A big welcome to SI Weybridge & District the Soroptimist (Southern Region) Women’s Club covering Elmbridge Borough
Here you will find Club News and our support for the wider national, global Soroptimist and UN initiatives. More news can be found on the Facebook Page and in Soroptimist News (https://sigbi.org/news/magazines/) the online magazine for members.
Soroptimist International is a global volunteer movement working together to transform the lives of women and girls with nearly 72,000 Members in 121 countries. Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) has 6000 Members in 270 Clubs in 18 countries including Great Britain, Ireland and countries in Asia, the Caribbean and Malta, who work at a local, national and international level to educate, empower and enable opportunities for women and girls.
May 19th Business Meeting 7pm, The Wheatsheaf, Esher
Our talk this month is by a representative of #Saheliya, a specialist mental health and well-being support organisation for black, minority ethnic, asylum seeker, refugee and migrant women and girls (12+) in the Edinburgh and Glasgow area. We will welcome the speaker on zoom have supper and then welcoem our guests,women expressing an interest in our club and work before the business meeting. This month’s meeting will focus program action on the Jubilee Tiara Tea planning, progress for the planning and ticket sales for the Tea & Temptations Fashion Show in June and a plan for voting on the STEM university Scholarship funding and student course selection. This major initiative requires a working party to start work so do come along to have your say this and next month as we pursue this 3 year committment. We have no speaker in June to allow a full presentation of options and agenda discussion.
May 14th Soroptimists were at Oatlands Village Fair, Weybridge
We were there! Soroptimists in Weybridge and Elmbridge have supported this excellent community fair for many years and we were delighted to be “back” at a wonderful in person event held on such a sunny day. Danny and Jeannie set up early to get a spot near the arena, they were supported by many club members and wore the new SI sashes which drew a lot of questions as we walked about the fair. Sue provided a good variety of beautiful handmade cushion covers and bags from the South African club Maripula women’s project and these were quickly ‘reserved’ bringing in welcome income to the project. Five women asked for more information, we engaged with many more. We had the opportunity to host #DrBenSpencer local MP and #CharuSood, Charu serves on the Runnymede & Weybridge South Area Planning Sub Committee, Climate advisory board and Licensing. She is also the Shadow Cabinet Member for Environment. Invitations to speak at club meetings were extended. Lovely club day with a chance to socialise and catch up over a glass of Pimms but also fly the flag high!
Jeannie issued this month newsletter to all members and the Friendship Link reps. She also agreed to submit information to Thames Ditton magazine, giving easier access to information about local Soroptimists and the Elmbridge based club SIWAD.
“Join the Soroptimists and help make the world a better place for women and girls. Soroptimist International is a worldwide organisation for women and for over 100 years the volunteer run charity has been raising money for projects that empower women and girls around the world. The local Weybridge branch is looking for new members to join its ranks. From its new base in Esher the team are keen to find women to help with projects as diverse as funding a female driven tuk tuk taxi to safely transport women and girls in Sri Lanka to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) bursaries for girls at Royal Holloway University. Donations are given to local food banks, including 100 Easter eggs for children, and in the past, support to a woman’s refuge. Recently members asked local shop owners to display posters in their windows in support of International Women’s Day. The club recently donated £1,000 to the charity’s Ukraine fund and this money has been distributed to clubs in the Ukraine to help supply food and medicines.
The club also lobbies local MPs on women’s issues such as the Domestic Abuse Bill – Non-fatal Strangulation and others although the club is not politically allied in any way.
During the monthly meetings at the Wheatsheaf Pub in Esher there are speakers on a wide variety of subjects, mostly female related, such as ovarian cancer, domestic violence and other more light-hearted subjects and there are also social get-togethers hosted by members at their homes. The club also runs a fashion show with afternoon tea in conjunction with another local club as a fundraiser. The club has friendship links with clubs in Europe and arranges visits to each other’s countries from time to time. To find out more please visit sigbi.org/Weybridge and/or call Alexis on 07785 363868”
Members were able to provide new kitchen equipment to a Ukrainian family housed with Elmbridge CAN’s support in Walton. The new Ukraine Hubs in Walton and Weybridge are providing a fantastic and critical resource for placed families to meet up and exchange information. The mayor, charities, local support services and access to language training and education is available. Our members are attending to support Elmbridge CAN where possible.
