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Plant Sale with a difference raises over £2,900 for Jigsaw Foodbank

For many years the Wirksworth Rotary Club has run a plant sale in May to raise money for local good causes. A few years ago we teamed up with the Transition Wirksworth Community Growers in order to expand our offering to include vegetables and herbs as well as traditional bedding plants and perennials.

This collaboration has proved to be a great success and we were looking forward to holding this year’s plant sale, when we were to be also to be joined by the Wirksworth U3A Gardening Group. Everything changed of course as the Covid-19 virus started to spread across the world and the country went into lockdown.

As seasoned plants people, we had all our seeds and seedlings overwintering in greenhouses and on windowsills and the idea of throwing all these young plants onto the compost heap was unthinkable.  We all agreed that the sale MUST GO ON – the big question was how to make it happen without breaching lockdown and social distancing guidelines.

Out of this the ‘virtual’ plant sale was born. Lists and the descriptions of all the plants for sale were collected from our wonderful team of growers and using social media platforms and public noticeboards we started to spread the word. Timed collections of orders were scheduled at a number of locations and for customers in self-isolation we arranged personal deliveries.

In view of these unprecedented times and the difficulties which so many people in our community are facing as a result of the shutdown of many businesses, it was agreed that all the money from the proceeds of the Plant Sale would be donated to the Jigsaw Foodbank in Matlock.

As a result of the fantastic support of so many people over £2,900 was raised. Out of this total, £750 has already been paid into the Rotary4Foodbanks fund. The Jigsaw Foodbank, nominated by the Bakewell, Matlock and Wirksworth Rotary Clubs in Rotary4Foodbanks, has already received several consignments of extremely valuable staple items for their food bags through this scheme.

Ruth Longfellow from the Jigsaw Foodbank commented, “This is such a generous donation and very much appreciated! It will help us to keep supporting the vulnerable in our community for some time to come.” “We are very grateful for all the generous donations of tinned and packet food we receive from individuals and organisations in the local community, as well as financial donations which enable us to purchase any items we are short of and also the ability to provide fresh fruit and vegetables for our clients. The donations we receive enable us to continue to support these vulnerable, needy families who find themselves in the most desperate of circumstances.”

Posted in: Rotary4Foodbanks, Wirksworth

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Sandiacre ‘Man with Van’ provides local lifeline as part of £100,000 foodbank scheme

Retired physics teacher Pete Wearn has found himself behind the wheel of a major local initiative to keep hard-pressed foodbanks stocked as demand for their services soars.

Aged 74, Pete’s retirement after 32 years teaching has been anything but quiet. Since 2005 he has been chair of the Long Eaton and District 50plus Forum and a committed supporter of the successful New Basford-based ShoeAid charity.

Now he is quite literally one of the driving forces behind Rotary4foodbanks, an initiative to help ensure no-one across the East Midlands and South Yorkshire goes hungry as a result of the Covid crisis.

Man with a van Pete Wearn makes a Rotary4foodbanks delivery to Patrizia Canova, volunteer at St John’s Foodbank in Kirkby Woodhouse.

The Rotary4Foodbanks scheme, run entirely by volunteers, is an East Midlands and South Yorkshire initiative which pools funds and bulk buys staple food supplies at wholesale prices which it distributes to foodbanks across the region.  By the end of July it will have distributed food with a wholesale value of around £100,000 and has plans to extend the scheme as demands on foodbanks continue to rise.

Says Pete: “I had bought a van to transport the kit I use to stage physics demonstrations to primary schools but during lockdown it was sitting idle.  So when my fellow Rotarians said they needed help distributing food pallets to some of the 50 foodbanks across the region, I was only too happy to get behind the wheel and help out.

“The team at ShoeAid offered space in their warehouse for me to store the bulk deliveries of vital food supplies – coffee, tea, tinned fruit, custard and cereals – which I then drive out to around a dozen foodbanks across the region.”

Pete, who lives in Sandiacre with his wife Pat, also a retired teacher, says his work has met with a fantastic response.  “There are so many dedicated volunteers in foodbanks working to stave off hunger amongst some of the region’s most vulnerable individuals and families.  They need and deserve all the help we can give them.  The Rotary4foodbanks programme is a brilliant way of doing that.”

He follows strict hygiene and social distancing measures wherever possible, sanitising the van between drops.  Does he feel at risk himself?  “There is a risk of course,” he says, “and we must all be extra vigilant.  But I am pretty fit – I’ve cycled over 800 miles since the start of lockdown – and that works in my favour.”

While the Rotary4foodbanks scheme is currently operating only in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire, the plan is to roll it out more broadly.  “Our members tell us there is a crying need for a similar service to support foodbanks elsewhere in the country. Here in the East Midlands we are leading the way,” says the scheme’s co-ordinator, John Cavey.

