Club News

Saturday 10 November 2018

We ended our first collection in aid of Smalls for All – a charity providing new and gently used bras and new knickers to women and girls in Africa.  The underwear enables many of the girls to continue going to school and helps protect women from unwanted attention!!  Our collection points (and many thanks to them) are the Borough Hall in Godalming and Surrey Butchers, 39 High Street, Godalming.  We were delighted to collect 69 bras and 25 pairs of knickers!!!





Monday 29 October 2018

Soroptimists RSCH 16.07.14 020

We held the fourth of our regular bookstalls of 2018 at the Royal Surrey County Hospital and raised approximately £100 for the Safe Delivery Trust, part of the RSCH’s maternity unit. This follows our bookstalls supporting the dedicated Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit which will create a dedicated area for those who are experiencing problems and perhaps loss in their pregnancy.  We raised over £500 for that project.

We were also delighted to receive a Certificate from the Royal Surrey Hospital thanking us for our work over the last 3 years or so and for raising over £1300 for the various projects.



Saturday 24 October 2018 – Member Ruth appointed to the Board of SIGBI

SI Surrey Hills is delighted that member Ruth, a Finance Director, has been recently elected Finance Director to the Board of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland. Her role will now involve managing the finances of the 8,000 member organisation, spread across 350 clubs in 29 countries and which has recently gained charitable status.

Ruth, has been a Soroptimist since 2003 and has played an active role in local club projects such as Smalls for All and supporting the local women’s refuge, as well as serving as Regional President of Southern England from 2015-17.  She has also used her skills to organise and run the annual conference of the organisation in Brighton in 2011, and has since delivered the role of Finance Director for the Federation’s Conference in Cardiff in 2017.

Ruth says, “I’m delighted to be able to use my business skills and experience to help this organisation, which works so hard to transform the lives of women and girls worldwide.  I am particularly excited to be able to help the Federation address the challenges associated with the recent granting of charitable status.”

Ruth’s grandmother, mother and aunts were all members of Soroptimist International in South Wales and her cousin is a member of Soroptimist International of Swansea.


October 2018  We delivered the second batch of toiletry packs for the End of Life and Bereavement Team at the Royal Surrey County Hospital.  This was a new project begun in 2018 and to date, over 40 packs have been assembled and delivered.  SI Surrey Hills have been asked to supply these packs because of our ongoing work with the Childrens’ ward (see below).  We are delighted to help the Hospital and those affected in this way.  Please do help us with this work by delivering unused mini size toiletries to Mark at The Model Shop in Farncombe.


Saturday 21 October 2018 – Smalls for All

Start of our new project Smalls for All – aiming to collect new and gently used bras and new knickers to support women and girls in Africa.  Our collection points (and many thanks to them) are the Borough Hall in Godalming and Surrey Butchers, 39 High Street, Godalming.    Here’s a photo of our nifty collection bins!!

Please keep an eye open for our leaflets and please, please support us by donating.









Monday 1 October 2018 – Is Veterans’ mental health just a male issue?

Peter Butterworth, Volunteer Officer spoke about the work of Combat Stress as the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health.  The organisation was founded by women in 1919, and since then, has helped former servicemen and women deal with trauma-related mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  The organisation is now working to raise awareness that invisible injuries can be just as hard to cope with as physical ones but is dependent on donations and fund raising to cover the majority of the £16 million cost.

It was a thought provoking talk, with much audience participation, as we discussed the increasing numbers of women who may access the service as womens’ role in the Armed Forces increase.



August 2018 – emergency packs for the Royal Surrey Hospital

Hospital packThe Club was delighted to receive the following thank you recently for its work at the Hospital:

I was so touched by the wonderful care package I was given during very early hours of this morning on the Hascombe Children’s Ward at The Royal Surrey County Hospital.  Thank you so much.  It had everything I and my teenage son needed; so kind, thoughtful and helpful at a time of need.

Thank you
Other comments include: Just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for the toiletries you provided to Royal Surrey Hospital children’s ward. I brought my 6 yr old son to A&E this morning with vomiting bug, and ended up staying all day and overnight as he had to have IV fluids. The hospital shop seems to have disappeared, so we were stuck for overnight toiletry essentials as I couldn’t leave him alone to go out and buy some. It’s a small thing but a big thing… many many thanks!