April 19th – 44th AGM SI Weybridge & District
We welcomed two new prospective members Caroline from Kingswood and Mary from Cobham at this meeting at The Wheatsheaf, Esher. Our speaker Peter introduced us to the National Memorial Arboretum via a great slideshow and talk on Zoom. We anticipate a rescheduled club visit to this amazing park in the fall. The 44th AGM took place with nomination of all officers, agreement of annual accounts; all officer reports were issued ahead summarising the year’s club outcomes. The Club continues to to be led by an Executive Committee of women with experience and those new to officer roles.
Both our guests asked to join the club following the meeting and we look forward to seeing them welcomed at the July meeting when we have a special guests Mary Storrie of the Rosie May Foundation coming to update us on the Sri Lankan Tuk Tuk ‘Dorothy’ which the club has helped bring to fruition.
April 6th – Easter Egg Donation to #Walton&Hersham Foodbank
Jeannie and Ann visited the foodbank warehouse to deliver 70 eggs and other grocery items today. Members donated eggs or cash to enable this donation part of our 2022 community action. Interested to hear more?? In March we welcomed a prospective new member to the monthly meeting. In April we have two more new potential members attending on April 21st in Esher. Women interested in joining are invited to join the supper and/or the business meetings over a few months to learn about our projects, meet local soroptimists and see if they enjoy the focus of enabling women and girls, lobbying, sustainability and climate aspects.
April’s meeting in primarily an AGM but we have a speaker from the National Memorial Arboretum joining us on Zoom ahead of a visit to the arboretum in 2022.
Today Weybridge & District Soroptimists generously donated £1010 to Soroptimist Southern Region (SISE) Ukraine Fund. All southern regional clubs donated before March 30th. The sums collected will now be distributed to SI local Clubs in Lviv in Ukraine and Chisinau in Moldova where soroptimists are actively helping local displaced Ukrainan families in Ukraine and nearby locations with food and medicines. A SISE club member has recently visited these clubs to see the valuable work soroptimists have been and continue to do on the ground since the war started.
Generous individual club members have been helping with incredible neighbourly support, food donation and assistance with job search to a local family in Weybridge who are housing a significant number of Ukraine family members. Others are helping with organised community shipments from Walton on Thames with cash, food and sundries as direct action. The Club agreed to use club charity funds for authenticated charity organisations only at this stage on the Treasurer’s request pending any SIGBI or SISE directives. Members are able to best judge best use of their time, assistance and donations.
Elmbridge CAN a local refugee charity selected for SIWAD community support in 2022 have also been supported by some members in aiding a housed family with kitchen items.
Members have been fast to act and agree their preferred action and will continue to monitor needs. All are at liberty to support any of these or other projects tabled.
March 17th – Monthly Club Meeting & Foodbank Easter Donation
Susan Booth of the leading UK charity Target Ovarian Cancer spoke to the club on Zoom. This talk was scheduled to coincide with Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, March. Club members had over 150 posters, symptom diaries and information booklets to distribute during March to GP surgeries, local clinics, shops and notice boards.
Soroptimists collected 70 Easter Eggs for the @Walton&hershamfoodbank for distribution as part of local community program action. Contact Sally via https://sigbi.org/contact-us/ to get in touch.
March 13th – STEM Student Bursary 2023 – Wine Tasting – £900 Raised towards a 2022 Target of £1000
Over 40 kind people supported SI Weybridge & District with donations of funds, raffle prizes, gifts and help. Today the club hosted 30 guests at a Wine tasting in Molesey and raised £900. Guests enjoyed hearing Sue Cope @elvigilantedelvino talk about the wine, heads & tails, a raffle and a delicious supper followed. This brings the Elmbridge based SI Club close to the first £1000 needed p.a. to offer a 3 year annual Bursary to a less advantaged female STEM subject student identified in liaison with local schools and the nominated university.
March 12th – Watch out around Elmbridge for posters showing the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer. Soroptimists are handing out and delivering symptom diaries and information at stations and GP/maternity clinics in Elmbridge. This month March we welcome a speaker from Target Ovarian Cancer at our monthly meeting on 17th. We support all cancer charities but specifically #TargetOvarianCancer make women aware of the symptoms, support access to diagnosis and early treatment.
Bloated tummy, Always feeling full? Pelvic or abdominal pain? Need to wee more? Occasionally other symptoms can be present e.g. changes in bowel habit i.e. diarrhoea or constipation, extreme fatigue, unexplained weight loss. Symptoms are Frequent happening more than 12 times a month, Persistent they don’t go away, New – they are not normal for you.
