (the team the Club is Dragon to), have got their fundraising off to a great start for Rennie Grove Hospice  raising nearly £250 already. They held a fashion show, and also sold amusingly packaged sweets at the school Christmas Fair. Scroll through the images in the slideshow below and you will see two of the girls modelling, plus a brave teacher Mrs Glanvill and Soroptimist Dragon Jane Slatter – and some sample packets of sweets. [new_royalslider id=”3″] In November, Team Elite from the St Albans Dragons‘ Apprentice Challenge were awarded an invitation to the launch of  Fair Life Charity in Portcullis House Westminster with a visit to Parliament – with Soroptimist “Dragon” Jennie Redford (pictured centre). Dragons Apprentice Challenge were awarded a certificate for their work with students in local schools.  The other team there was from Oaklands College. The Fairlife Charity raises

SuStAinable St Albans Evening – FoodCycle and Spice Drops

SuStAinable St Albans Evening – FoodCycle and Spice Drops

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The St Albans Soroptimist Club had an inspirational evening as part of SuStAinable St Albans 2016. Group Members plus many guests explored sustainability with informative talks from FoodCycle and Spice Drops – this event was part of Sustainable St Albans Week 19-26 Nov Ellie Jenkins from Sustainable St Albans said “I had a great time, everyone was very welcoming and I thought the quality of talks was fantastic-thank you so much for being involved in the week!”                                                                                                                                              

World Toilet Day, 90th Birthday and Refuge Gifts – busy Club meeting!

World Toilet Day, 90th Birthday and Refuge Gifts – busy Club meeting!

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It was a busy Club Meeting on Nov 7th – the Club Marked “World Toilet Day” by having a bottle sale which raised £67.55 for “Toilet Twinning” www.toilettwinning.org – in addition Members took away disposable recycled coffee cups and  will “spend a penny” between now and our Meeting on Jan 16th. For every £60 we raise we can twin a toilet with a loo halfway around the world, in a country of our choosing. On the same evening we celebrated Sheila Chadwick’s 90th Birthday with a beautiful cake. Sheila also gave a “life talk” – filled with so many stories of how she has benefited the St Albans Community with her career in social health and still continuing her support of the Armoral Hill Day Centre for the elderly to this day. Every year Club Members donate lovely Christmas presents for the clients at the St Albans and

St Albans Soroptimists are in Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge 2017

St Albans Soroptimists are in Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge 2017

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The Dragons Apprentice Challenge is run by CVS St Albans (Centre for Voluntary Service) . Over 80 ambitious students have taken up the Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge this year across St Albans and Harpenden; 11 different teams will compete over the next few months to increase their £100 start up cash into over £1000 by mid-February.  There are 11 Teams of Year 12 students from schools across St Albans and Harpenden this year. The launch which was held on Tuesday 4th October and hosted by Loreto College, where the teams were matched with a Dragon and with a charity partner. This is the first year that St Albans Soroptimists have been Dragons and we are delighted to be matched with St Albans Girls School (STAGS) and the charity Rennie Grove Hospice The Club has close links with the school and has supported the charity for many years. Soroptimist Jennie

Soroptimist helps StAR and HWSF sort donated goods for refugees

Soroptimist helps StAR and HWSF sort donated goods for refugees

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Soroptimist Pamela Rochford (pictured 3rd from right at the back) spent a busy morning at the garage sorting out items with Herts Welcomes Syrian Families and StAR to take to refugee camps. The Club recently held a meeting to find out more about the refugee crisis from StAR and HWSF www.sigbi.org/st-albans/2016/hwsf/ and also supported a Curry-night fundraiser www.sigbi.org/st-albans/2016/curry/   Soroptimist International St Albans and District – Women Serving the St Albans Community Since 1957 The Club will celebrate its Diamond Anniversary in April 2017, and this event is a “60 for 60″ production……..      

Girls Cricket – Abbots Langley U13 – Winners of Soroptimist Audrey Collins Trophy 2016 – for the 3rd Year Running!

Girls Cricket – Abbots Langley U13 – Winners of Soroptimist Audrey Collins Trophy 2016 – for the 3rd Year Running!

