Salisbury Soroptimist’s work to make Salisbury a safer city for women and girls was recognised on 22 October with the achievement of a regional award.
The ‘Making our City Safer’ project won the inaugural Bluebell award against stiff competition from seven other Soroptimist Clubs across the Region of Southern England.
Of the project, the chairman of judges Hilary Ratcliffe OBE said: “Imaginative, strategic, thematic and very practical. Very much Salisbury focussed but model could be transferred and used in another place. An excellent project working to make Salisbury a safer city.”
Liz Batten from the project team said: “We were delighted that the judges noted how our project demonstrated good partnership working – with lead partners Safer and Supportive Salisbury as well as with Wiltshire Council, Salisbury City Council, Wiltshire Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office, Pubwatch, Salisbury BID, Salisbury Street Pastors and FearFree. It has been wonderful to have so many sections of our community working with us to make a difference to women in our community.”
The award comes with £1,000 worth of prize money which will be spent on developing and expanding the project locally.
The project began in 2021 with a community conference at The Chapel which led to an action plan in which many members of the local community as well as elected councillors took part. The actions ranged from night street audits to check on street lighting, through work with licensees on improving safety and raising awareness with sports clubs and companies, to supporting a local schools forum and a follow up peer to peer event. In recent months Club members have been working with Wiltshire Police on ‘Operation Awake’ to develop a bespoke reporting structure for gender abuse for female councillors.
The aim of the competition was to encourage Soroptimist Clubs to deliver projects which draw in new members, particularly younger members. The project had to be a service project with a focus on ‘doing’ rather than fundraising, focusing specifically on benefiting women and girls. The competition’s aim was that all members of the Club were involved in some way. In 2023 the Salisbury Club members contributed more than 400 volunteer hours, held 35 project meetings and 25 members of the Club were actively involved. They have had 27 articles published in the media about the project and have recruited 12 new members to the Club since October 2022.