Target Ovarian Cancer have symptom diaries so you can track your symptoms ahead of seeing your GP. Check with family if they have suffered with ovarian or breast cancer, be persistent, seek blood tests and scans. Don’t be put off if you know now what is normal/abnormal for your body. Be symptom aware, share info and watch out for your friends too, visit your GP to get checked out full. You can make a difference at work, in the community in your family by talking about this cancer.
- Cervical screening smear tests will not detect ovarian cancer.
- Most cases are diagnosed in women who have had the menopause but younger women can also get it
- The sooner its detected the easier it is to treat. Survival is up to 90% at the earliest stage.
- Irritable bowel symptoms are similar to ovarian cancer but new cases of IBS are very unlikely in women over age 50.
- Target Ovarian Cancer is the UK’s leading ovarian cancer charity, working to improve early diagnosis, fund life saving research and provide much needed support to women with the cancer. Their nurse led support line provides confidential information, support and signposting for anyone concerned about ovarian cancer.
Source:targetovariancancer.org.uk – Phone: 020 7923 5475
March 8th – #IWD2022
SIGBI posters are up and visible we were so delighted with the positive response of shop keepers, stations, libraries and supermarkets to helping #Soroptimists make the community more aware. One Czech woman we spoke to in #Mercado in Molesey explain that in her country flowers are distributed to all women on IWD, its a far more important date then Mother’s Day as it recognises that ALL women need support to obtain equality and alleviate poverty. SI clubs around the world are challenging bias and highlighting how we can make the world a fairer place.
The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, 2022 (IWD 2022) is, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, recognizing the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all.
March 6th – #IWD2022 March 8th. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, action is needed to level the playing field. Are you in? Will you actively call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping each time you see it? Will you help break the bias? Cross your arms to show solidarity.
- Strike the IWD 2022 pose and share your #BreakTheBias image, video, resources, presentation or articles on social media using #IWD2022 #BreakTheBias to encourage further people to commit to helping forge an inclusive world.
March 5th – IWD 2022 campaign theme: #BreakTheBias
Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
March 4th – International Women’s Day is coming on Tuesday March 8th. Today we shout out for our local rail station at #hamptoncourtpalace, #electricalsupplies retailer on the Broadway and #Smilessencedentists in #Molesey who all kindly displayed a Soroptimist IWD2022 poster to raise awareness and support this annual UN initiative.
SIGBI #IWD Posters are all up and around big thanks to Brenda and Cathy, Jeannie and Ann – It’s International Women’s Day #IWD2022 on March 8th.
March 2nd – SIGBI’s Emergency Relief Fund has donated £5,000 to the British Red Cross, Ukrainian Appeal to help the Ukrainian refugees who are fleeing the war with Russia. The latest figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees show that more than 600,000 people have left the country and many more thousands are displaced from their homes within Ukraine. Ukrainian Red Cross volunteers are reaching as many people as possible, distributing 30,000 food and hygiene parcels so far, and helping evacuate people with disabilities. Teams have also provided first aid training to 1,000 people in metro stations and bomb shelters, and are supporting fire fighters, medical and civil protection units.
March 1st – International Women’s Day – March 8th – The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, 2022 (IWD 2022) is, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, recognizing the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all. Look put for the posters around Molesey, Walton, Weybridge those created by Soroptimists to raise awareness of this UN led focus on why promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment can help deliver better environmental outcomes, and to figure out how it can be done. The Generation Equality campaign is bringing together people of every gender, age, ethnicity, race, religion and country, to drive actions that will create the gender-equal world we all deserve. Visit the UN Women’s website for more information about the theme. Multimedia content is coming soon to help you spread the message of gender equality by sharing on your social media accounts. https://www.unwomen.org/…/international-womens-day-2022…
February 17th – Monthly meeting at The Wheatsheaf at 7pm. Nina from Walton & Hersham Foodbank is speaking at 7.30pm. We will once again gather Easter Eggs for the Foodbank in March in readiness for Easter.
