Clubs

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. 

https://ecoracing.co/user/page/623

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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Rotherham pulls together to combat growing hunger crisis

A foodbank project manager has praised supermarkets, Rotary Clubs and others for how they have pulled together to combat hunger in the town.  But, warns Stephen Prosser of Rotherham Foodbank, the real crisis is only just beginning.

Since April, first-time users represent over 50% of the clients presenting vouchers for food at Rotherham Foodbank’s Hope Centre on Grove Road.  That, says Steve, should sound a warning about how tough times will get as the post-covid recession bites.

“Had it not been for the generosity of supermarkets like Morrisons and Tesco, and the superb efforts of our local Rotherham Sitwell Rotary Club and Rotary4foodbanks, we would be facing a real dilemma.  Because of their donations of vital supplies our shelves are reasonably stocked to see us through the summer.  But it will be in the autumn, as furloughs end and redundancies kick in, as the homeless are no longer housed in hotels, that the real scale of the hunger issue will hit home.”

During 2012 when the foodbank first opened its doors, it fed just 124 people.  In 2015 the number had increased to 2338.  By 2019 it had more than doubled again to 4869 with over 42 tonnes of food distributed to support some of the most vulnerable in the Rotherham community.

Since April this year, when Rotherham Sitwell Rotary stepped in to help, the club has provided over five tonnes of the 19 tonnes of food in stock or distributed by the foodbank.  Club members are donating between £500 and £1000 every week to buy supplies, and supermarket giant Morrisons is more than matching that contribution.

To help meet the growing demand the South Yorkshire and East Midlands Rotary Clubs have added a new tier of support – Rotary4foodbanks.  Pooling resources, Rotary4foodbanks bulk buys staple food supplies – tea, coffee, tinned fruit, cereals – at wholesale prices which it distributes by the pallet-load to around 50 foodbanks across the region.  By the end of August 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.

“For us it is the perfect combination,” says Steve.  “While Rotary4foodbanks supplies good shelf-life stocks of those in-demand items, we can write a shopping list of our specific needs to the local Rotary Club and, working with Morrisons, we know they will provide it.

“It is heart-warming to see local charities like Rotary, together with businesses and individuals, pull together to support those who might otherwise fall through the net. It says so much about the true spirit of Rotherham in times of crisis.”

That spirit stretches even further, explains Rotherham Sitwell Rotary’s Roger Green:

“Club members have been fantastically generous. But to transport the stocks, we needed a vehicle big enough to do it.  Rotherham business Universal Vehicle Suppliers stepped in straight away.  They have lent us a 17-seater minibus for as long as we need it.  Now we can both transport goods and socially distance the team travelling to load and unload at each end!”

Local MP Sarah Champion has praised the work of Rotary4foodbanks.  She says:

“I am aware of the R4FB scheme and am really impressed by the speed at which this was put together and the generosity of not only Rotary Club members but retailers and distributors. The scale that R4FB has been able to reach is quite incredible. Behind each of those parcels was a family or individual who, without their help may have gone hungry. 

“The generous spirit of Rotherham people has really come to the fore in the last few months, with people pulling together to help friends, family and strangers. It is one of the reasons that I am so proud to represent Rotherham in Parliament.”

Steve Prosser and his team of up to 12 volunteers are always looking for cash and food donations to support their work in the town. 

Rotary4foodbanks is planning to double its work in the next three months and has set up a just giving page for those wanting to donate.

You can support Rotary4Foodbanks through our JustGiving page

Posted in: Rotary4Foodbanks, Rotherham Sitwell

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Dronfield food charity gets Rotary lifeline as demand for services doubles

A Dronfield food charity has seen demand for its services double since the start of the Covid crisis.  With the help of the local supermarkets and a vital supply lifeline from Rotary4foodbanks they are now providing food parcels to over 100 local families in need every week.

