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September 2023

On 2/9/2023 SI Tunbridge Wells were delighted to support our sisters at SI Lewes by joining them at Lewes Societies Fair where they had taken a stall to spread the word amongst their community about Soroptimists and what we do. With our commitment to SDG 13 Climate Action in mind, three of us travelled to Lewes by public transport to support SI Lewes and have a fun learning day out. While finding out about current projects being undertaken by SI Lewes, we also took advantage of the opportunity to network and gather information on other clubs and societies that serve the Lewes community who were present at the fair. #womensupportingwomen

L-R Louise Taylor (SITWD) Angela Mcpherson (SITWD) Anja St Claire Jones (SI Lewes) Lorna Blackmore (SITWD) & Lara Khoury (SI Lewes) at Lewes Societies Fair


August 2023

Soroptimist Tunbridge Wells took a stall at the Southborough Lions Art & Craft fair on Saturday 26th August. All proceeds from selling hand-crafted items were used to boost funds for distribution to the local charities our club supports. Lovely to see Southborough Town Council Mayor, Cllr Dianne Hill, and Deputy Mayor, Cllr Jason Reeves at the event.

Angela Mcpherson, Louise Taylor and Jean Meadows on SITWD stall
Angela McPherson SITWD, Southborough Mayor, Cllr Dianne Hill, member of Southborough Lions and Deputy Mayor, Jason Reeves


Soroptimist Tunbridge Wells received a request from a local network contact who advised that Nkuringo Education & Community Support were in need of unwanted spectacles. The charity supports schools, a health clinic that treats HIV patients and two Women’s groups in Ghana. SITWD immediately appealed to members to see if they had any old pairs of spectacles lying around that they could donate. A total of thirty-five pairs of unwanted spectacles were found in drawers and old boxes in basements etc. These were handed to a supporter of the charity who had undertaken to deliver them on an imminent visit they were undertaking to Africa.



On a sunny Sunday in August members of SI Tunbridge Wells and District attended Tunbridge Wells Pride to represent and raise awareness for our chosen charity, AKT (  We took along Pride themed items made by club members.  AKT supports LGBTQ+ young people aged 16-25 in the UK who are facing or experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment.  Members of the club had received training from AKT to enable us to speak about their wonderful work.

We shared a stall with our local Amnesty International group and it was a fun and colourful afternoon allowing us to spread the word about AKT and make lots of new contacts with other charities and businesses in our local community.


SITWD members at Pride Stall


Didn’t we have a luverly time…

…the day we went to Brighton. Our annual August club outing was arranged with the purpose of ensuring club members had a fun day out – which is exactly what we did. As we could not all go on the same day, we split ourselves into two groups and went on different days. This was just as well as we travelled from Tunbridge Wells to Brighton by way of the local bus service and the bus drivers probably had enough on their hands without so many Soroptimists travelling on the top deck of their bus at one time. On both days club members took advantage of the weather and exhibitions such as those at the Brighton Pavilion, the museum or the Van Gogh experience. Having fully exploited Brighton’s offering of cultural improvement, members enjoyed picnic lunches or fish and chips. After lunch, while some club members enjoyed exploring The Lanes others enjoyed the obligatory ice cream on the pier before wending our way home on the bus, having had a great day out together.

Members enjoying day out in Brighton

July 2023

The club was thrilled to be able to meet up with the President of Soroptimist Int Gold Coast Inc, Cath Dodd during her recent visit to Tunbridge Wells. It was wonderful to be able to welcome her to a club meeting, as well as enjoy a coffee morning at our local cultural hub,  The Amelia Scott, when we were able to spend a fun morning relaxing and discussing international women’s issues.

L-R – Angela McPherson, Jean Meadows, Louise Taylor and Cath Dodd
L-R – Caroline Auckland, Cath Dodd, Jean Meadows, Angela McPherson and Louise Taylor


The club was pleased to have two members represent us at the SI Dublin meeting. While there both had a chance to answer questions on the poster about our Toilet Twinning project, completed in 2022, which we were delighted had been chosen for display at conference. The project combined recycling of aluminium cans with the funding of toilet twins through The centre piece of our fund raising efforts was the toilet made from tin cans pictured at the top left of the poster which we used at various events where we promoted the project and raised funds towards it.


