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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 Kathy 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 Kathy, 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

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