Women starting out in the engineering industry are to benefit from a £121,000 windfall as a Bradford charity shares more than £250,000 with groups across the district.
Bradford Soroptimists (SI Bradford) raised the cash from the sale of Soroptimist House, a building the charity owned for many years which it sold to a private buyer last summer when it became too expensive to run.
Five organisations will share the money, with the biggest donation going to the University of Bradford’s School of Engineering and Informatics.
The charities are all ones supported by SI Bradford.
The Ear Trust will use its £60,000 donation to fund a researcher for two years and The Blenheim Project’s £10,000 donation will pay for child care for homeless children.
The £50,000 given to Together Women will pay for child care workers and £10,000 given to Barnardo’s Turnaround and Young Carers will cover the cost of activity weeks for 20 children.
SI Bradford member and secretary of Bradford Soroptimist Housing Association, Beryl Eakin, said the group also gave £4,000 to the University’s Peace Studies department to honour the contribution of women to the First World war effort.
She said SI Bradford wanted to highlight the cause of Soroptimist International which promotes the lives of women throughout the world.
“It’s very positive. It’s wonderful,” she said.
“SI Bradford is one of the oldest Soroptimist clubs in the federation. It started in 1928 and has a very proud record in Bradford.”
The £121,000 gift to the university’s engineering department will help fund a Soroptimist Postgraduate Scholarship, a bursary, award and prize, as well as a special Countries in Crisis Scholarship to help a young woman in a career that she may otherwise not be able to pursue due to crisis in her home country.
Professor Julian Chaudhuri, Dean of the School of Engineering and Informatics, said: “This generous gift will enable us to formally recognise our female students’ academic achievements and will also provide opportunities for young women who are studying engineering or informatics to enhance their future employability.
“I would like to thank Bradford Soroptimists for their kind donation to the University.”
Soroptimists International is a worldwide organisation for women in management and professions who, using the expertise and management skills developed in their working lives, work to advance human rights and the status of women.
One of SI Bradford’s early projects was to set up the Bradford Soroptimist Housing Association to finance a Flower Fund Home and later, in 1974, buy the property that became Soroptimist House in Park View Road, near Lister Park.
The property contained the group’s meeting room but the main part of the building was converted to provide five self-contained flats which were let at preferential rates to professional business women who had fallen on hard times.