Ann Greenfield and Lorna Blackmore with the
SI Tunbridge Wells Toilet Twinning Poster display

Ann and Lorna were also delighted to be able to offer Friendship Packs to our sisters at the meeting in Dublin. The lovely brooches inside were all handmade by our Club President, Claire.

Friendship Packs


At our July Club Meeting we were delighted to be treated to an inspiring talk from Jason Lower, youth theatre director and lead of the Creative Engagement team at Trinity Theatre. Jason spoke about a number of community engagement projects run by Trinity across age groups. Jason gave an overview of the wonderful Speech Bubbles drama based intervention which runs in schools for years 1 and 2. Pictured with Jason is club member Kathleen Lynch-Howard, who was Jason’s drama teacher at school along with Badger, the trusty lion who helps run the Speech Bubbles sessions.

Kathryn Lynch-Howard presenting Jason with a cheque to support the Speech Bubbles initiative

SI Tunbridge Wells have for some years supported this amazing local charity Mental Health Resource   The charity provides vital mental health services to our local community and this year celebrated 30 years serving our town and surrounding areas. SITWD were delighted to join the celebrations and present a cheque to Charity Manager, Rachel Corry to support their work.

President Elect Cat Menell and Programme Action Officer Angela McPherson
presenting cheque to Rachel Corry at TWMHR

Networking with TWBC Cabinet Member Justine Rutland at TWMHR celebration


SITWD were delighted to gather in the courtyard of The Amelia Scott in Tunbridge Wells to present out latest Town Toilet Twinning certificate to  Council Leader Ben Chapelard and TWBC Cabinet Member Justine Rutland – achieved through collecting and recycling cans. Later that day at the Town Forum the certificate was presented to the full meeting by Councillor Rutland.

TWBC Council Leader Ben Chapelard & Cabinet Member Justine Rutland accepting Town Toilet Twinning Certificate
TWBC Cabinet Member Justine presenting the Toilet Twinning Certificate at the Town Forum


June 2023

Taking a stall at Southborough Lions Club Gala Day on 25 June gave us the opportunity to sell handcrafted items made and donated by club members to raise money to support club projects. It also provided an opportunity to promote Soroptimism in our local community through networking with the local Lions club as well as interacting with members of the community who attend to shop for art and craft items on the stalls.

Stall at
Ready for business at the Southborough Lions Gala Day


Following up on our report published last year ‘A Spotlight on Safety Tunbridge Wells’ which dealt with how safe women and girls feel in and around our town, club members visited the Houses of Parliament in London at the invitation of our local MP, Greg Clark, who recently introduced a private member’s bill in Parliament to deal with the harassment of women in public places. After our tour of the buildings, we happened by chance to meet several Soroptimist sisters from Croydon in the tea rooms. So great to see so many Soroptimists at the heart of our democracy and living up to our goal of helping women to reach their full potential.

SITWD club members outside the entrance to the Great Hall at the Houses of Parliament
SITWD club members on the terrace at the Houses of Parliament with our local MP Greg Clark
SITWD meeting Croydon Soroptimist sisters in tea rooms at Westminster


Our club has been proud to support the local charity Arts Without Boundaries. This year we have been involved with their poetry project and on Sunday 18 June club members joined AwB to perform at the Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival. AwB aim to make the arts more accessible and inclusive, not just for their members, but for the whole community.  Simon Armitage the Poet Laureate heard some AwB poetry and sent a message to the them: “Congratulations on the poetry project and all the best for the future with it. It’s great to see poetry in action doing what it does well – making connections, letting the imagination float free of the everyday, letting language be a guide to better things. I tip my hat in your direction”

Angela McPherson (Tunbridge Wells) and Pauline Payne (Sevenoaks) Soroptimists performing with the Arts Without Boundaries Poets
This year our club’s chosen charity is AKT, a charity that supports LGBTQ+ young people aged 16-25 in the UK who are facing or experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment. At our June meeting the speaker is to be Alex Foott, a Fundraising Managers at AKT. He will talk about the work of the charity, its history and the importance of Pride.


