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Belper and Duffield Sleigh Preparations

Santa dropped into Belper this morning to bring the Sleigh in for maintenance ahead of his heavy Christmas Schedule.

Santa’s elf Alan Widdowson had recommended Santa use Belpers’ Martin Tolley Auto Electrician as the Sleigh has a problem with the lights.

Have a listen to the video of Santa talking to Martin assured Santa that all will be repaired well in time for Christmas and with a loud ‘Ho Ho Ho’ he climbed aboard Rudolf and headed back to Lapland. Santa’s Elf stayed on in Belper to help organise Rotary Santa and his sleigh touring many Belper streets in December and visit Morrison’s on a few occasions.

Santa Elf Alan said, “Santa has to be even more careful this year. He and his sleigh can’t stop on the street but he will drive by slowly so children can at least see him in Belper.”

Posted in: Belper & Duffield

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Give the gift of clean water this Christmas

One Aquabox family filter costs just £25 to manufacture, yet it can produce up to half a million litres of clean, safe water. Try to visualise that much water imagine half a million litre bottles. Its hard to think of a better use of £25, isnt it?

If you donate £25 and provide your e-mail address when you make your donation, Aquabox will send you a certificate which you can print out and give to your friends and/or relatives.

Posted in: Aquabox

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Sitwell Rotary supports Sheffield Healthcare Workers

Members of the ‘Help for Healthcare Workers – Sheffield’ sewing group put their sewing machines to good use earlier this year to make face masks, mask adaptors and scrubs to support the NHS.

Since making their initial donation, the ‘Help for Healthcare Workers – Sheffield’ sewing group had donated an additional 600 masks to the charity. The donation was possible thanks to funding for material and other resources from the Sitwell Rotary Club.

Read the full article on the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust website:

A selection of the 600 facemasks produced by the sewing group

Posted in: Rotherham Sitwell

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Homeless become providers during Covid lockdown as Rotary steps up to help

Former rough sleepers at Derby’s Padley Hostel have been key players in the fight to stave off hunger and homelessness for hundreds in the city during the Covid crisis. 

With backing from churches, schools, private donors, supermarkets and Rotary Clubs, Padley has maintained its caring service against all the odds.  But it is now appealing for more support as it gears up to face the tough winter ahead.

The successful charity, founded in 1985, saw a 650% increase in demand for food parcels as the pandemic struck earlier in the year.  Since then it has prepared and served almost 10000 hot meals and delivered over 1000 food parcels to the hungry and homeless across Derby.  And several of the residents of the Padley hostel have been instrumental in what has been a major exercise, providing meals for the 100 or so people who have been housed in hotels and other hostels as part of the ‘Everyone In’ campaign to end rough sleeping in the city. During lockdown, they worked tirelessly processing and redistributing the donations of food, clothing and toiletries which poured into the hostel.

As well as housing the homeless, Padley redistributes food to eight other organisations in the city.  But although it has received donations from over 160 churches and schools in response to its Harvest Festival appeal, it still needs more help to make sure that no-one in Derby goes hungry as the effects of Covid in the winter months bite. 

Now Rotary Clubs in the region have stepped in to provide a new and vital lifeline for the charity.  Rotary4foodbanks has made its second delivery of over 80 cases of staple supplies – coffee, tinned meat, tinned fruit and cereals – to ensure that stocks continue to meet the growing demand.

Rotary Clubs from across the East Midlands and South Yorkshire have so far raised £100,000 which they have used to bulk buy food at discounted prices.  They then distribute this free to foodbanks and charities across the region.  Padley is one of 50 organisations to have benefited from the scheme.

“It could happen to any one of us”

Allan Shaw, chairman of the Padley charity, says the response of the public generally and Rotarians especially has been terrific, but so much more needs to be done:

“The stigma of homelessness and of families just struggling to survive is still there.  But more people are now understanding how it could happen to any one of us.  Covid has brought into sharp focus how we are all vulnerable and the responsibility we have to care for each other, for the greater good.  I have been heartened by the fantastic support there has been for organisations like Padley and the foodbank movement and am hugely grateful to Rotary for their continued support.”

