When Blackpool Palatine Rotary Club was approached to sponsor the football kit for an under-9s football team in the seaside town, they readily agreed.
The Rotary logo was to be placed on the front of each shirt so making this an excellent public relations opportunity since the team plays weekly in a league competition around the Fylde Coast.
But then the Rotary club decided to take the partnership a second stage and the football team became a RotaKids group, so in October 2018, the Palatine Lasers were chartered.
Palatine Lasers RotaKids decided to support Rotarian Gary Pretty’s Blackpool Gambia School Project by collecting unused toys to send to Gambia.
RotaKids is a primary schools’ citizenship programme for youngsters aged under 12 which works in tandem with Rotary.
Since then, the Palatine Lasers RotaKids decided to support Rotarian Gary Pretty’s Blackpool Gambia School Project by collecting unused toys to send to Gambia.
They also packed shoe boxes with goodies and a letter to be sent on the next container to Gambia to be given to children who are in need.
Gary and Club President, Angela Butcher, have recently returned from Gambia where they oversaw the distribution of the football strips and the parcels.
Angela said that the Gambian schoolchildren were thrilled to receive the kit and parcels. They were in the process of replying to the letters the Palatine Lasers sent.
She said: “It has been an absolute honour and privilege to have watched a challenge such as this come to fruition.
“The children at Janneh Kunda School have so little, certainly none of the trappings we take for granted in England and their total pleasure and delight at receiving these gifts was overwhelming.
“Our RotaKids can now see for themselves how much value and difference their charitable donations have made and be very proud of their efforts.”
Another of Blackpool Palatine’s RotaKids’ clubs, Thames Primary Academy, have also supported the project by donating library books.
These were also shipped out to Gambia and placed in the room used as a library at Janneh Kunda.
“The children at Janneh Kunda School have so little, certainly none of the trappings we take for granted in England and their total pleasure and delight at receiving these gifts was overwhelming.”
Angela added: “Now the children have books that are more age-appropriate to their needs, and have literature they can read and learn from.”
Following the success of this venture, Blackpool Palatine have also chartered a dance school called ‘Dance Place’, as another RotaKids club.
The Dance Place has won their way in three categories to an international dance final which was due to be held in Rome later this year.
Several Blackpool Rotary Clubs are supporting the expense of the dancers’ tracksuits bearing the Rotary logo to help raise the profile and diversity of Rotary International.
Angela said she was particularly pleased with how all of the RotaKids clubs have worked together, supporting each other in fund-raising events and choosing the Blackpool Gambia School project as their international project.
In a separate initiative closer to home, the RotaKids club have been involved with collecting food which has been distributed to charities supporting the homeless and those living below the poverty line in Blackpool.