Weybridge & District Soroptimist group is pleased to announce our newest member: ‘Dorothy’ the pink Tuk Tuk. Since 2018, we’ve been working hard to raise £4,000 to buy Dorothy, who will operate as a female-only taxi service – creating a sustainable source of income for single parent mums and creating safe travel for women and girls in Sri Lanka. The Tuk Tuk is on order and local mums will soon be identified and trained as drivers, as well as in the necessary business skills to transport women and girls to school, work and social events in safety.
February 1st – Today is International Day of Human Fraternity.Read our latest blog all about this day by #Soroptimist Carol Infanti. “It makes me thankful that I am a Soroptimist, part of a sisterhood where we all work together to support all women, whatever age, race or religion, where-ever we are in the world. Do encourage other women to join us. Happy and peaceful International Day of Human Fraternity.” Grab a cuppa and read it now https://bit.ly/34vTr3a. #HumanFraternityDay
January 21st – Well done for all the lobbying friends – news from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust – Thrilled that the Taxi & PHV Bill passed through the Commons today. Thank you to all who have worked tirelessly on this issue. “Our constituents can have more peace of mind knowing that steps have moved forward today to make their taxi use safer”. Now on to the Lords. Peter Gibson MP – #RightToBeSafe
January 6th – “As we enter the new year, the spectre of the pandemic still hangs over us, but I am confident that, as Soroptimists, you will rise to the challenges presented, as you have done so magnificently throughout last two years.” Read our January message by #Soroptimist President Cathy Cottridge in full, now on the website, click below to read.
Happy New Year dear Friends and families. Meeting date 19 January. 7pm. Looking forward to welcoming a young speaker from Elmbridge CAN. This meeting is at Ann M’s house as she is very young. Refreshments only.
Constrained for 6 months by lockdowns/safety, Soroptimists at SI Weybridge and District met on Zoom and once again undertook to donate part or all of their supper meeting meal cost to central funds to enable our support work continued.
Activities in the year
17 December 2021 – Festive social at Burhill Golf Club, meeting members and their partners and friends in Covid safe conditions. It was a spectacular day of friendship, fun and celebration of the club’s success and afforded a chance to think of those members who were unable to be with us due to vulnerability and health decline. Most significant off all we were able to plan final arrangements for two Pink Tuk Tuk spring lunches to raise the final £1000 for the Sri Lanka Women’s Rosie May charity.
SIGBI News was issued online with full details of the successful virtual global conference held from Llandudno.
10th December – SI Weybridge & District delivered £300 of Aldi vouchers to Walton & Hersham Foodbank to enable 30 festive food parcels to contain a £10 voucher enabling families to choose something special to include with their shopping for Xmas courtesy of our members.
23rd November – for 16 days consecutive Soroptimists around the World posted information, coloured buildings orange and publicised the #16daysofactivism, our club elected to buy £300 of ‘orange’ Aldi food vouchers for the local foodbank.
November 17th – On Remembrance Sunday Dorothy Clarke MBE a club member represented SI Weybridge at the memorial placing a wreath on Weybridge memorial as we have for 45 consecutive years.
November 21st – Six club members joined with over 50 from the Southern Region to celebrate the Centennial Year and hear Hampshire MP Caroline Noakes and other clubs speak. The annual AGM was held in Alton and Southern Region were delighted to be crowned runners up nationally for their successful enrolment of new members partly due to the success of the new club in Salisbury. A new club is also coming together in the region, watch the space for news.
September 17th – Yippee! #siweybridge met for the first time since lockdown last Thursday, and what a delight it was to see members in person and online. We were able to greet our speakers from Cook4Care a worthy local charity founded in 2020 and now flourishing. Maria and Davina two founders explained how their experience in teaching and life had brought them into contact with young carers specific challenges; the charity now provides hundreds of free fresh nutritious meals to enable young carers to free up time instead of cooking two nights a week.. A recent survey of outcomes highlighted how the extra money saved is a hidden advantage allowing families to save a little more for luxuries like days out. Supermarkets locally including #Waitrose and #Morrisons enable their work alongside the dozens of volunteer cooks, drivers and delivery folk.