Since 2014, Padley has received no government funding for its operation and has to rely entirely on the generosity of the public.  At the same time, the demand on the services of homeless and foodbank charities looks set to increase.  It is estimated that an additional eight million people will be using foodbank services in the next couple of years.

To find out more about how to help Padley visit

You can support Rotary4Foodbanks through our JustGiving page

Posted in: Rotary4Foodbanks

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Foodbank fears Harvest Festival shortfall as demand for services soars

Chesterfield Foodbank fears that due to Covid restrictions this year they will lose up to half of the five tons of vital food supplies which they normally get from harvest festival collections.  But, says project co-ordinator Pat Evans, the generosity of churches, supermarkets and organisations like the Rotary Club will help to see them through the tough winter ahead.

Pat Evans of Chesterfield Foodbank prepares to deliver vital food donated by Rotary4foodbanks across the Chesterfield area

Before the pandemic, Chesterfield Foodbank, part of the Trussell Trust, operated from four centres in the area.  “Immediately the pandemic struck we lost volunteers, many of whom are older and needed to shield,” says Pat, “so we had to close two of our operations.”

Almost all of the people and families they support are referred to the foodbank via agencies. One in every three were referred by the local Job Centre which also closed its doors. 

“We had to change the way we operated.  We lost the scope to meet, greet and chat with those in need.  Instead we took vouchers by email and people collected bags of food from our doorsteps.  That was hard for everyone – we offer more than food; we give help, advice and a listening ear and that really matters.”

“Thankfully,” says Pat, who took over the foodbank operation in November last year, “we started with good stock levels, but they were quickly depleted.  It has been the generosity of the general public, supermarkets and Rotary that has seen us through.  Morrisons, Asda and Tesco have been brilliant.  Then our local Rotary Clubs in Bolsover, Chesterfield and Scarsdale stepped in with big donations to buy vital food supplies to meet demand.”

Now the foodbank team at Chesterfield has a new lifeline.  Rotary4foodbanks, a regionwide scheme to pool funds and buy food at bulk discounted prices for around 50 foodbanks across the East Midlands and South Yorkshire, has made its second Chesterfield delivery – pallets containing over 80 cases of coffee, tinned meat, tinned fruit and other stock items and has pledged to support foodbanks throughout the coming winter and beyond.

Pat Evans of Chesterfield Foodbank loads the next delivery of food supplied by Rotary4foobdbanks

Says Rotary4foodbanks’ project leader, John Cavey:

“At local level Rotary Clubs do brilliant work supporting charities and communities.  We could see a need regionally to bring together all that good will and use the collective strength of the clubs to help foodbanks across the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.  But we need the public to help too. We’ve made it easy by creating a Rotary4foodbanks Just Giving page where people can donate, knowing that every penny they give goes directly to buying food for foodbanks.  As Rotarians, we are all unpaid volunteers and so the programme has no costs or overheads.”

In Chesterfield, Pat Evans and his team have now re-opened one of the two closed centres and are trialling a new outlet at New Whittington.  They are also planning to re-open their operation at Loundsley Green Community Centre.  They have introduced a delivery service to reach people who can’t get to collect their vital food supplies.

Says Pat: “There is a lot of anxiety out there amongst people struggling to get by and fearing job losses or reduced working hours which will put even more pressure on already stretched family finances.  We know things are going to get tougher as winter approaches.  We’re here to help.” With traditional harvest festivals being put on hold this year, Pat is confident that the schools and churches will find ways to support their local foodbanks and the Rotary4foodbanks project.

You can support Rotary4Foodbanks through our JustGiving page

Posted in: Rotary4Foodbanks

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Flowers provide final Jigsaw piece for struggling families in Matlock area

When the pandemic first hit, Jigsaw Foodbank was flooded with offers of help from volunteers and support from supermarkets and local Rotary Clubs.  But now, with six new referrals in one single day recently, the Jigsaw team has real concerns about what this winter holds for struggling families in the region.