Eventually, Rotary hopes that the government will also give financial backing to grow the scheme nationally.  “Until then,” says John, “we are relying on the generosity of the public and businesses to see us through.”

Rotary4foodbanks has launched a just giving page for anyone who wants to donate to help alleviate hunger.

You can support Rotary4Foodbanks through our JustGiving page

Pete Wearn receives thank you from Derbyshire Lord Lieutenant

Posted in: Rotary4Foodbanks

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Top Award for Local Community Activists

Two local Rotarians have been recognised for their vital role in successfully setting up a new vibrant group for busy younger professionals interested in supporting the local community with charitable events, projects, and fun social activities.

The new, Chesterfield Rotary Satellite Group, is part of the well-established Rotary Club of Chesterfield, and now has twenty-two members, both male and female.  The group (normally) meets monthly at Chesterfield Panthers Rugby Club. It most recently raised £4,000 for four key local charities with a virtual online classic car & bike show and has made donations to the local food banks.

Financial planner Peter Blant, the founding chairman of the satellite group, and business adviser Paul Davies, the satellite group secretary, have both been awarded Rotary International’s highest honour, a Paul Harris Fellowship for providing this exciting new approach to Rotary in the town. 

The award was presented by Chesterfield Rotary president Nigel Metham at a special socially distanced ceremony (viewed online by members) on Friday 3 July 2020.

Interested in joining the new group? Contact Satellite group secretary Paul Davies 07753 605 272 or check out social media.

Posted in: Chesterfield

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Rotary Amber Valley Plan to Support Communities

During an online ceremony, the 2020-21 joint leadership team of Chris Riggott and Peter Arnott were welcomed and received their chains of office from outgoing leaders Howard Doran and Glyn Allsop. Local man David Hickton also received recognition for many years of community service.

Chris, who was in the animal health industry as a business manager, lives at Tansley whilst Peter lives at Kilburn after many years as a manager in the automotive supply chain. They have as their theme for the year, ‘ Fun, Fellowship and Future Planning to Support Communities.’ Two charities will receive particular support: ‘Kids Out’ which provides disadvantaged children with exciting memories to cherish and ‘End Polio Now’ Rotary International’s campaign to eradicate polio worldwide by helping to provide vaccines.

Chris said, “We know we are in difficult times and must implement some changes to enable Rotary to continue to support communities. However, we are currently supporting local food banks and planning to hold our Charity Horse Ride in October and Rotary Santa and his sleigh will be around the borough at Christmas, albeit safely. Please continue to support Rotary to help others.”

To emphasise safety and future planning, Chris & Peter had pre-event ‘social distancing’ badge handover including with Marie Adams of Ripley who will take over in 2021-22.

During the online event Presidents Peter and Chris presented a ‘Paul Harris Fellow’ award to Rotarian David Hickton of Ripley. The international Rotary award recognises the substantial contribution made by Alan particularly in terms of his work with young people. President Peter said, “Chris and I pay tribute to David for his work over many years encouraging young people in the borough both in schools, sports and personal achievements. It is a great pleasure to make the award.”

Rotary Amber Valley meets each week, currently by video conference. If you wish to join us please contact secretary Paul on 07778 048648 to discuss and receive an electronic invite.

Posted in: Amber Valley

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Foodbank Scheme Which Gives 150% Asks Public For Support

A world-leading charity initiative to supply foodbanks across the region is asking for more help from the public to make sure no-one goes hungry as the post-Covid recession bites.

Rotary4foodbanks has set up a Just Giving page and is asking people to dig deep to help. Its £100,000 programme is already providing much needed food supplies to foodbanks across the East Midlands and South Yorkshire but say the organisers, there is so much more to be done.

In what is believed to be the first scheme of its kind, Rotary Clubs across the region have teamed up and pooled their fund-raising resources to buy goods wholesale for supply to local foodbanks.  “By working at scale and buying at wholesale prices we can get as much as 50% more value for each pound donated,” says the programme organiser Rotarian John Cavey. “We focus on bulk buying the things we know are in big demand – tea, coffee, cereals, tinned fruit – and sharing them out across the many superb foodbanks in the region.”

Since introducing the scheme, just eight weeks ago, Rotary4foodbanks has already delivered over £60,000 worth of food to around 50 foodbanks from Nottingham and Lincoln to Derby, Burton and Sheffield.  “The whole scheme is run by volunteers and we have had tremendous support from businesses who have stepped in to help with logistics and delivery.  But we are still just scratching the surface. Every penny we receive buys food at the best possible price – all our costs are met by volunteers and supporters.

Loading a Rotary4Foodbanks volunteer’s van with goods purchased through the initiative

“Rotarians are committed to charitable work in the community and will continue to raise funds for this vital project but we need more help from the public and from businesses across the region.  That is why we have set up our Just Giving page now to make it easy to donate.”

