November 2015 Newsletter


KayThis is the second of our new style newsletters, and follows our meeting on 21st November 2015.

We have reports about our meeting, two articles by a Regional Programme Action Officer (RPAO) and news about the Study Day on 9th July 2016.

We were pleased that members of the Federation Management Board (FMB) – President Margaret, IPP Jenny, President Elect Ann and Vice President Sue together with our new Federation Programme Director Barbara – were able to join us for the whole day. The most important issue was planning for the future of the UKPAC, along with other parts of the Federation. As signalled at conference plans are afoot for our centenary in 2021 with consideration needing to be given to changes such as the African Federation and English devolution which will, inevitably, affect us. There are plans being drafted which will go to FMB in January 2016 and then out to consultation with clubs by May so that we will have a clearer picture of what needs to happen by conference in Malta in November. Vice President Sue outlined the vision from FMB and we were all able to discuss ideas for the way forward. There was a wide range of views which Sue now has to pull together for further deliberation. Watch this space for more information as it becomes available.

One piece of information that I am sure you will find both interesting and useful is the development of an App by Coventry University, brought to our attention by Rosie Hutchinson from Midland Arden region. This is for young people who might be at risk of FGM. Take a look at http://petals.coventry.ac.uk/#c – but a word of ‘warning’, it disappears and cannot be tracked! This, of course, is one of the purposes of it – the person using it can rest assured that she cannot be tracked and a shake removes it from the eyes of someone wishing her harm. A similar App developed for people who might be at risk of violence is http://hollieguard.com/ which I heard about on Radio 4. This could be useful for those of us travelling alone – it has similar virtues to ‘petals’ but can also provide information about ‘your’ journey which could be useful in tracking what happened in an event. Two examples where technology helps to provide safety.

To round off our meeting President Margaret and FPD Barbara gave us an overview of their visions for the new Federation year. President Margaret advised that having a plan is nothing on its own, it is the planning and subsequent implementation which are important. Get these right and we will move forward to even more success. FPD Barbara emphasised the importance of our relationship with the UN, the value of our project work and, hopefully, an improved way of reporting and then using that data to provide valuable information about our activities once the new database is available. The intention is for this to happen early in 2016 but please remember,

NO PFRFs after 30 November 2015.

 

This leads me on to letting you know that since I am unable to go to CSW in March 2016 (my daughter is expecting my fourth grandchild on 29th March) Glenys Hunt has been appointed to represent UKPAC on the SIGBI delegation. Glenys is half of the Programme Action Team in Cheshire North Wales and the Wirral. I know she will do an excellent job for us and I look forward to hearing all about her experiences and how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will move forward within the context of CSW.

As announced previously and at conference, our Study Day will be on 9th July 2016 in the Aztec Hotel in Bristol. The title will be ‘Achieving change – building on success’ and will look at the issues of Trafficking/modern day slavery, FGM and our work with the Prison Reform Trust. There will be keynote speakers on each of these issues with breakout sessions looking at practical ideas on how progress can be achieved on all of them. At the moment Kevin Hyland, UK Independent Anti-trafficking Commissioner, is coming and we await responses to our other invitations. There will be opportunities to ask questions at the end of the morning and the afternoon sessions; these will be chaired by SIGBI President Margaret and SI IPP Ann, respectively. Watch our new web site for news as it becomes available – https://sigbi.org/ukpac/study-day-2016/.

Yes, our web site is to be on the SIGBI platform. This gives us the opportunity to link in more clearly to SIGBI and the resources available there. Another change is to our Twitter account – it is now @UKPACc – as a result of difficulties with the original address. Please do use these and our Facebook pages to keep us all well informed about club, regional and UKPAC activities. I look forward to seeing lots of posts.

Have a wonderful Christmas & Best wishes for 2016

Kay Richmond

 

SI Canterbury is delighted that their bid proposal for the Meru Women’s Garden Project was selected as the SIGBI Project 2016-2019 at the Glasgow conference.

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The project is led by women for women and grew out of a need to improve lives in one of the poorest regions of rural Kenya. It is entirely focussed on providing opportunities to women and girls, who may never otherwise be given the chance to become self-sufficient, earn an income, and gain status within their community.

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The first strand supports women to establish their own sustainable foodgardens. This is achieved by providing seeds, plants, tools and equipment, and through a system of training, cascade learning and mentoring. Families are also provided with eco stoves to reduce deforestation and improve environmental sustainability. Women with leadership potential are encouraged into training and mentoring roles, increasing their status and representation within their communities.

The second strand will establish a sustainable food garden and a breakfast club for over 1000 pupils in a secondary school. School attendance is very poor in this region with just 11% completing formal education and fewer than 10% achieving minimum levels of literacy and numeracy. This initiative aims to improve attendance and the children’s ability to learn once they are in school.