“Before March we had 100 individuals on our books and in need of support. Now that has risen to 250, including families where children would otherwise go hungry without our support,” says Janet Morton who manages the Re:Store Community Food service on behalf of Oaks Community Church.

Originally set up to reduce food waste, Re:Store has increasingly become a lifeline for vulnerable families in and around Dronfield.  “We work with supermarkets to ensure that ‘near-its-sell-by-date’ food doesn’t get wasted.  But with the increase in demand, there have been days when we had nothing on the shelves and have had to turn people away.  Our link with Dronfield Rotary Club and Rotary4foodbanks has been a real boost, ensuring that we always have something to include in the food parcels.”

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 August 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.

Janet picks up Rotary4foodbank stocks – coffee, tea, tinned fruit and cereals – by the pallet-load from a Sheffield warehouse.  Her team of volunteers split it into individual parcels.  “Previously people have come into our community food service, based at Lea Rd in Dronfield and picked up what they need.  Now, as part of social distancing and to safeguard our own team, they wait at the door while we pack parcels for them.”

Janet normally counts on 20 volunteers but with many of them elderly and shielding, the team is under more pressure than ever.  She expects that as the furlough system ends and redundancies increase, the demand for Re:Store’s service will increase still further.  “We are committed to meeting the need, come what may, and are grateful to initiatives like Rotary4foodbanks, for the vital support they provide.”

You can support Rotary4Foodbanks through our JustGiving page

Posted in: Dronfield, Rotary4Foodbanks

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1220 Challenge – fundraising for Prostate Cancer UK

Logo for the 1220 Challenge

Throughout the years members of the Rotary Club of Sherwood Forest have raised thousands of pounds for local and International charities by holding a variety of fund raising efforts.  Three years ago the club arranged a sponsored bike ride that raised 4,000 for Cancer UK. 

For our new fundraising challenge for this Rotary year we have chosen to raise money ‘Prostate Cancer UK’.  The challenge will run from the 8th July 2020 to 8th July 2021.

Due to the current pandemic we have had to be creative and create a challenge that is open to every one of all ages but offers the safest possible way for people to take part, even if social distancing is reintroduced in the coming months.

So what is the 1220 Challenge? 

The aim of this challenge is for people of all ages to cycle a specific distance which relates to our Rotary Clubs district, 1220.  The challenge will be spread over a whole year and the riders can either complete the whole ride outside or from the safety of their own homes on an exercise bikes.

There are a number of distances to choose from, which are based on starting at the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest

  1. Sherwood Forest to Oxford (122 miles)
  2. Sherwood Forest to Dover Castle (220 miles)
  3. Sherwood Forest to Dijon (600 miles)
  4. Sherwood Forest to Rome (1220 miles)

And for the really hard core cyclist

  • Sherwood Forest to Istanbul (2021 miles)

We have tried to select distances that will appeal to riders or all ages and abilities.

If you initially chose to do a short distance but want to go further feel free to do so.

How will we record your progress?

Everyone that wants to take part in this event will be asked to join the cycling App STRAVA.  You can do this on your mobile phone, tablets and laptop computers.  We will provide you with full details of how to join STRAVA and how to record your rides after you commit to the challenge (there is a capacity to enter rides on done on an exercise bike which is why we chose this application). 

You will then be invited to join the ‘SHERWOOD FOREST ROTARY CYCLING CLUB’ 

This will mean all your rides will be automatically recorded to our page so everyone doing the challenge will be able to see how the other riders are progressing.

We will also be posting regular update on our clubs Facebook; Instagram and Twitter pages so if you want to take photographs of you riding then please do and forward them onto us at our email address.

Fundraising.

Due to COVID19 we have decided that the safest way to raise the money is through direct donations to our ‘Just Giving’ page as this will mean money doesn’t have to he handled.  There is the option of having a sponsorship form which can be downloaded from the Prostate Cancer UK website.

We have a just giving page for this challenge

If people want to make a donation then they can also leave a message relating to the person who they are supporting so each rider can see what they have raised.