Requests for help doubled in the first couple of weeks of lockdown back in March.  At the same time many of Jigsaw’s elderly volunteers were reluctantly having to step down and self-isolate.

“Pre-Covid we were supporting around 40 families or households each week.  Within three weeks that had increased to 75 households,” says former teacher Ruth Longfellow, one of the coordinators of Jigsaw foodbank which operates through Church in the Peak, Matlock.

Ruth Longfellow and husband Richard of Jigsaw Foodbank in Matlock, preparing to deliver flowers and vital food items to families in need, with the help of Rotary4foodbanks.

Ruth put out a call for help via the Wirksworth Rotary Club & Town Council and within 24 hours over 80 new volunteers had come forward.  With impressive efficiency Ruth and husband Richard quickly organised new packing and delivery teams to provide crisis parcels of food and supplies to homes in their patch – the A6 corridor between Wirksworth and Bakewell and all the neighbouring villages.

“Demand levelled off for a while over the summer but now, with a new wave of job losses, we are seeing the numbers rise again.  We’ve increased capacity to be able to support up to 100 households each week in the coming months but are mindful that this may not be sufficient over the winter,” she says.

Supplies from supermarket donation bins fell off at the start of the pandemic but Ruth praises people’s generosity.  “When they couldn’t give food they have given money.  Again the local Rotary Clubs stepped in, teaming up with a local wholesale supplier to provide fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the summer.”

Rotary has also provided another much-needed lifeline through its Rotary4foodbanks scheme, a major regional initiative which buys food in bulk and distributes it free to around 50 foodbanks across the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.

“The Rotary4foodbanks scheme has delivered pallet-loads of staple items we sometimes find it hard to come by – coffee, tinned fruit, tuna & tinned meat – in volume to stock our shelves for the coming months.  That, coupled with the excellent support we receive from local supermarkets and organisations like FareShare provides the supplies we need to ensure no-one goes hungry in our area as the recession bites.”

Ruth says the rural nature of the community they serve brings its own particular problems of isolation, on top of all the problems of furlough, reduced working hours and redundancies that are increasing due to the current pandemic.

“Families, especially single-parent families, can feel a real sense of isolation. Hungry and hard up, that can lead to real despair,” she explains. “The very fact that someone comes to their door with vital supplies and unconditional support is really helping struggling families get by.”

She cites the example of a low income local family with four children where one parent had been laid off and the other had had their working hours reduced. “Our volunteers arrive on the doorstep with much-needed food supplies – tins, fresh fruit and veg and ready meals.  And, thanks to the surplus stock donated by M&S, the package was also topped off with a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers.  It provided a real boost for a family struggling to survive and with no resources to treat themselves to the kind of luxuries we all need to keep our spirits up.”

“For the whole team at Jigsaw, our mission is to help people who find themselves in difficulty through no fault of their own. With the continued support of others in the local community as well as the supermarkets and Rotary4foodbanks, we won’t stop striving to make life better for families in need as the winter bites.”

Rotary4foodbanks has set up a justgiving page to make it easy for people to donate.  Because the scheme is run entirely by volunteers it has no overheads.  That means every penny given goes directly to buying food at discounted prices for delivery to local foodbanks.

You can support Rotary4Foodbanks through our JustGiving page

Posted in: Rotary4Foodbanks, Wirksworth

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Salvation Army Ripley Sings Rotary Club praises

Salvation Army sings Rotary Club’s praises as Ripley food bank reports surge in first-time users

Ripley Salvation Army is currently providing vital food supplies to vulnerable people every month and is expecting a surge in demand in the run up to Christmas.  Due to Covid-19 Ripley Salvation Army Food Bank, which serves all of Amber Valley, has seen a 100% increase in demand compared to before the pandemic.

The latest delivery of over 80 cases of food by Rotary4foodbanks has helped Ian Brown and the foodbank team at its headquarters in Heath Road cope with the growing demand, with many people accessing foodbank services for the first time.

