Club aims to improve the lives of women and girls everywhere

Words and photo by Dave Barry

The local branch of a worldwide organisation which tries to improve the lives of women and girls everywhere is moving into its 80th year.

Globally, Scarborough Soroptimists have paid for the education of a girl in Pakistan and support Smiles to Tanzania.

This charity buys school uniforms to enable children to go to school and solar lamps to replace dangerous oil lamps, in Ukerewe.

Nationally, they have supported their parent organisation with its projects.

And locally, the Soroptimists support women’s refuges such as Eva Women’s Aid, which provides accommodation and professional support for abused women.

Members have raised awareness of tissue and organ donation and cleared rubbish from the beaches as part of a national scheme to reduce coastal pollution.

They have supported many local charities including the Rainbow Centre, the Amicable Society, Yorkshire Air Ambulance, Parkinsons, Young Teens and Dial-a-Ride.

The local branch meets on the second Monday of each month at Montrosa in Esplanade Road, on the South Cliff. “We have speakers and discussions and work towards helping the organisations with which we are involved”, says spokesperson Claire Feather.

Members and friends convened at the Palm Court Hotel on Saturday to celebrate the charter given to the branch 79 years ago and to celebrate the work that has gone on in the club for all these years.

Reflecting on the club’s history, Claire says: “Our main achievement has been Montrosa, which provides supported living for older people - not necessarily Soroptimists - who no longer wish to live alone.

“In the 1950s, a building was rented from Scarborough Council to provide homes for women whose living accommodation had been attached to their jobs and who could not afford to buy a property”, Claire says.

“The Soroptimists ran the project. Now Montrosa is a purpose-built property run by professionals with some Soroptimists acting as trustees”.

Anyone interested in joining the Scarborough branch should ring Claire Feather on 512548.