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July 2023

July began with our Regional AGM in the beautiful village of Cheddon Fitzpaine in Somerset. Representatives from St Austell & District met with 15 other clubs, which make up the South West and Channel Islands region. Lindsay Green Federation Programme Director spoke passionately about the future and importance of soroptimism. Janice Bardwell told tales of the ‘lady from the sanitary’, an amusing and inspirational speech. SI Jersey won the Ellen Brawn Programme Action Award. It was great to meet with friends from other clubs, share ideas and listen to our invited guests.

Our representatives at the AGM
Janice Bardwell – the Lady from the Sanitary
Regional President Valerie with Federation Programme Director Lindsay
Jersey Soroptimists accepting the Ellen Brawn Award








On the same day other St Austell and District Soroptimists were enjoying a boat trip up the River Fowey from Fowey to Lerryn and back. The weather was gorgeous and the afternoon was ‘topped off’ with a cream tea and a glass or fizz! Thanks to our Social Committee for organising this experience.

The soroptimist crew!
A lovely view up the Fowey River
Enjoying the journey
AJ serving the cream tea!







At our July Club meeting we focussed, for a while, on our own well-being with a gentle exercise session with Lesley Pallett of Zenara Therapeutics. We welcomed new club member Alison Palmer to our team with our special ‘badging’ ceremony. We then returned to our ‘keeping climate positive’ pledges activity that we had started in June. We are currently collating everyone’s pledges.

A well being session with Lesley Pallet from Zenara Therapeutics
Presentation to Lesley Pallett
Welcome to new club member Alison Palmer







Through the kind legacy of a local man, Andrew Flint, our club sponsors teams of girls to enter the First Lego League Challenge. On the 10th July club members attended Sandy Hill Primary School in St Austell to see how the girls have built, coded and programmed their robot to carry out specific tasks. The team at Sandy Hill is one of the three teams that the club have sponsored this year to enter the competition. What a joy it was to witness their outstanding skill, enthusiasm, resilience and commitment to working as a team throughout the demonstration.

Watching the girls team with their lego robot.







In this month we were thrilled to receive the first photos from Hannah in Ghana – Hannah and her school friends had a great first day meeting children at the school they will be working with. They will soon start teaching, coaching and building! We were pleased to support Hannah and we’re looking forward to sharing her experiences when she returns home!

Hannah surrounded by children in Ghana
Hannah at the school in Ghana
A girl and baby in Ghana
Hannah in Ghana







Saturday 15th July was our Soroptimist Day of Action and our team were out and about improving the local environment. A very big thank you to the soroptimist sisters and one ‘soroptimister’ who kindly undertook our litter pick. The group cleared three paths near to West Hill Co-op in St Austell and filled at least a dozen rubbish bags and collected a few random items! A number of members of the public expressed their appreciation, which was lovely. The weather wasn’t too kind but we are hardy souls!!

We filled lots of bags with collected rubbish!
Happy soroptimists!
Women at work!
Soroptimist Wendy in all of the right gear for the job!







A large group of club members were honoured to visit the Cornwall Air Ambulance on 18th July. We enjoyed a guided tour ‘airport side’ after passing all of our security checks. We were amazed at the complexity of the helicopter and of the medical equipment within it. The fundraising team at this charity have to work very hard to raise sufficient funds to keep this valuable service operational. Well done to the people of Cornwall who recognise the value of this service and give so generously. Our club is proud to support Cornwall Air Ambulance and Cornwall Air Ambulance Charity Shops

President Jill and Soroptimist Mersedeh attended the final assembly of the academic year at Pondhu Primary School. This assembly celebrates the hard work, effort and resilience of the pupils over the school year. Jill and Mersedeh presented the Carol Jennings Memorial Award. Carol Jennings was a Soroptimist of SI St Austell & District but also the very first headteacher of Pondhu School and was in post for 21 years.
In memory of Carol the award is presented to two pupils (one from KS 1 and one from KS 2) each year in order to celebrate their achievements and outstanding contribution to the school as well as their fellow pupils.
Presenting the Carol Jennings Award 2023
Carol Jennings Awards
This year the winners of the Carol Jennings Award are

Piper Belcham (KS1)

Aidan Teece (KS2)

Well done to all!!





On Sunday 22nd July, President Jill, along with Soroptimists Julie, Liane, Rowena and Mary attended the Open Afternoon at Penrice House in St Austell to celebrate their 50th anniversary of the bequeathment of Penrice House to the local community to be used as a residential home. Our club has a strong connection with Penrice House and it was wonderful to hear the fascinating history of both the house and the Graves-Sawles family as well as the local history of the area from Amanda Allan. We also enjoyed the wonderful singing from Mevagissey Male Voice Choir.

On Tuesday 25th July we held our first ‘Orange Cafe‘. This was at Par Garden Centre and we were very pleased with the turn out from club members. This Programme Action event was about raising awareness of the need to campaign against gender based violence. Soroptimists are committed to ending all forms of violence. Gender based violence is a violation of human rights and affects the ability of women and girls to reach their full potential and participate in society. We took our banner and leaflets and dressed in orange. As well as enjoying some coffee and cake together we spoke to members of the public about this campaign and even found a couple of potential new members! We intend to hold an ‘Orange Cafe’ on the 25th of each month across the next year.
This very busy month ended with a trip to Dublin for the Soroptimist International 3 day Convention. This event is held every four years and moves around the world. We have a whole page dedicated to this event because of it’s significance. Follow the link to find out more!