Our Club programme for 2018/19 has the theme of ‘Pressing for Progress’; a similar phrase is also being used to mark the 100 year anniversary of women getting the vote. This theme is one that can be used by all our Club Groups in the way they work and report; it would be good if we could both use, and hear, this theme regularly throughout our Club year.

To put our theme into context we have planned to raise our awareness of the role that women played at Bletchley Park, when two speakers come in November, as well as joining in the celebrations of the 100 years of women getting the vote both locally, and at Westminster Hall for the Suffragettes exhibition in July.

Our 2 main charities are St Basil’s which support the homeless locally, and also ANAWIM which support local women and their children, especially those vulnerable to exploitation. We have speakers from both charities coming to update us, and advise us of ways we can support them. One such project is already being undertaken by the Craft and Laughs Group, in that they have designed and made cotton tote bags, which will give us all a service opportunity to donate some requested items to fill the bags for ANAWIM.

Locally, we of course have our special day of Fun in the Park; we will have speakers from the chosen charities coming in August before the great day on September 23rd. In October a speaker from the Solihull local history group will talk to us about ‘A Nostalgic Look at Solihull in 1950s’. This is a supper meeting, and is open to guests. 1950s dress optional.

We have the chance to raise our understanding of mentoring, both locally (in May) through a Solihull Council scheme, and nationally (in January), through The Prince’s Trust. It could be that opportunities may arise for a project from these talks.

Internationally, we will have an update on the possible formation of an African Federation after Isobel Smith our SIGBI Vice President returns from the African conference in Marrakesh. In June we will hear about the Kori Project based in Sierra Leone from 2 Soroptimists who have visited the project.

Following their visit 2 years ago one of our Friendship Link clubs, SI Fulda in Germany, will be joining us again. We look forward to welcoming them at our supper meeting in June.

We will be celebrating the 5th year of our Solihull Schools’ Public Speaking Competition by holding it at the Club Business Meeting in February. It is always refreshing to see the world through the eyes of a youngster.

At our supper in March we will be looking back over the Club year and recognising the work of our various Groups as well as the Club as a whole.

The Events Group has prepared a lovely varied programme of events for fun, friendship as well as occasions to raise funds for our charities.

At the Federation conference, being held in Liverpool this October, Isobel Smith will become President Elect of our Federation, and Jan Hemlin will be installed as President of Midland Arden Region. We wish them both the very best of luck, and we look forward to supporting them. Jan’s first Regional meeting will be in December at Chesford Grange, and we are honoured to be the Club hosting the event.

We have a busy year ahead of us. May it be happy, stimulating and a chance to enrich and strengthen our work and friendships.

Please take the opportunity to be one of the many voices.

In 2018/19 SI Solihull and District will be ‘Pressing for Progress’.

April 12th 2018



President, Elaine Stephens
Soroptimist International, Solihull & District