Dinner Meeting – 11 July 2022

President Deborah warmly welcomed distinguished guests to our meeting at the Royal Hotel on 11 July –  the High Sheriff of Hampshire, Lady Edwina Grosvenor; Winchester Mayor, Cllr Derek Green; Claire Hubberstey, CEO One Small Thing Charity; Michael Mordecai (Rotaract); Nancy Meldrum, GRSP student;  David Atraghi (guest of Colin Cook),  Nina Begg, Winchester Arts Society; Azmat Khan, prospective Rotaract member from Winchester University; and a group of recently retired club members.

This was Deborah’s first dinner meeting as our president 2022 – 23.  We were all delighted to welcome her and our many guests. It was a joy to see our greatly missed recent members.

Our dinner speaker, Lady Edwina Grosvenor, spoke about her charity, One Small Thing.  A criminologist and prison philanthropist, she has devoted her career to transforming conditions in prisons. One Small Thing is dedicated to redesigning the justice system for women and their children. 

Lady Edwina acknowledged that she comes from a very privileged, wealthy, loving family background. She was aware of the unacceptable levels of suicide, drug abuse and self-harm across women’s prisons in England. She wanted to provide these women with a safe haven where mothers and their children could remain together, away from abusive husbands, partners or drug barons.  She is developing Hope Street, a pioneering purpose-built residential community across Hampshire where women coming out of prison will receive a wide range of rehabilitative services, in a holistic environment, without the need for their children to be taken into care.

Claire Hubberstey, CEO of One Small Thing, gave us some hard facts about women in prison. Many women offenders have a history of domestic abuse. 43% are sent to prison for minor offences, such as non-payment of their TV licence fee – they just do not have the money. Domestic abuse costs billions. Due to a lack of an alternative to custody, women are kept in prison as a place of safety. Hope Street will provide 24-hour provision for these women. There will be several properties in Hampshire which is a very large county so is a  perfect location for an influencer.  The ultimate goal is to ensure these establishments become self-supporting. 

Lady Edwina and Claire pointed out that we need to keep politics out of the judicial system.  They gave us a very sobering insight into the inadequacy and unfairness of the treatment metered out to women, and ultimately their children, in our present judicial service.

Let us give our support to this outstanding “One Small Thing” project, which is one of our President Deborah’s chosen charities for her year.

Thank you to our speakers, and to Deborah for an evening of friendship and fun which also made us aware of our privileges and social responsibilities as Rotarians.

Click here to several photos taken at the meeting, also include GRSP student and PHF presentation: 11 July photos

Diana Brooks

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