Soroptimist International Jersey was chartered on 9 December 1950 and celebrates 70 years of service in Jersey. A service club for women, who join together to serve their local community and who raise awareness and fundraise on issues that affect women and girls worldwide. The name ‘Soroptimist’ was coined by combining the Latin words soro ‘sister’ and optima ‘best’ and can be taken to mean ‘best for women.’
The Club’s vision is that women and girls will achieve their individual and collective potential, realise aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong, peaceful communities worldwide. Soroptimist International Jersey is part of a worldwide organisation of women. The global organisation will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year.
‘The Club’s first achievement was the building of ‘Soroptimist House’ in the 1950s for elderly women of limited means,’ explained Catherine Kirby, President, Soroptimist International Jersey. ‘Soroptimists were also the drive behind Mont à L’Abbé School which opened in 1967, the Jersey Women’s Refuge, which opened in 1988, and the Carer’s Association, (JACI) now renamed Carers Jersey, established in 1994. Most recently Soroptimist International Jersey have hosted successful Zumba Glow event fund raisers for Jersey Women’s Refuge and pioneered the ‘No More Taboo Period,’ an innovative period poverty awareness campaign.
In these surreal times when we cannot get together we enjoyed raising a toast to the past, present and future of the Club on Zoom. Collectively between all members there are 742 years of service to the Island! I would like to thank the dedication, commitment and passion of all our members. We look forward to sharing the Soroptimist message with more women and girls in Jersey in 2021 and will be embarking on a recruitment campaign to ensure any woman or girl in Jersey can benefit from becoming a Soroptimist. As a rule we go about our business in a quiet and modest way but felt 70 years needed to be celebrated.’
Every year the Club helps raise funds for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and the Jersey Christmas Appeal. Soroptimists have been collecting at Ransoms for approx 20 years for the Jersey Christmas Appeal to support Island families who might be experiencing financial hardship at Christmas. On average helping 1500 individuals or families each year.
In 2018 the Club raised £2017 over two weekends
In 2019 the Club raised £2627 over three weekends
In 2020 the Club raised £1581 over only one weekend before social distancing restrictions were introduced.
Huge thanks to Jersey’s ever generous community and of course the Ransoms team. Using Soroptimist International Jersey’s new SumUp technology generated £502 of this total. The Club also provided two luxury hampers of Christmas goodies for the Jersey Christmas Appeal auction.
Soroptimist International Jersey were also delighted to hear from the Royal British Legion that members had collected £227.50 at the two Cenotaph events despite the severe Covid restrictions.
The Club were delighted to provide three bursaries of £1,500 to VI form girls taking STEM subjects at Highlands College for the first time In November and look forward to continuing this initiative for many years to come.
Our aim is to help ‘educate, enable and empower’ women and girls locally, nationally and internationally. Due to the proactive work of the the Clubs, Soroptimists were given Special Consultative Status at the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations in 2013.