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A grey start turned into a nice sunny morning as we watched 2 talented teams of U13 Girls battle it out for the Soroptimist Girls Under 13’s Audrey Collins Cricket Trophy. The finalists this year were the holders Abbots Langley and Stevenage. Soroptimist Club President Denise presented the Abbots Langley team with the shield and trophy and in the 2nd picture both teams of girls are intermingled as suggested by the girls’ coaches. A 20 over game based on the rules of Kwik Cricket, this is enjoyment for, and fair play by, all players in the team. Teams start the innings with 200 on the board and runs are added either by the batting side scoring runs or the bowlers bowling wides or no balls (2 run penalty awarded to the batting side).    5 runs are deducted when a batter is deemed to be out but the batter

£2075 Raised for the Womens Refuge!

£2075 Raised for the Womens Refuge!

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Liz Perry, Manager of the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge was delighted to receive a cheque for £2075 raised by the St Albans & District Soroptimists in the Club Year 2015/16. Liz is pictured here (centre) receiving the cheque from Club President Denise Powell (right), and the Club’s liaison with the Refuge, Jennie Redford (left). Liz said the money would pay for their annual trip to the seaside and for a visit from the amazing Ark Farm to the Refuge. She was very appreciative of the personal donations of refreshment items from the members. As well as fundraising, the club provides tea, coffee and sugar for the Refuge (because “there is almost nothing that can’t be made better by a cup of tea”) household items to help women leaving the Refuge get started in a new home and Christmas gifts. Liz said how grateful the Refuge is for

Revealing Refugee Update for Soroptimist Club and Guests

Revealing Refugee Update for Soroptimist Club and Guests

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What is happening about the refugee crisis in St Albans and Hertfordshire? was the question being answered at the Club’s meeting where Soroptimist Members and guests heard revealing updates from Herts Welcomes Syrian Families (HWSF), STAR (St Albans Refugees). A presentation about the Badael report on women’s peace initiatives in Syria gave context to the humanitarian crisis and hope for the future in Syria with women as the key to peace and rebuilding. In the photograph are Soroptimist Members of the SEW Team (Sustainability, Environment and Wellbeing) who hosted the evening, Liz Needham and Farhat Zia from STAR plus Catherine Henderson and Katie Seaton from HWSF. Catherine Henderson from “Herts Welcomes Syrian Families” hwsf.weebly.com #refugeeswelcome explained the scheme, sponsored by the Government’s Depertment for International Development (DfID), to resettle Syrian families with vulnerable family Members who will have the right to remain in the UK for 5 years. HWSF started out

Successful Theatre Charity Night Raises £1000 for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge!

Successful Theatre Charity Night Raises £1000 for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge!

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The Charity Night at the Abbey Theatre St Albans raised almost £1000 for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge! Huge thanks to Soroptimist Jean Eaton who organised the event (pictured introducing The Charity Night at the Abbey Theatre St Albans raised almost £1000 for the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge! Huge thanks to Soroptimist Jean Eaton who organised the event (pictured introducing the evening) and everyone who supported us! The picture below is of Soroptimist Club Members helping on the night – including adding £150 to the proceeds from the raffle – great work ladies.      Charity Night in aid of www.stalbansandhertsmerewomensrefuge.org.uk   . Soroptimist International St Albans and District Women Serving the St Albans Community Since 1957 The Club will celebrate its Diamond Anniversary in April 2017, and this event is a “60 for 60” production……..

Birth Companions: Pregnancy in Prison – the harsh truth

Birth Companions: Pregnancy in Prison – the harsh truth

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St Albans & District Soroptimists and guests had an excellent evening where they learnt about what it’s like to be pregnant in prison. Both speakers were subject matter experts, and were keen to tell us about the Birth Charter for women in prisons in England and Wales being launched on May 26th www.birthcompanions.org.uk/Birth-Charter – there is a link on the page to get on the mailing list to receive the document. Pregnant Mothers often feel dehumanised, many already have mental health issues and the way they are treated through pregnancy, birth and postnatally can lead to worsening mental and physical wellbeing. Our speakers (pictured right) were Laura Abbott, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery, University of Herts who shared her research which provides a vivid picture of life for pregnant women in prison and Naomi Delap, Director of the Charity, Birth Companions www.birthcompanions.org.uk who explained how their volunteers seek to alleviate some