Welcome to SI Weybridge
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.”
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.
‘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.
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.