We also held our #Soroptimist100 candle ceremony to mark the Soroptimist International 100th Birthday? Starting 21 September, Clubs and Soroptimists around the world are taking part in candle ceremonies, making wishes for the lives of women and girls! In Elmbridge we made our our candle wishes for women and girls:-
For WW SI Clubs old and newly incorporated to grow and succeed to meet the ever more evolving global and geopolitical demands of international poverty, education and discrimination as we emerge from this pandemic
August 6th - SIGBI News online articles covering
- how Soroptimists are tackling Climate Change, which is the focus of reports by both our Assistant Programme Directors for Planet and Partnerships;
- the final three interviews in our Meet the Board Up Close series;
- full details of the Llandudno Virtual Conference 2021 unveiled;
- what SI clubs have been doing to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Soroptimist International as well as an update on SIGBI’s celebrations
July 17th – Soroptimist Day of Action on Climate Change…This year action, awareness raising and advocacy are of great significance. We all as Soroptimists need to raise our own profile but, more importantly, the issues around addressing climate change for succeeding generations as well as ourselves. Although climate change is often on the news at present there seems to be little awareness that we, as individuals, can do a lot ourselves. This ranges from raising awareness of what we CAN do, to lobbying governments from local to national and to international and, of course taking action personally. “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”, but we need to help the pounds too. Let’s start with ourselves – have you taken a look at the UN’s Carbon Footprint Calculator. I really need to do better – not travelling to New York each March for CSW might help since flying is 40% of my footprint (not during Covid of course), with electricity at 38%, food 15% and car 7%. This makes my annual emissions equal 17 tonnes whereas the UK average is 6t and the world at 5t. Less time on the computer would help with electricity! Removing the long haul flight to New York reduces my total consumption to 11t with electricity now being 58% of my total. The UN also provides a carbon offset scheme – these can be filtered for continent and country and covers Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Alternatively you could do so by supporting our programmes to address climate change – for trees see https://sigbi.org/…/planting-trees-for-a…/4773-2/. Clearly our tree and mangrove planting, supporting Fairtrade, installing solar panels and using the UN campaign for individuals all – ACT NOW – will all contribute to our own commitments.
June 10th Call for Action – I hope we can get every woman and Soroptimist in England to respond to this evidence gathering exercise. I know I have not been listened to because I am a woman. How about you? “We are seeking your views to help inform the development of the government’s Women’s Health Strategy. This call for evidence is seeking to collect views on women’s health. It will run for a period of 14 weeks and is open to everyone aged 16 and over. The easiest way to participate in the call for evidence as an individual is by completing the public survey.
April 28th – Today is World Day for Safety and Health at Work. Read our latest blog by #Soroptimist Carol Infanti and find out all about the day and what you can do sigbi.org/2021/world-day-for-safety-and-health-at-work. #SafetyAndHealthAtWork #SoroptimistsStandUpForWomen
- Don’t forget anyone can support your Club funds & initiatives by registering with Easyfundraising and nominating SI Weybridge as your charity, if you are buying items/presents at most major retailers a small percentage is donated from the cost to our account. It’s really EASY and allows us to build a fund for a project. Here’s a bit of festive fun – easyfundraising are running an Advent Calendar competition with a £250 donation to be won every day in December, plus a Christmas Day Grand Prize of a £2000 donation and a £2000 John Lewis & Partners gift card! It’s free and open to all easyfundraising causes so if your group isn’t using easyfundraising yet, sign up here so you can enter too: http://efraising.org/2fppkVuJo4.
17th December 2020
- Join our Festive Bird Bingo evening, socialise online over Zoom with your friends and join in the fun. Wear a festive outfit/hat/glasses. Have your fizz or tipple at the ready to toast our Club and Region. Nominate a Festive Character for their attitude, tenacity or innovation this year. This is a nice opportunity to catch up over a more leisurely evening with friends and to hear how Margaret’s house move is going, news from Maggie, about Nadine’s visit to award Marion’s certificate and gifts.
- 8th December 2020
- This month our Club is thrilled to see our nomination for the Centenary WhoIsShe? recognition has been made to Marion Strehlow, a club member since 1975. SI Weybridge Member MARION features as one of 100 Soroptimists commemorated in our Centennial Year – MANY CONGRATULATIONS
- Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) together with Soroptimists from across the world join together to celebrate 100 years of Soroptimist International (SI) and celebrate a ‘Bright Past’ and a ‘Brilliant Future’. When Soroptimist International reaches a milestone in its history as now, the Celebration of 100 Years of Service, it is fitting that we should look back and pay tribute to those pioneers who established Soroptimist International on firm foundations and kept the flag flying through difficult times. Each month there will be a showcase celebrating some ‘Soroptimist Pioneers’
- These #WhoIsShe? campaign members, both past and present, from Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland have all been nominated by Soroptimist Clubs for their noteworthy contribution to society in the furtherance of the aims and objects of the organisation.
