I am so proud and feel especially honoured to be the Regional President for the South West and Channel Islands 2015-2016. I shall certainly try and get around to see you all in the next year and learn about all your wonderful projects.
I am sure that many of you, as I did, enjoyed the recent conference in Glasgow with its wide range of excellent and thought provoking speakers and presentations. It is a really special event in our Soroptimist calendar to spend some quality time with our fellow club members, meet up with other clubs and friendship links and hopefully make some new friendships along the way.
The Conference also gives an insight into other club’s initiatives and successes across the Federation. The programme action day on the Saturday was especially interesting and we were proud as a region to see SI Cirencester win the overall Programme Action award for their Literacy Project.
We also had a special visit from HRH The Princess Royal who truly understands what we are about and congratulated us on our worldwide work.
Federation President Margaret Emsley’s theme for the year is ‘Engineering the future’ and she would like us to engineer the future by skillfully building on our awareness advocacy and action. There are plenty of ways of carrying this out and many of our regional clubs are doing such a great job already. STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are also high on Margaret’s agenda and Skirting Science, which was brilliantly initiated by SI Weston-super-Mare, is now being carried out by other Federation clubs.
Associate Membership got the go ahead at the AGM that will come into effect next April hopefully. We must try and embrace this new way of membership. My motto is ‘if you don’t’ try you’ll never know’ and if it doesn’t work then our Federation will move on I’m sure.
Our new SIGBI Project 2016-2019 was voted on and SI Canterbury’s nomination for the Meru Womens’ Garden Project in Kenya won. We are urged to get behind this worthwhile project over the next 3 years.
Yvonne Simpson the International Federation President, also has her project ‘Educate to Lead: Nepal’ 2015- 2017 encouraging opportunities for young girls to education which is the key to success for taking women out of poverty there.
I had my first Regional meeting on 21st November and the speakers were certainly inspiring and a little shocking if you looked at the photos of FGM victims. We cannot ignore this terrible practice and need to make others aware of this. We also learned about the Philippine Community Fund and how our ring pulls and toothpaste tubes are being used. It was interesting to hear how adversity can motivate a person to help others in such awful circumstances.
If you have not been to a regional meeting before or not attended recently, then please come along. You will be made very welcome and get a chance to network with fellow delegates, see some interesting presentations and enjoy a tasty lunch!
My theme for the year is ‘Women should be seen AND heard
You are all doing your part however big or small your club is. Keep up the good work!
Regional President Diane
Region President Diane with Plymouth President Pam at the Gala Dinner Dance at Borington Park Golf Club.