WORK by a North-East group to educate, empower and enable women and girls across the world has gained national recognition.

Soroptimist International Durham (SI Durham), which strives to improve the lives of women and girls, was nominated for a Programme Action Award by Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI).

Members attended the Federation Conference at the Arena Conference Centre, in Liverpool, at the weekend.

A spokeswoman said: “This was a very special conference for SI Durham members.

“It was the first time the club, in its 71 year history, had been nominated for a Programme Action Award in the Advocacy category. SI Durham was one of three clubs nominated.

"While the club didn’t win the award it was important the work of club members was recognised.”

Members discussed in detail how improvements could be made to citizenship across all faiths and ages in the UK.

A report submitted linked members’ work with Rainbows, Brownies and Guides in a Joint Challenge badge as well as funding and supporting children from Evergreen Primary School, in Bishop Auckland, to visit the Prince Bishop Alpaca farm.

A final report submitted to the House of Lords select committee on citizenship was recognised by parliament in drafting new proposals to improve the life of all citizens in the UK.

In addition, following a talk by Professor Helen Pankhurst, great granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, on the subject of the Suffragette slogan, “Deeds not Words,” Vyvyenne Mack, joint president elect gave a speech on “Vote 100” – 100 years since some women in the UK got the vote.

She highlighted the different dates in the last century that women across SIGBI in India, the Caribbean and Africa were able to vote – for example all women in South Africa were only to vote in 1994.