“It is only with the support of schemes like Rotary4foodbanks and help from local supermarkets that we can hope to meet the growing need as Autumn approaches and more individuals and families find themselves short of money for food,” says Ian who manages the Salvation Army’s admin and finances in the town.  “Our commitment to never turning anyone away will be stretched to the limit this year,” he warns.

Rotary Club members from Amber Valley and across Derbyshire were on hand recently to deliver over 80 boxes of staple foods – coffee, tea, tinned fruit, cereals and more – to keep up stock levels.  They are working as part of a region-wide scheme – Rotary4foodbanks – which raises funds to buy food in bulk. This is then distributed free to around 50 foodbanks in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.

Before the pandemic struck, Amber Valley Rotarians had already helped to build and fit out a new food store which has proved invaluable as the Salvation Army team strives to build stocks in anticipation of the increased demand as Christmas approaches.

Covid-19 has increased the challenge for the Salvation Army in Ripley and elsewhere.  “Many of our supporters are older – most members are over 70 and have been shielding. So maintaining a food supply service has been especially difficult since March,” Ian explains.

“Many of the people we support face real personal challenges – homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction.  Others are ordinary families experiencing hardship as a result of the economic downturn.  Many are seeking support from foodbanks for the first time.  They all deserve our help.”

Local Rotarian John Stamp who works with the Rotary4foodbanks team says the story from Ripley is echoed across the East Midlands.  “There is real concern about the winter ahead and the demands that foodbanks like the Salvation Army Ripley service will face. 

“At Rotary4foodbanks we have linked up with supermarket giant Morrisons and are committed to providing a regular supply of key food items to meet the need.  We all give our time free, as willing volunteers, but we need the public to support our efforts.”

Rotary4foodbanks has set up a justgiving page to make it easy for people to donate.  Because the scheme is run entirely by volunteers it has no overheads.  That means every penny given goes directly to buying food at discounted prices for delivery to local foodbanks.

You can support Rotary4Foodbanks through our JustGiving page

Posted in: Amber Valley, Rotary4Foodbanks

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Halloween Virtual Balloon Race

Wirksworth Rotary is determined to continue to support a range of good causes and charities in our local community, across the UK and around the world. Like all Rotary Clubs though, our usual fundraising activities have been very much restricted during the current pandemic, so we are looking to raise much-needed money through a Virtual Balloon Race. 

The race has a Halloween theme and starts from Dracula’s Castle on 31st October 2020. It’s 100% eco-friendly – no animals or birds are killed and there’s no litter. 

We are delighted to partner with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust (DWT) in this race to help them continue their invaluable work promoting the natural world and educating and enhancing the lives of Derbyshire residents and visitors of all ages. DWT has been leading nature’s recovery across the county for over 55 years, inspiring people and communities to care and mobilising people to act, protecting and enhancing wildlife and wild places. From surveying bumblebee numbers out in the field to taking toddlers on their first ever mini-beast hunt – their work spans from conservation at its most scientific right through to a child’s first experience.

You can visit our page on the Ecoracing website at the link below to buy balloons. Each balloon costs just £3 and you can buy as many as you like. You can also buy them as gift codes to give to family and friends. It’s lots of fun and you can track the progress of your balloons throughout the race.

All of the proceeds from the balloons sold will be split equally between Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Wirksworth Rotary.

Posted in: Wirksworth

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Hearing Ambassadors launch their website

There are simply too many clubs and members who have supported us with their skills and knowledge over the last couple of years for us to mention them by name, so we would like to dedicate our new website to Rotary District 1220 with grateful thanks for all the encouragement and practical help that you have given us.

It would not have been possible for us to get so far without the generous donations from six clubs and matched funding from a District Foundation Grant.

We are so proud to be able to launch our website at this moment which coincides with Lipreading Awareness Week (14-19 September 2020).

Please take a look and pass on the link to any friends and colleagues who you think might be interested. We hope that the launch of our website marks the beginning of the wider Hearing Ambassadors movement, inspired by Rotary District 1220.

If you would like to find out more about being a Hearing Ambassador, please email us on

Posted in: Hearing Ambassadors

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