2024 News/Events

New President

President Elle handed the Insignia to incoming President Margaret Parkinson who presented Elle with flowers and thanked her for her great year.  Ann Keelan was presented with the President Elect badge and Hannah Burch was presented with the Vice President badge.

International Women’s Day – Pampering for vulnerable women

Another successful pamper day to mark International Women’s Day was organised by Plymouth Soroptimists for women who use the services at Plymouth’s Sunflower Women’s Centre and Plymouth Domestic Abuse Services (Refuge).

The pamper day is now an annual event for these resilient women who may not have the means to experience the luxury of self-care due to their challenging circumstances.  A team of beauticians from GHQ Training, Camelons along with Soroptimists volunteered their services to provide treatments including hairdressing, manicures, pedicures, massages and facials.  The women attending were also invited to order period pants and join hundreds of other local women who have been given six pairs of period pants funded from a £10,000 lottery grant and donations from Soroptimists.  

Local businesses provided sandwiches, crisps, fruit and biscuits so everyone attending had a packed lunch. A team of Soroptimists worked tirelessly throughout the day providing a constant flow of teas, coffees and biscuits.

Soroptimist Sue Miller, the overall lead on this event, said: “We believe that every woman deserves to feel valued and cherished, regardless of their situation. Our pamper day aims to uplift spirits, boost confidence, and remind these incredible women of their worth.  We couldn’t do this without a brilliant 15-strong team of hairdressers and manicurists from GHQ, along with facials courtesy of Greenhouse Spa.  Soroptimists also pitched in giving foot spas and manicures to over 40 3women who came. 

Sue continues: “It’s always so gratifying to get fantastic positive feedback from the women who really enjoy the day. Everyone involved in helping at the event also thoroughly enjoys the day which is so uplifting for all concerned.”

Slow cookers for Sunflower Women’s Centre

Terry (left) and Sylvia (right) with the slow cookers

Plymouth Soroptimists have given 21 slow cookers to the *Sunflower Women’s Centre in Plymouth.  Twenty women who access the Sunflower services will have a slow cooker demonstration, after which they will each be given a slow cooker to take away, together with a slow cooker recipe book.  One of the cookers and recipe books will be for the demonstrator to use.

Soroptimist Terry West put this proposal to club members who readily agreed to fund this out of a legacy from two much missed members.  Terry said: “The aim is to encourage women to cook nutritious and inexpensive meals for their families.  We hope having a demonstration in a setting they are familiar with will boost their confidence to cook healthy meals from scratch and may even will encourage the next generation to enjoy making homemade food.  With the increasing cost of living squeezing budgets, slow cooker meals are a great way to make money go further whilst providing healthy family meals with minimal effort.”

Sunflower Women’s Centre Manager Paula Carnell said:  “This is a wonderful opportunity and generous donation.  To be able to run workshops to share with our women good healthy food options cooked economically in the slow cookers which they will then be able to have and use for themselves and their families is truly amazing. The Soroptimists have always been very helpful and supported us to be able to give our women that use the centre opportunities to enrich their lives and empower them to feel confident to look after themselves and families.”

£10,000 lottery grant for period pants!

Following on from a successful pilot with Marjon students, Plymouth Soroptimist Ann Keelan successfully secured a £10,000 lottery grant to roll out the distribution of period pants to local women. Hundreds of local women will now have the opportunity to put an end to ‘period poverty’ thanks to this generous lottery grant. 

The pants are reusable and therefore environmentally friendly and the aim is to encourage, support and normalise the use of reusable period products in place of unsustainable single-use pads and tampons. 

The Plymouth Soroptimist club will be working with other local women’s groups to distribute the pants, in particular with Sunflower Women’s Centre and Trevi.

The lottery cheque was presented to Plymouth Soroptimists by Johnny Mercer MP who has a long standing association with Trevi.

Soroptimist Ann Keelan spearheaded the successful lottery grant application.  She said: “We’re absolutely delighted that we’re going to be able to help so many women who struggle to pay for period products, while at the same time encouraging a sustainable long term solution to end the use of disposable pads and tampons.  We are extremely grateful to national lottery players who have made this initiative possible.”

Care leavers gift boxes

Youngsters leaving the local care system and setting up on their own will be presented with a box of useful items and a Tesco gift voucher.  From the legacy fund we are allocating £50 per box to include the contents and gift voucher.  This will be an ongoing project in conjunction with the key social workers who will deliver the boxes to care leavers as they embark on their independent lives.