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Overview of Activities 21/22

In the absence of a Club President for the 21/22 year, below is a message from Lydia Cardew, Programme Action Officer.

Despite few members and a lot of time in lockdown, SI Swindon persevered with our regular activities supporting local organisations, and even added a couple more new projects to the roster!

With the kind help of friends, Ladies Who Latte, and Lawn Book Club, we continued to support Nelson Trust Women’s Centre with 25 Christmas gift bags in December 2021, making it the 7th year we’d done so.

Our next activity in the new year was, appropriately enough, something entirely new: the planting of no less than 100 trees! Soroptimist clubs across the world were asked to plant a hundred trees each in order to commemorate the centenary of Soroptimism International, which was founded in 2021. It was a wonderful opportunity to both benefit the local community and be part of something so much larger than our own club. We partnered with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and successfully planted 100 cherry trees.

For Easter, we visited the Nelson Trust again, this time with 25 Easter eggs for the ladies who use the services, plus some chocolates for the staff. In addition to these special occasions, we support the Trust all year round with donations of food, clothing, toiletries and household items.

This year the club has worked to build on our previous successes with our long-running Relationships Bookmark Project. In collaboration with Swindon Borough Council and the Safer Streets projects, we’ve supplied 4000 for use in Swindon schools, and provided bookmarks to other agencies working with vulnerable young people.

On the subject of bookmarks, and therefore books, we celebrated World Book Day 2022 by delivering more than 250 books to Drove Primary School! Sadly, due to Covid regulations, Drove Primary couldn’t hold their usual full school assembly to present the books, but we had the chance to greet the pupils in their classrooms via Microsoft Teams.

Just a few days later, it was straight into observing International Women’s Day, on the 8th of March. In honour of International Women’s Day, and the centenary of Soroptimists International, we handed out one hundred flowers to one hundred women. Five members stood in Swindon Town centre, outside the Swindon Women’s Aid shop (with the manager’s permission) handing out daffodils, flyers about IWD, and of course, our bookmarks on how to recognise bad relationships!

Over the course of the year, we’re pleased to say we’ve been frequent flyers at the SWA shop, with regular deliveries of goods. Our donations have included clothes, bed linen, toys, books, household items, gifts, baby equipment, and even buggies. We remain grateful to our friends in Ladies Who Latte who partner with us to support SWA.

As long term supporters of the Prospect Hospice we were delighted to be asked to be a Champion on their crowd funding event in April and raised £658 in 36 hours. We believe that supporting local services is important because it also helps the women who generally take on these caring roles in families.

In addition to our established commitments, the club was inspired to do our bit to meet SI & SIGBI’s pledge to tackle modern day slavery and trafficking. We are now working to support the Medaille Trust, a charity that provides safe houses for victims of modern slavery across the UK. Staff at the Medaille Trust asked us to collect craft materials for the women, and Swindon Soroptimists rose to the challenge, collecting wool, needles and patterns.