John and his team hope to top £150,000 during the summer and plan to team up with other clubs across the country to extend the Rotary4foodbanks beyond the East Midlands and South Yorkshire region later in the year.

“Foodbanks tell us they are already seeing a huge spike in demand and that they expect that increase to continue as more people lose their jobs and struggle to make ends meet.”

His views are echoed by Paul Laffey who runs the YMCA foodbank in Burton on Trent which has had support from Rotary:

“When a pallet stacked high with porridge, coffee, tea, tinned tuna and other vital supplies arrived, we were overjoyed.  Demand is up by 51% compared with the same period last year, and we expect that to increase still further as the economic impact of the pandemic unfolds.  We rely on the generosity of individuals and organisations like Rotary to ensure that those in crisis in our community don’t go hungry.”

Anyone wishing to support the Rotary4foodbanks initiative can donate by visiting the Just Giving page

Posted in: Rotary4Foodbanks

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Arnold Foodbank gets Rotary boost as demand for food parcels soars in Nottingham

Arnold Foodbank is receiving 100 requests every week for food parcels and that number is set to increase still further as the economic downturn bites, warns foodbank manager Helen Lloyd.

But a new £100,000 scheme by local Rotary Clubs is providing a vital lifeline for Arnold Foodbank and others across the region, as Sherwood Sunrisers Rotary Club’s Val Leivers explains:
“Organisations like Arnold Foodbank do brilliant work at local level in the community. They rely for supplies on the support of supermarkets, businesses and the general public making donations.  As local Rotarians we wanted to help in a big way too.  Delivering 150 cases of food supplies seemed a good way to do that.

“The Rotary4Foodbanks scheme, run entirely by volunteers, is an East Midlands and South Yorkshire initiative which pools funds and bulk buys staple food supplies at wholesale prices which it distributes to foodbanks across the region.  By the end of July it will have distributed food with a wholesale value of around £100,000 and has plans to extend the scheme as demands on foodbanks continue to rise.”

According to Helen Lloyd, who heads a team of volunteers running the Arnold operation from Daybrook Baptist Church on Mansfield Rd, the foodbank is seeing more new users needing food than ever before:
“As the furlough system ends and more people face redundancy, we are expecting to see demand increase still further.  We are bracing ourselves for the second wave.  We enjoy marvellous support from local supermarkets and the general public but the additional help we are now getting from Rotary is proving a real lifeline, providing us with bulk supplies of key staples like tea, coffee, cereal and tinned fruit at a time of real need for so many vulnerable people locally.”

(right) Helen Lloyd of Arnold Foodbank checking stock with volunteer Marie Longford.

The Arnold team has been operating a delivery service during lockdown, with volunteer drivers ensuring that people as far afield as Carlton and Basford who are unable to collect food parcels don’t go hungry. 
Since its formation in 1994, Sherwood Sunrisers Rotary Club has helped many thousands of people and raised over £500,000 for good causes, most of which has been used to support community projects in Sherwood and Nottingham.

Support the scheme by sharing this article and donating on our Just Giving page


Arnold Foodbank

Part of the Trussell Trust, Arnold Foodbank operates out of Daybrook Baptist Church, Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG5 6AA

It distributes food – primarily three day parcels of balanced nutritious food for individuals and families – between 1.30 and 3.00pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 

It is run primarily by volunteers and depends on donations and support from supermarkets, businesses, individuals and other charities to complete its vital community work.

Thirteen million people live below the poverty line in the UK. Arnold Foodbank provides a minimum of 3 days emergency food to help people in a crisis. The Foodbank is supported and run by local churches in Arnold. To volunteer, donate, or find out more about its services, visit https://arnold.foodbank.org.uk/


Sherwood Sunrisers Rotary Club

The club currently has 18 members. Since its formation in 1994, Sherwood Sunrisers has helped many thousands of people and raised over £500,000 for good causes, most of which has been used to support community projects in Sherwood and Nottingham.

Contact: Val Leivers

E: val_leivers@yahoo.co.uk

Posted in: Rotary4Foodbanks, Sherwood Sunrisers

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St Leger Club races in to help Doncaster Foodbank as demand soars

Two local Rotary clubs have joined forces as part of a £100,000 charity support campaign to supply foodbanks across the region.  And, says Sandra Edwards, Project Manager at Doncaster Foodbank based at Christ Church on Thorne Road, the support couldn’t have come at a better time as she and her team of volunteers strive to meet the soaring demand for its emergency food parcel service.

A recent Rotary delivery to the Doncaster Foodbank’s warehouse at Kirk Sandall included vital bulk supplies of tea, coffee, porridge and tinned fruit to restock shelves depleted as a result of a 40% increase in demand for food from individuals and families in Doncaster in the past month alone.

