Sevenoaks Soroptimists – getting up takes a little longer!

Why do eight women with the total combined age of 578 years get down on their hands and knees to garden monthly and then weekly in the run up to In Bloom competitions for Sevenoaks town ?

We are members of the largest global service organisation for women affiliated to the United Nations. We are pledged to raise awareness and act on their 17 sustainability development goals which include promoting good health and wellbeing, education, sustainable cities and communities, climate action, partnership for the goals. These goals come under the umbrella of People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership.

Our partnership with Sevenoaks Town Council started three years ago when we responded to a request for volunteer gardeners. We undertook to restore the Vine Sensory garden and surrounds. Last year, we started work on restoring the herb garden.

Our work means that we meet the United Nations goals, particularly for the elderly, dementia sufferers, people suffering from mental health problems and families who use the areas to educate their children on edible plants, introducing them to the natural world. A calming also educational place, with a sensitive choice of plants helping the community inclusivity needed for sustainable cities and communities.

During the first lock down in 2020, we supported Sevenoaks Town Council by making doves of peace intended for a WW11 celebration event on 8 May. It was planned to hang these doves on the trees in the Vine and on the railings. In the event it was not possible due to covid restrictions, but the doves did fly to the trees on VJ day on 15 August.  Six wooden doves are still bravely standing in the sensory garden.

For the last three years, Sevenoaks Town Council has won gold medals in the SSE England ‘In Bloom’ competition, reaching eligibility status for entry into the ‘Britain in Bloom’ competition (towns section). The big one! Sadly, this competition was cancelled in 2020 and is not yet known what its status will be this year.

Sevenoaks Soroptimists are in a win-win situation here in that we really love our work on the Vine.  It benefits our own health and wellbeing and hopefully the gardens give much pleasure to the people of Sevenoaks improving their quality of life.

For further information about the work of Soroptimist International please visit the Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland [SIGBI].

Soroptimist International Sevenoaks has 23 members. The club holds monthly meetings at Rockdale Centre, Sevenoaks on the second Tuesday in the month, 7 for 7.30pm. If you are interested in our work and wish to know more please contact our membership officer Sandie Higgs on 01732 451255 or 07749 893715

Sevenoaks Town Council welcomes enquiries from readers interested in volunteer gardening:- please contact the Town Clerk at  their offices on 01732 459953

Isobel Groves
Programme Action Officer
SI Sevenoaks

  • This article was originally written for the SSE England in Bloom competition and amended for Kent Bylines