- Marion was born in Berlin on 15th April 1935 to a Jewish family. As a child during the Second World War she was transported to the Theresienstadt GheCo/Camp known as Terezin. Her father was also in the camp but she had very little contact with him and had been told he was dying. From spring 1944 until summer 1945 she was one of the children resident in ‘the villa’. The children were of mixed ages and nationalities and all of them were ill, there were no adults living there. At the age of nine Marion was the eldest girl and she tried to mother the younger ones. The children had been selected by a Czechoslovakian doctor, who wished to prove that exposure to fresh air and sunshine could cure illnesses. Marion, like many of the children, had tuberculosis. The children were very poorly fed, had few adult visitors and spent hours reclining on wooden chairs outside or sitting inside with windows open in all weathers. The villa was close to the railway line that served the camp and in the autumn of 1944 numerous trains arrived full of dead and dying people. The stench was horrendous, there were mass burials and the smell of decay permeated the garden but the children still had to do their stint outside.
- Marion survived and although her father also survived, her mother who had been in Auschwitz, had died. As her father was unable to cope Marion was sent to her aunt in the UK. She came for 6 weeks and is still here. Despite having missed more than 4 years of school, having to learn another language and suffering from ill health and nightmares, Marion completed her education and qualified as a nurse. She worked for many years in the field of health visiting, always helping others. Later in life Marion worked in a multi-faith unit attached to the Surrey police and helped with inter-faith understanding and issues relating to the Jewish community. Despite her trauma and the difficulty of speaking about the past, Marion has in recent years spoken to school children on Holocaust Memorial Day about her experience as a child during the war. She is able to make real what they learn in history and make her own personal experience evidence of the truth of the Holocaust. The children are so affected by the talks they send her wonderful personal thank you letters. This keeps alive the terrible events of that time, lest no one forget. Marion has been a member of Soroptimist International since April 1975 and has been an enthusiastic supporter of her club, the organisation and its aims in helping women and girls throughout the world. She has also been a keen participant in our friendship link visits, making many friends internationally. After such terrible events in her childhood Marion has spent her adult life helping others, always cheerful and positive.
- We at SI Weybridge & District cherish dear Marion, we’ve been privileged to hear her speak, witness her good humour and value her friendship. Hoping soon to welcome her and other members back to meetings post Covid-19.
- 15 October 2020 Women in the Shadows
- Suzette gave a fabulous oversight to the club on how modern slavery is so evident in British society and her role working for the Clewer Initiative. She noted data highlighting the fact that there are an estimated 136K women, men and children held in differing forms of servitude or being exploited in Britain now. 1/130 women in Britain are thought to be enslaved to organised crime be it in servitude, agriculture, fraud, sexual exploitation or businesses such as pop up brothels, car washes and nail bars. We should not forget that the nationality of those enslaved is not always as often thought people from developing countries, the ranking for slavery is topped by statistics showing British people are amongst the worst affected. Some are enslaved for years, in Surrey alone in the last 6 months from July 42 cases were under investigation and there are on average 5 new cases a week under investigation. She explained why it’s hard for victims to raise the alarm (fear, shame) and the importance of vigilance and personal reporting on the part of each and every one of us. Moreover we should question our own motives when buying goods, using services that might be cheap because forced labour is used.
- Suzette supplied the cascade of contacts individuals can report to even anonymously. The Clewer Nuns (Anglican) are enabling information sharing and action through churches throughout Lent starting January 21st) a 5 week course providing talks and resources and engaging with a team of practitioners. Apps are being developed to enable consumer reporting data collation and provision of guidance on service companies which are bona fide and not involved in slavery. Crimestoppers, the police and helplines are available resources to report suspected cases. A topical report issued by Walk Free ( https://www.minderoo.org/walk-free/) is a relevant resource if one wants to further understand the extent of slavery from infanticide, missing persons, educational impedance through to limitations on work and current recommendations. It’s possible to gain a better understanding by subscribing the Clewer Initiative newsletter or publicising the training run for the church of England parishes next year. (https://www.theclewerinitiative.org/news/2019/1/30/new-safeguarding-and-modern-slavery-course
- Herewith the telephone numbers to put in your mobile regarding modern slavery
- • Modern Slavery Helpline 08000121700.