“In the past twelve months prior to the lockdown we have provided food for over 5500 people.  Almost 2000 of those were children who, without our input, would have gone hungry,” says Sandra Edwards. “We expect those numbers to increase significantly as the impact of Covid-19 and the downturn in the economy bite still further, impacting hardest on people already struggling to cope.

Sandra Edwards at Doncaster Foodbank

“We get fantastic support from local supermarkets and the general public but having a major charity organisation like Rotary stepping in to help too, provides us with another precious lifeline.”

The Rotary4Foodbanks scheme, run entirely by volunteers, is an East Midlands and South Yorkshire initiative which pools funds and bulk buys staple food supplies at wholesale prices which it distributes to foodbanks across the region.  By the end of July it will have distributed food with a wholesale value of around £100000 and has plans to extend the scheme as demands on foodbanks continue to rise.

Doncaster St Leger Rotary Club has partnered with its sister club, Doncaster Rotary, to support the scheme.  Says Lis Rodgers, of St Leger: “We could see that the Covid-19 pandemic was having a devastating effect on some of the most vulnerable people in our community.  We knew of the excellent work that Doncaster Foodbank was doing and so pledged to help. As part of the bigger Rotary4foodbanks initiative to bulk buy, the money we donate works harder, goes further, to help ensure no-one in the borough goes hungry.”

The club is well known in the borough for its charity work.  Amongst many other initiatives the St Leger Rotary Club also supports the local Firefly Cancer Awareness and Support charity.  The club recently made a £700 donation to help keep Firefly’s services running during lockdown.

Support the scheme by sharing this article and donating on our Just Giving page

Rotary4foodbanks is a Rotary response to the growing demands on foodbanks in the UK.  Initially operating in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire, it is attracting interest from Rotary across the UK.  Whilst it was launched in response to the Covid-19 crisis, it is actually a long-term initiative to deliver a sustainable, cost-effective food sourcing programme for foodbanks.

You can support Rotary4Foodbanks via our JustGiving page

Doncaster foodbank

Part of the Trussell Trust, Doncaster Foodbank operates out of Christ Church, Thorne Road, Doncaster, DN1 2HG

It distributes food – primarily three day parcels of balanced nutritious food for individuals and families – between 10am and 12 noon on Wednesdays and Fridays.

It is run primarily by volunteers and depends on donations and support from supermarkets, businesses, individuals and other charities to complete its vital community work.

In the past year it has served over 5500 people of whom almost 2000 were children.

To volunteer, donate, or find out more about its services, visit https://www.doncaster.foodbank.org.uk/

Doncaster St Leger Rotary Club

One of three Rotary Clubs in Doncaster, St Leger has 35 members from all walks of life who are committed to charity work locally and internationally.

Contact: Dr Lis Rodgers lis.rodgers@gmail.com

Posted in: Doncaster St Leger, Rotary4Foodbanks

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New 1220 District Governor Keep ROTARY ‘Staying Alert’

Doctor Jill Bethell MBE takes over as District 1220 Governor in July. The retired doctor will lead the team ensuring Rotary has fresh vigour to be ‘alert’ to the needs of communities throughout the East Midland and South Yorkshire.  

During and beyond the covid-19 pandemic, 67 local Rotary groups have continued to support by uniting and take action in our communities and beyond. A regional foodbank supply scheme is now in operation and a number of grants have been made to schools, individuals and organisations making PPE for hospitals and care centres. Rotary International have given $20million to support foodbanks worldwide.

President of Rotary International 20-21 during her training in San Diego USA earlier this year prior to the Covid-19 pandemic

Retired Dronfield GP Jill said, “Many lessons have and are being learned during this pandemic. As COVID-19 changes the way we live so it changes how Rotary operates and what we do. Let’s all turn our challenges into stepping stones to success in different ways than we’ve previously enjoyed.”

Jill, a Londoner by birth, trained in Sheffield and has spent many years in Dronfield and is privileged to be very much part of the Community. Jill, with others, started the Welcome Club on Tuesdays in memory of her father who had multiple sclerosis; the Cardio Club for those with heart problems – often Jills’ Friday evening surgeries were busy with men from 50-70 years,  who had had heart attacks, needing to “touchbase” and check out their concerns. Dronfield’s keen, vibrant St John Ambulance Unit invited Jill to be President; Dronfield Guides to be their Ambassador and a Church Warden for 5 years. Jill and husband Tony were both very honoured to receive MBEs at the same time in 2011, for Services to the Community of Dronfield.

Jill will lead Rotary as it develops through Covid-19 with greater use of technology such as video conference meetings and Rotary E clubs where members do much work online.

Jill said, “Rotary needs to keep alert to present very difficult and different circumstances. We need to modernise and move on in the 21st century with younger members enabling Rotary to help address community needs both during and after this pandemic.”

Posted in: DGNews, Dronfield

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