Our Club was asked to present an overview of the can recycling and toilet twinning project at a volunteers’ day event, hosted by  Royal Tunbridge Wells in Bloom.  Five club members attended and enjoyed meeting other volunteers and groups working in our local community.

President Elect, Cat Mennell, presenting the Toilet Twinning project at Volunteers’ Day
Louise Taylor.Caroline Auckland, Cat Mennell, Angela McPherson, Annette Ray & Carolyn Clutterbuck at Volunteers Day


On a bright, sunny early June morning SI Tunbridge Wells Club members joined with Kasia, our wonderful Tunbridge Wells Parks Technical Officer to help to fill large planters with summer blooms in the central Five Ways area of the town, by the Millennium Clock. This wonderful volunteer opportunity came to club members via our connections with Britain in Bloom and Royal Tunbridge Wells in Bloom,

Ann Greenfield, Lorna Blackmore, Angela McPherson and Kasia at Five Ways planting Photo courtesy of Tunbridge Wells in Bloom

May 2023

The guest speaker at our May club meeting was Jess Mookerjee who spoke to us about her childhood and early adulthood, her work in Public Health and her love of writing poetry, explaining how the three interact in her life.

Jessica is a poet of Bengali heritage, being brought up in Mumbles, Wales. She lived most of her adult life in London and who now lives in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. She has worked in Public Health for over 20 years and has a background in psychology and biological anthropology and socio-ecology. Her book Tigress (Nine Arches Press) was shortlisted as best second collection in the Ledbury Munthe Prize in 2021. Her book Notes from a Shipwreck is published by Nine Arches Press in 2022. In January Broken Sleep Books published her long poetic London poem: Desire Lines. Jessica is a board member of the Poetry Society and a Co-Editor of Against the Grain Poetry Press.

Jess Mookerjee – guest speaker May meeting
During the club coronation event Soroptimist #TunbridgeWells were delighted to be able to present another Toilet Twinning certificate to our town. Pictured, Emma Andrews from Chamberlain Court is with #soroptimist Jean Meadows.  The certificate was purchased with funds raised by recycling ♻️ aluminium cans. Big thank you to our local Tunbridge Wells community for donating the cans and saving them from #landfill
Jean Meadows handing Toilet Twinning Certificate to
Jean presenting Emma with Toilet Twinning Certificate for Chamberlin Court


SI Tunbridge Wells has long supported  The Pickering Cancer Drop-In Centre, a local charity that supports families of cancer patients, who have their own well-being needs when it comes to coping with a loved one who is undergoing treatment for a life-changing illness. On Sunday 7 May club members, Ann Greenfield and Caroline Auckland, dressed up to join Polly Pickering, the charity’s founder and champion, for a Coronation Treasure Hunt. A great fun day was had by all!

Ann and Caroline supporting Polly playing the role of Henry VIII

Henry VIII surrounded by wives and supporters

April 2023

At our AGM the club was pleased to welcome our incoming
President for the year – Claire Archbold

Past President Caroline Auckland, President Claire Archbold, President Elect Cat Mennell

Claire’s chosen charity for the year is AKT Trust and we look forward to
announcing plans to support their work this year.



The club also regularly supports the local Nourish food bank and this April
we gave an Easter donation in the hope it will bring some pleasure to
children in families currently facing difficulties



April proved to be busy this year as on a lovely spring Saturday the club turned out to support the Friends of Woodbury Park Cemetery by taking a stall at their Craft and Plant Fair – after a donation to the Friends from the day’s proceeds the balance of the money raised will be dedicated to supporting other club charities