• The Gangmasters Labour Abuse Authority 08004320804
• Crimestoppers on 0800555111
• Fearless www.fearless.org
• In an emergency 999
- When you see something, when you know the situation is not right, all you need to do is telephone, tell of your intuition – if it doesn’t feel right it, it
probably isn’t. Go on The Clewer website www.theclewerinitiative.org and find out more, sign up for their newsletter
- 15 July 2020
- SI Weybridge & District present £500 to Weybridge Foodbank as Covid-19 causes shortfall of in kind donations
- The Weybridge branch of Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland (SIGBI) has this month responded to donation shortages at the Weybridge Foodbank. A reduction in supermarket shopping, as locals shop online during lockdown, has meant the Foodbank has seen a donation shortfall during recent months. On Wednesday 2 July, Elmbridge resident and member Brenda Saunders from the Weybridge & District Soroptimists (SIWD) presented a cheque for £500 to Angela Miller, Weybridge Foodbank Team Leader. The money will be used to purchase food and household items and vouchers for distribution to those in need in the local area.
- Run by local women, SIWD is passionate about supporting programmes that improve the lives of women and girls both in Elmbridge and around the world. The branch runs regular fundraisers and supporting community projects including donating women’s health products to the Foodbank in Walton on Thames, providing much needed items which were at that time seldom reaching local collection boxes. Under lockdown their regular ‘Business Meetings’ have been impossible, but the women have pressed on, with 20 local members meeting online each month via Zoom to continue their work.
- Generally, donations of food and toiletries for the Runnymede & Weybridge Foodbank are collected in Waitrose, Tesco Addlestone, the Weybridge library and at St. James’ church, but COVID-19 and the associated lockdown has significantly reduced the level of retail ‘shopping’, whilst furloughs and job losses in lockdown have created even greater demand.
- SIWD member Brenda Saunders raised the donation shortage to the Club, highlighting the Weybridge Foodbank COVID-19 appeal for donations. She herself had been popping a weekly ‘donation’ box in her front garden for neighbours to donate to. Club members stepped up and donated the cost of their usual club meal for 3 months (April-June), to raise funds for Foodbank.
- The Foodbank’s Angela Miller explained that they are usually located at St James’ Church in Weybridge, but due to church closures all provisions are being ‘doorstep’ delivered by volunteers. In due course it’s hoped the church can once again provide a welcoming resource where those in crisis can have a ‘cuppa’ and chat about their situation. The emphasis is very much, Angela explained, “on looking out for local community and signposting the vulnerable and needy to where they can seek additional help and advice so people can break free from poverty.”
- Dorothy Clark a Weybridge Soroptimist, awarded an MBE for services to children’s education in the community, was truly delighted to see families supported by Soroptimists. She commented: “A child needs nourishment to learn. Food poverty affects families in high cost areas quickly as parents have high fixed outgoings. In Weybridge, any economic change can impact poverty faster as a result; COVID-19 has caused distress and accelerated it. It’s key we support families now over the summer holidays when schools out, we are glad to do what we can now.”
- About SIW&D
Soroptimist International Weybridge & District is an active women’s club with a membership of over 20 women. The club membership is drawn from Molesey, Hersham, Walton & Staines on Thames, Addlestone, Byfleet and Weybridge at present. The Club meets 10 times a year and supports local, national and international projects with a focus on improving the lives of women and girls. We welcome new women members; get in touch to find out more via: https://sigbi.org/weybridge/
- About the Weybridge Foodbank
Weybridge Foodbank opened in March 2019 as local requests for emergency help became apparent. Access is by referral with immediate provision of 3 days of emergency food, referrals come from a variety of sources including schools, DWP, Citizens Advice, health professionals and family centres. The Foodbank is part of the Trussell Trust network which is currently working in collaboration with Runnymede council. The Foodbank also runs other support projects including a 6 week “Eat Well Spend Less” cookery course to teach people how to use the tinned and dried foods and combine them with fresh foods they buy in a cost-effective way, budgeting information is also covered on the course to help with how to spend well. Another initiative ‘Food4Lunch’ regularly supplies a two course lunch provisions to local vulnerable families for each 2 weeks of the school holidays. For more information about The Trussell Trust and how you can help see more at https://www.trusselltrust.org/what-we-do/
- 15 March 2020
- SI Weybridge & District Murder Mystery Evening raises £1000 towards its #PinkTukTuk Appeal for The Rosie May Foundation
- March 2020, who will ever forget it? The subtle but unbelievable news of Covid-19 infection cases in Europe grew steadily louder as our Club member Danny Sparkes and her team planned a Murder Mystery evening to raise funds for the 2020 Club goal to enable purchase of a Pink Tuk Tuk by the Rosie May Foundation.