The Club supplies packs of toiletries for use by parents accompanying their children to the emergency ward. Concerned about their children, these parents arrive at the Hospital without any provision for themselves but the Club provides emergency packs including flannels, shower gel, toothpaste and toothbrushes (razors and shaving foam if required). This work is organised by member Valerie.  All members, however, contribute to the contents.  Over 1,000 packs have been delivered over the years, most recently in August 2018. A typical pack is shown above.


Monday 4 June 2018

We were delighted to welcome a number of visitors to our first Open Speaker Meeting of 2018/19.  Rachel Duffy, the Community Engagement Officer spoke to us about the work of the Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre in Guildford.  Her talk was both informative – whoever knew that 76% of women in prison have experienced domestic violence or sexual abuse – and awe inspiring as we heard of the 4,200 hours of counselling the Centre provided last year.   We will be sending a donation to the Centre made up of donations from the night and from the Club.



Saturday 2 June 2018  SI Surrey Hills hosted their stall at the Godalming Town Show & Carnival.  Open for businessWe were able to spread the word about the work of the Club and Soroptimism and a number of visitors to our stall supported our projects by:

donating mini size toiletries and new flannels that we will use for our packs for the emergency childrens’ ward and the End of Life ward at the Royal Surrey County Hospital;

and by buying books sold in aid of the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit (Royal Surrey County Hospital).  We raised another £33 for the Unit.

It was a good day and we had a steady stream of visitors so thak you to all who came and spoke to us, gave us toiletries or bought our books!  Looking foward to next year!!



8 March 2018

We celebrated International Women’s Day by holding the Finals and Prize-giving Ceremony of the STEM Challenge we organised for schoolgirls aged 12-14 years. This was the culmination of six months of hard work by the members of SI Surrey Hills, SI Weybridge and SI Woking – and the girls who took up the Challenge.  The STEM Challenge is designed to encourage more girls to follow careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by developing the skills they will need: finding potential solutions to a problem, selecting the best, working through the detail and presenting their results in writing and orally to an imposing panel of judges.

The event took place at Royal Holloway University of London in the presence of the High Sheriff of Surrey, Robert Napier, CBE and the Vice Principal of Royal Holloway, Paul Hogg.  The Panel judging the entries during the Finals comprised eight women who have all successfully followed STEM-based careers including Sandra Chinyere, a healthcare scientist at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who chaired the Panel.

We are delighted that both the Year 9 prize and the Highly Commended Prize went to teams of girls from Guildford County School in SI Surrey Hills area for their emergency lighting and emergency food projects respectively. Every girl who took part in the competition received a Soroptimist International certificate of achievement and two bags of gifts (donated by Farrans Construction and Thales Group). The winning schools each received £250 and each girl in the winning teams was awarded £50.

We are most grateful for the generous support of the Ken and Marjorie Robertson Trust (who donated the team prizes), Farrans Construction, Thales, Southern Co-op, Lillywhite & Co, L’Oreal and Royal Holloway, University of London and are already looking forward to next year’s competition.


January 2018

A big thank you to Mark at Modesco in Farncombe who is helping us by collecting toiletries for our Hospital Packs at his model shop based at 43 Farncombe Street, Farncombe.  Please help us with our work in this way and help us show our appreciation by visiting Mark.

December 2017

As part of our ongoing work with the local Womens’ Refuge we were pleased to donate several welcome packs of toiletries to the Refuge for those who might arrive without such items.  This is a continuation of the various work we have undertaken which includes furnishing a flat for a woman and child who had left the Refuge; fundraising to supply school uniforms for the children in the Refuge and supplying various household items to the Houses.

December 2017

In lieu of giving each other Christmas cards, members voted to donate the cost of the cards to the SI President’s appeal.  In this way £75 was donated to the appeal entitled “Women water and leadership”.   The first project to be supported is ‘Improving access to agricultural information, clean energy and water to achieve better food security for 500 women farmers in Kenya, Africa’. This will educate and train five hundred women farmers to manage their farms effectively and ensure food security, particularly as the water supply in their areas is scarce.

Through training, the women will be exposed to better and modern farming structures, helping them move on from subsistence farming – growing crops and raising livestock sufficient only for one’s own use – to commercial farming.  They will be supported throughout the transition.