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The project’s partner charity, Child.org is delighted with the success of this bid and reports that the women’s groups in Meru ‘are so grateful that they danced and sung praises when they heard the good news’.  SI Canterbury  is now busy working with child.org and SIGBI to plan and prepare launch materials which will be sent to all clubs on 5th February 2016 ready for the official launch on 8th March 2016, International Women’s Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Control and Keeping Safe

by Soroptimist International of Yorkshire

Bradford’s district wide project supported by West Yorkshire’s Safer Communities Fund

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In August 2015 SI Yorkshire’s bid for grant of £5,000 to support their project, Taking Control and Keeping Safe was a resounding success.  The project has to focus on specific Council Wards within the West Yorkshire area and the bid submitted related to the whole of the Bradford Metropolitan District.

Through the production and distribution of the ‘Take Control Leave the Violence Behind’ booklets, originally produced by SI Kingston upon Hull but now adapted to meet the needs of the specific communities within Bradford, we will raise awareness of the agencies available to support victims, across the district, who have experienced domestic violence and sexual exploitation. The booklets give advice on how to keep safe and, if women feel they are at risk, strategies about how to escape from a dangerous situation.

SI Yorkshire’s experience of hosting the Sexual Exploitation UN GIFT BOX in Bradford in October 2014 highlighted the need to ensure any materials are accessible to all ethnic groups and so the booklet is being translated to reach the main communities within the District, women and girls from Eastern European countries as well as those from the Asian sub-continent.  The booklets will be distributed across the district including A and E Departments, Doctors’ Surgeries, Libraries, Community and Children’s Centres.

Hopefully, attendance at Bradford University Freshers’ Week will give local Soroptimists the opportunity to raise awareness of what constitutes a healthy/unhealthy relationship so that the students understand how to keep themselves safe as they embark on their student life.  The ‘Loves me, Loves me Not’ bookmarks and wallet sized cards are a great resource and will be given to the students alongside relevant Home Office materials.

Recognising the importance of raising the awareness with young children of how they can keep themselves safe, we are establishing a pilot to trial a more child friendly version of the ‘Loves me, Loves me not’ bookmarks prior to promoting their use within Primary Schools across the District.

In addition, booklets and bookmarks will be distributed during our awareness raising campaigns for Anti-Slavery Day in October and the Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women in November.

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Safeguarding: Challenging attitudes and changing mindsets

Councillor Judith Chapman, Lord Mayor of Leeds, opened the fourth annual Day Conference organised by the Anti Slavery Group of Soroptimist International of Yorkshire. She stressed the need for society to address Safeguarding: Challenging Attitudes and Opening Minds.

Conference organisers had brought together key note speakers who would bring their own wide ranging experience to share with the delegates.

The first speaker was Tracy Almond, from the Lucy Faithfull Foundation who spoke of her work as a therapist, helping young sex offenders to develop healthy relationships, to change their anti social behaviour and to take responsibility for their own actions.

This work was reinforced by the address given by Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner who spoke about the awareness raising initiatives and the new training programmes now in place that give guidance to serving officers on the identification and management of cases of abuse.

The next speaker was Ray McMorrow from the National Working Group Network, (NWG) a charity and UK wide network of practitioners, policy makers and researchers working with children and young people who are at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and trafficking within the UK. From him delegates learnt of the work being done with children and young people who, because of mental health issues, are especially vulnerable to abuse.

The final speaker was Julie Tweedale, Founder of Freedom Personal Safety, an organisation which she developed as a result of her own experience of abuse as a teenager. Julie shared her concern about social media being used as a tool for the grooming of young people, urging the delegates with children and grandchildren to be vigilant. She also expressed concern about the many pornographic images that are finding their way into main stream advertising, influencing and desensitising attitudes.

The programme ended with a presentation by the young people of St. Mary’s Youth Theatre under their director Steve Archdale who formed the group as a response to the increasing problems of drug and alcohol abuse amongst teenagers with too little to do and too much time on their hands. The Group presented a piece that showed how easily and unwittingly a girl can allow a boy to take control of her. After their presentation there was a “hot seat session” when the audience had an opportunity to explore the attitudes and experiences that underpinned the action of the play and the players.

This was a day of learning for the delegates. Some of it was uncomfortable , challenging attitudes, opinions and behaviours. It was also a day for networking as delegates from many organisations and disciplines discussed their work, their problems, their hopes and dreams and, as they exchanged contact details, there was certainly the commitment to go forward and safe guard our children and young people together.

The newsletter is sent out to Regional PA officers, who forward it to their Club PA officers. They should forward to all club members, so every member should have access to a copy of the newsletter via email, as well as on this website.

However, for those who do not have internet accessibility a hard copy of the newsletter can be printed off by a club member for them to read.    11-2015 newsletter