- In the final days of freedom, before lock down was even perceived, on March 7th the Club held a successful fundraiser. Ottershaw Players organised the event performing an entertaining pantomime “The Mystery Murders”. A show in two parts, the audience was spellbound as the characters and events unfurled and the producer was found dead in a dressing room. Over 50 participants followed the characters, the facts, the diversions and then debated the clues, circumstances and culprit over a tasty fish & chip supper. Finishing up with choc-ices and treats and washed down with a glass or two of wine conclusions were drawn and submitted. A masterful presentation of the secrets, surprises and solutions followed in Act II with each character assassinating another and slowly bringing the truths to light. After a fantastic dialogue, performed with panache, the killer was revealed. Only one table of six including a Soroptomister managed to deduce who the killer was!
- A lively raffle followed, a few more drinks were consumed (after a quick Tesco run to top up the fast diminished bar!). A ‘TukTuk Tastic’ night for sure. Approaching £1000 was raised on that wet damp evening, a fitting sum towards our 2020 goal. We must extend a huge club ’round of applause’ to Danny our extraordinary STAR performer for securing welcome donations for the raffle, the superb cast from Ottershaw Players and a tasteful venue. This was most certainly a masterful occasion thanks to Danny’s hard work and talent in getting a job done. Not to miss either …thanking Colin who produced a fabulous life size pink Tuk Tuk for the club as you can see. Big thanks too to the backstage team in the kitchen and bar and hosts who charmed everyone and made the evening an event to be proud of.
- Ticket sales were tough for an event held on a winter’s night during the COVID-9 pandemic. It was superb to see Soroptimists from Woking, Weybridge and even a TV celebrity enjoying the evening. The proceeds of £1000 will make a big contribution to our PINKTT target in 2020.
- January 2020
- ‘SOROPPORTUNITY’ IN SOUTH AFRICA – Alexis Neville, Club Member and past Regional President reports
- On my recent trip to South Africa I stayed with a Past Regional President of Southern Region. She took me to meet a friend and fellow Cape of Good Hope Soroptimist Susan, who runs a Children’s Project. The project is located in what these days they call an informal settlement, above Hout Bay south of Cape Town. Susan originally thought of starting an orphanage but after 18 months getting to know the people in the settlement and asking what they wanted, she discovered they would prefer the children to stay in the community with relatives and friends rather than be separated from them. However, many of the children did need help and support. The children go to local schools but after school they go to the project for that help and support. The volunteers at the project help the children to read, provide space and help for homework, provide some formal teaching by age group (particularly English) and fun and games. They also provide a hot meal each evening and cold food to take home so they eat before school next day. All the children receive hugs when they arrive and are listened to and cared for. The volunteers also work within the settlement helping when there is a family crisis or other events. When we were being shown around we met a teacher of the older children marking their English test. The questions were on the blackboard and one of them I’d have struggled to answer. I also think a lot of children in the UK would have found the one asking them to form a sentence with a semi colon challenging. We were also impressed with the children’s’ writing – neat and well formed. Within the project there is also a separate training facility for teenagers where they are taught to be baristas so they can get jobs in the many coffee bars and restaurants in the locality.
- One of the young volunteers from Sweden had the children write short pieces about their lives and the project and had these published in a beautiful colourful book that is sold to help fund the project. One of the amazing sections is where they write about the fire in the settlement in 2014. You can imagine how horrific it must have been with all the very flammable shacks so close together and roads too narrow for the fire engines.
- December 2019
- Dorothy Clark MBE, Club Founder reports on Visit to Sri Lanka
- Dennis’ and my main reason for visiting Sri Lanka was to meet Dilini’s new baby girl born in July – this was our 26th visit to Sri Lanka and it has been wonderful to support, Dilini and Buddhini, the Tsunami orphans we met 14 years ago together with SI Weybridge & District. Having seen them grow up and attending Dilini’s graduation ceremony from the University of Colombo and her wedding to Sagara we could not wait to meet their baby, Dewshi. She is beautiful.