Welcome to SI Winchester and District
Welcome to the website of Soroptimist International (SI) Winchester and District. Our club consists of a group of 21 friendly, lively and energetic women from all walks of life and of all ages who work together using our various skills and talents to make a difference to the lives of others. We do this through awareness-raising, lobbying, practical help and fund-raising.
Formed in 1962, we meet twice each month, once for a club meeting (latterly on zoom) and on the second occasion socially, either for a supper with a speaker, a fundraising event, or just a convivial get-together to which friends and partners are also invited.
Beyond our own club, members value the global network of Soroptimist clubs giving opportunities to travel, meet like-minded women and share ideas across the world.
We work hard to improve the lot of women and girls worldwide and we always manage to fuel our efforts with fun, food, and friendship.
CLUB PROJECTS 2023-24
Every year the club selects projects to support to focus the efforts of smaller project groups.
Project tasks can be as simple as collecting items needed by charities, to more complex activities like lobbying local MPs on legislative change. Individual members contribute their time depending on how their own circumstances and work commitments allow.
Winchester Women’s Refuge We are a trusted partner and come up as the online link to the Refuge, we act as a liaison hub for other supporters. We have representation on the domestic abuse forum. We provide welcome packs. We organise an annual picnic in liaison with St Swithuns and provide Christmas presents for the children to give to their mums.
Two Saints; a hostel supporting vulnerable women This is a continuation of an established Southampton initiative, some needs are similar to the refuge, some needs complement it, for example items donated but not required by one may be needed by the other. In this instance donations and initiatives are exclusively for women
Trinity & the Night Shelter-supporting the homeless and vulnerable Almost a quarter of users of Trinity are women. We have historically supported all users, here with “hot” and “cold” food bags. More recently we have returned to financial donations, especially in response to extreme weather conditions. One member, currently liaises closely with Trinity to assess need. Through Trinity information is also passed to us about the needs of the Night Shelter. We recently provided apple trees for Bradbury house, the new residential facility attached to Trinity.
This is a new initiative idea, which received a great deal of support, when suggested. Its form and direction are in the process of being evaluated. Initial questionnaires have been circulated. Ultimately it is likely to involve lobbying to ensure social media companies are held accountable for their members’ behavior online and that all correct safeguards are put in place to prevent bullying and abuse, especially of young women in the UK.
Both Southampton and Winchester have raised funds for solar lamps in the past and this summer held a successful fund raising garden tea The lamps enable young people to study in areas of the world where there is an absence of electricity. We support two programmes Solar Aid working in Malawi and the Little Sun Foundation working in Rwanda and Ethiopia. These lamps support education, health, the environment and family economy in these countries where 90% have no access to electricity and are over reliant on kerosene. This initiative has the potential to be develop as a STEM project with local schools.
The successful pilot scheme was first run in Northumberland. Soroptimist volunteers are trained and then attend court sittings to observe and report prosecutions progress. Dame Vera Baird, the Victim’s Commissioner, wants to roll out the scheme to more areas and has spoken at Region.
The Pillowcase Project involves restyling pillow cases into dresses for young girls, sometimes with a message or small toy in pocket and making shorts for boys. Updated paper work is sent to schools to introduce the project. Individual Certificates of Achievement are awarded to participating pupils and an overall School Certificate is presented, alongside a book on textiles for their library. The garments go mostly to Africa and have mainly been made by schoolchildren as part of their curriculum or in after school activities. The project is an excellent way of fostering international goodwill and understanding and providing dual benefits for both the maker and receiver. The dresses have been distributed in the past via a variety of secure charity routes, most recently via Theresa Wells (SI Salisbury) and Edukaid.
Fish’n’ Chip project sends knitted vests and hats in 2-ply wool for new born babies to eg Nepal and Africa for mothers, sometimes suffering from AIDS, who are so poor that they have to take their babies home wrapped in newspaper. SI Winchester has carried this project forward with the help of a network of contacts; family, friends, neighbours. Since November 2019 we have collected 115 knitted baby sets.
CLUB ROLES 2023-24
Treasurer: Julie Blackwell
Secretary: (Federation contact) Pat Abbott
Membership: Gina Bird
Regional Representation: Tref Mitchell and Helen Porter
Website : Jeni Patrick and Julie Blackwell
Publicity and Social Media: Julie Blackwell and Helen Porter
Friendship links: Jennifer Laute
If you would like to find out more, or come along and meet us as a guest please contact firstname.lastname@example.org