We were very disappointed that we had to cancel our last Club meeting as we had a wonderful speaker lined up to come and talk to us.Marianne from Nourish had a great presentation she was going to talk us through and she has very kindly sent us the power-point which was going to form the basis of her talk. This has now been sent to all Club members by email.Please bear in mind that this was put together before Coronavirus hit and the subsequent repercussions will have a significant impact on their services with an obvious increase in demand and need.Following the cancellation Tunbridge Wells Club donated the physical supplies which we had discussed previously and have since then made a further Club donation of £50 to Nourish. Some members have also donated on a personal basis.Message from Nourish:” Thank you! And a massive thank you from Nourish for the financial donations, we are seeing at least a 50% uplift in referrals and we are running low on stock – but thanks to financial donations we are in the lucky position of being able to buy stock. Slight problem now seems to be in getting hold of said stock!”https://www.nourishcommunityfoodbank.org.ukOnce things return to normal we will invite Marianne to come and talk to us again as ‘The Impact of Poverty’ is sadly going to resonate through our community and society for many years to come.
Soroptimist Tunbridge Wells & District were delighted to present our July club meeting speakers with a donation. Adam and Penny Bennett talked to us about Oasis India and their work in helping trafficked women and children in deprived areas of Mumbai, Chennai, Punganur and Bangalore. Oasis has worked in India for the past 20 years. Their mission statement states they are ‘committed to working in an inclusive, integrated empowering and comprehensive way so that all people experience wholeness and fullness of life.’
More information relating to Oasis India can be found here: https://www.oasisindia.org/
We were delighted to be in our new venue at Chamberlain Court and below is the flower presentation made to our club speaker Mandy Baker from Anna Chaplaincy. We made the most of the fine weather and the presentation was made on the enclosed balcony. Mandy, a lay preacher at St James Church in Tunbridge Wells, spoke about the development of Anna Chaplaincy, started in 2010 it is a joint church iniative.The organisation supports people with dementia, the lonely, the elderly and their carers.
Here is a link to the helpful website Mandy mentioned https://www.thegiftofyears.org.uk/
Tony and Vale Fitzpatrick visited Si Tunbridge Wells to share with us their experiences helping in a rehabilitation school for disabled children in Tanzania. Tony and Val have volunteered on five or more occasions offering play therapy and story-telling, this helps them with their mental health and well-being. The centre, Kituo cha Watoto Walemavu Mlali, accepts 30-40 children under the age of 13 with varying special needs issues and they are visited regularly by a team of self-funded doctors from Italy who perform corrective surgery.
Si Tunbridge Wells presented them with a cheque to support their funds.
Club business- the Club agreed that we move to a new venue – Chamberlain Court, the day of the Club’s regular meeting is yet to be confirmed.
We were delighted to welcome Farah, a trainee solicitor, who spoke of her journey in life so far. She described her early life with her mother , schooling and how she dealt with her traditional Asian marriage. Farah is now actively pursuing her career as a single woman.
Mandy Flashman-Wells gave a presentation on the work of Mbedza Projects in Malawi and in
particular the Trees project, and it was agreed that the club make a further donation of £25 to Mbedza for the tree planting.
We have previously donated money for the stoves project in this area.
Number 63 (Soroptimist) Limited- Bayswater London
Extract from the SIGBI Chairman’s Blog-
On 29 November 2018 at Number 63 in the presence of Federation President and Patron Sue Williams, Federation President Elect Isobel, Federation Finance Director Ruth, several past Chairman and past Directors, and some of the Shareholders of
Number 63 gathered to witness the launch of the Platinum Appeal to mark 70 years since the iconic building was purchased by Soroptimists. At the launch Lorna Blackmore of Soroptimist International of Tunbridge Wells and District made a presentation of a watercolour painting of ‘63’ The Residential Club of Soroptimist International, it is by the artist, Roy Pettit.
The watercolour was generously donated to Tunbridge Wells and District Soroptimist Club by its owner and Club Member, Mrs Mary Alford, for whom Roy Pettit painted it specially, in appreciation of Mary’s encouragement and sponsorship,most particularly in drawing Roy Pettit’s work to the attention of Lord Gage of Firle Place, Sussex, for whom Mary had worked as an art restorer. The painting was unveiled by President Toni Wilkinson in January 2003.
The Board of Directors are indebted to Lorna for presenting the stunning painting which will take pride of place in Number 63.