All the money raised through this challenge will go to Prostate Cancer UK.  All we ask is that each rider makes a voluntary contribution of #10 through the just giving page in order to take part.

How do I join the challenge?

If want to take part or would like further details please contact Dave or Laura Dennis at the following e-mail address and we will contact you back as soon as we can.

Contact details   sherwoodforestrotary@yahoo.com

Posted in: Fundraising, Sherwood Forest

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Wortley Rotarian Co-ordinates Delivery of PPE

DURING the present Covid 19 pandemic, Wortley Rotary Club are doing whatever they can to help people and organisations who need assistance. They have joined forces with Seth Lilleker, who contacted the club saying he was currently furloughed and making face shields using 3D printers in his front room to be provided free of charge to NHS personnel, emergency services and care home staff.

The club made donations to Seth through his GoFundMe page and some members made personal donations. The club saw local care homes as the priority and club member, Rev Canon Lewis Atkinson, volunteered to be the liaison officer.

Lewis was also made aware that a ladies sewing group in Dronfield were making cloth face shields for distribution free of charge to care homes so he also took this on board and as of today he has arranged for the delivery of 5205 masks to the same care homes.

Canon Lewis

The staff at the homes are most grateful. Rotary club member John Evans told Look Local: “Our most senior Rotarian, namely the Rev Canon Lewis Atkinson, at 86 years young has since the start of Covid 19 co-ordinated delivery, all free of charge, of over 2935 face shields and 5205 cloth face masks all made by local volunteers to over 200 outlets, including care homes, doctor’s surgeries, chemists and other establishments in our local area, reaching out as far as Huddersfield, Wakefield, Barnsley, Rotherham, Sheffield and Doncaster. This number is rising daily.

Lewis is a lovely man who lives in Chapeltown and is working tirelessly to make sure care homes have the PPE which we are able to help source..

As seen in Look Local newspaper

Posted in: Wortley

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Rotary teams up with local foodbanks to fight hunger

A NEW initiative by Rotary is helping to support Sheffield foodbanks as they face unprecedented demand for their services.

Sheffield foodbanks, in common with those accross the country, are facing a massive increase in demand as a result of the Covid19 crisis. More and mode families are facing increasing hardship and are turning to foodbanks as a vital means of support.

But a new initiative by Rotary is helping to ensure that the limited funds of many of the region’s foodbanks go further still.

Local club Wortley Rotary is part of the region-wide project, Rotary4foodbanks, launched last month across the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.

President of the Wortley Rotary Club, Philip Sherriff, told Look Local: “Its a real team effort.”

“Foodbanks can be nominated by Rotary clubs for direct support and other foodbanks can order supplies through Rotary4foodbanks and see their limited funds work harder. Wortley club has donated funds and nominated the foodbank at St Saviours, High Green and last week they received their first bulk delivery from the project.”

Volunteers at St Saviours

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 food banks elsewhere in the country” says the scheme’s coordinator John Cavey.

You can support Rotary4Foodbanks through our JustGiving page

As seen in Local Look newspaper

Posted in: Rotary4Foodbanks, Wortley

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Saying Thank You to our local shops

Wirksworth Rotary Club has recognised more than 25 local shops, which remained open throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period to keep supporting our community, with a special Thank You certificate on behalf of our Club and the Rotary organisation.

Many of these shops are quite small, which means the staff have been putting themselves at risk to keep serving the community. In fact a number of them have actually increased the level of service they provided, by making more deliveries to the homes of people having to self-isolate or shield. 

We know that the staff in these shops have been very appreciative of this gesture and in many cases have pinned up our certificate in their shop windows for all to see.

In some of the outlying villages, where the local village shop has long since closed down, volunteers stepped in to help with shopping and delivery of essential food and medicine supplies and we have been pleased to acknowledge all their support too.

Posted in: Wirksworth

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