We were delighted to welcome Soroptimist SIGBI Federation Councillor, Susie Forbes and our recent Region Programme Action Officer, Hilary Rowberry to our November Club meeting. We had a overview of roles, projects and future developments at local, regional and national level. Plus we collected our Soroptimists say NO to Violence Against Women badges. Here are Susie and Hilary holding the new badges. Don’t be afraid #OrangetheWorld
At our last Club meeting- October 2018, we were delighted to welcome magistrate Pat Smith. Illustrating Soroptimist sustainable development goal 16, Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions, Pat gave us a fascinating insight into the process of becoming a magistrate, an exploration of the magistrate court and the issues dealt with. These include domestic and physical abuse cases, driving offences for drink, speeding and drugs usage. She considered the history of prisons and their reforms, the reasons for and experiences of being inside a prison and the alternative sentences of probation, community orders and curfews. Associated with the jurisdictional issues she discussed mental health issues and on reflection, whilst writing this summary, this seems to dovetail well with our new Soroptimist International theme set by President Sue Williams of #ThinkonIt .
Thank you Pat for an incredibly interesting and insightful evening into a consideration of human nature and processes of justice in the UK.
The History of Si Tunbridge Wells was presented by June Bridgeman.
Here is June, explaining the appeal of our traditional emblem used by other federations.
Local newspaper coverage of former Tunbridge Wells Soroptimists and below some of the leaflets Tunbridge Wells Club have published to help the local community.
Club meeting – there was a talk by Alex’s daughter about her field of work which was fascinating but the contents of which remain within the group due to the sensitive nature of it’s content.
Two members attended the South East Regional meeting on the 9th June.
An Evening with Dr Helen Pankhurst
Helen Pankhurst works partly in Ethiopia and partly in the UK as a women’s rights activist and senior advisor to the humanitarian and development agency CARE International. She is a Board member of ActionAid, and a Visiting Professor at the LSE and at Manchester Metropolitan University. Helen is the great-granddaughter of Emmeline and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, leaders of the British suffragette movement and has been keeping their legacy alive including by with support to the 2015 film Suffragette and in 2018 publishing Deeds Not Words, the Story of Women’s Rights, Then and Now’.
Soroptimist International Tunbridge Wells & District in conjunction with#TWWomen100
Club Meeting May 2018
What an informative evening we had at our club meeting on Monday 21 May. Margaret Ginman came to talk to us about bees and her journey to become a beekeeper and how she has shared her knowledge to develop apprenticeship schemes with an equal gender balance of participants. Margaret is the general secretary of the Bee Farmers Association (BFA).
We heard about the history of honeybees and their relationship with man and how bees predate humans. Here is a link to the National Geographic film Margaret mentioned The Last Honey Hunter: Behind the Scenes about Bees in Nepal.
We were given an overview of Bee Farming in the UK. Heard about the uses of honey, as wax, for health benefits and how Stradivarius used propolis varnish to polish his instruments. She gave us wonderful quotes from Hippocrates, honey ‘ ….cleans sores and ulcers, softens hard ulcers of the lips, heals carbuncles and running sores.’
We also heard about the development of the BFA and the benefits and support it provides for members.
Plus we heard how Soroptimist International Eastbourne & District had developed a Bee Course for schoolchildren which has now been extended to other areas of the country.
Oh, and so much more including historical phrases such as ‘a swarm in May is worth a load of hay, a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon, but a swarm in July is not worth a fly.’
We then had a chance to taste lots of different types of honey and discuss our findings.
How fabulous was it that we held the meeting on World Bee Day! Coincidence or planned?
A number of us are now considering becoming beekeepers!
If anyone is interested in The Great British Bee Count organised by Friends of the Earth- here is the link to the app: The Great British Bee Count
At the Club meeting in March, Alison MacKenzie extended the TW Women 100 theme as we continue to embrace International Women’s Day 2018. She presented details relating to key female figures in the Tunbridge Wells Community of 100 years ago. Louisa Twining, Amelia Scott, Susan Power, Sarah Grand, Nora and Annette Guthrie, Alice E Burton and Miss Maclean. In conclusion, we decided they all would have been soroptimists and local history is indebted to these women for the changes they made in society.
Regional Meeting : Maidstone
At our Regional meeting of SISEE today- we welcomed the news that club member Lorna Blackmore will become Regional President in 2019/20. Lorna was given her Vice President’s chain by Jane Webb.
President Jane congratulates Lorna Blackmore from SI Tunbridge Wells on being nominated as SISEE Vice President
Club Meeting February 2018
At February’s meeting Senior Midwife Jean Meadows from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust visited us and talked about the pioneering Kangeroo Care project and its extension to China. We heard about the importance of skin to skin contact to aide the development of antibodies as well as nutritional issues in relation to child growth and mortality rates in connection with the consumption of colostrum . Also about myths associated with breast feeding attitudes and how essential it is for human development to colonise the gut with the correct bacteria. A fascinating evening- you can read more in relation to this topic here- https://www.mtw.nhs.uk/2015/12/midwives-answer-chinas-call/
Regional Meeting : Maidstone
We joined other clubs in wearing orange to mark the United Nations 16 days of Activism to End Violence Against Women.
Club Meeting 16th October
Alex Dawson, Emergency Planning Officer gave an interesting talk on Emergency Planning for the local area.
Saturday 7th October
Four members of Si Tunbridge Wells attended the meeting of SISEE Region held at the Hilton Hotel in Maidstone.
Lorna Blackmore presented an update on our club’s Programme Action including empowering women by our TED talk sponsorship here in Tunbridge Wells, providing work experience for a local graphic design student and the start of our project at Chapter One.
Barbara Bradford and Ann Greenfield were presented with long service awards for 25 years membership.
The Club were delighted to welcome Mark Moody from The Skinners’ School Tunbridge Wells. Mark introduced us to the fascinating concept of STEM with particular reference to sustainability. We were impressed with the outreach approach involving local primary schools and how the research has been developed as an extra curricular activity. We discussed Wind-turbines, the value of energy, down-cycling of oil and a closed loop irrigation system and Mark presented the ways students had had to think creatively outside the classroom.
We were also very interested in the work undertaken by the students on the air pollution levels on the nearby St John’s Road in Tunbridge Wells. The road forms a main artery into the town and is a walking route for many people including schoolchildren and children in buggies. Changes in use of existing buildings and proposed developments indicate that the road and associated building structures will form a funnel trapping fumes at street level. The environmental and health impact of the findings are very important and we are considering ways in which we can help information from their STEM projects reach a wider local audience with the aim of influencing change in planning considerations.
More details of the school’s approach can be found here:http://www.skinners-school.co.uk/general-information/…/stem/
At our Club meeting on the 19th June we made a presentation of a cheque to Fegans, our charity for 2016/17.
Soroptimist Lorna Blackmore presented a cheque for £300 to Jenny Cole, Director of Finance. Fegans Jenny
gave a brief update on the work of the organisation. Fegans is a local children’s mental health charity who provides confidential counselling services to school age children. More details about their valuable work can be found here: https://www.fegans.org.uk/
At tonight’s meeting club members welcomed 3 speakers from Si East Grinstead. Hilary Rowberry, Regional Programme Coordinator, spoke about her Grant of Friendship visit to New Zealand. Angela Edwards and Susie Forbes, Regional Councillors spoke about their roles and the difference it has made to their lives. Angela and Susie are pictured above with Club Meeting Chair Alex Dawson (centre).Thank you for an inspiring evening
SITWD Friendship Weekend
15th-17th April 2016
To celebrate the club’s 70th anniversary, welcoming members and guests from our Friendship Link clubs, SI Beneden Maas (Netherlands), SI Wiesbaden, SI Corona (USA) and SI Kirkcaldy (Scotland) and current and former members of SITWD and of other SISEE clubs.
SI Tunbridge Wells & District Annual General Meeting
To take place at 7:30pm on Monday 25th April 2016 at Willicombe Park, Tunbridge Wells.
Monday 21st – Club meeting: Speaker Gill Evans – Life after a Brain Injury
Monday 18th – Club meeting: Speaker about Parkinson’s Disease
Diamond Education Grant
SITWD are helping to raise money for SIGBI Diamond Education Grant by Recycling for Good Causes (co-ordinated by SI Milford Haven)
SITWD to field a team at Tunbridge Wells Mayor’s Charity Quiz Night
Club members will be competing as ‘The Quizzer Sisters’ at this popular annual event in January 2016
9-12 July 2015
SITWD President & Secretary attended Soroptimist International Conference in Istanbul.