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Rotarians clock up 750 hours of time supporting charities during lockdown

Rotarians clock up 750 hours of time supporting charities during lockdown

Rotarians nationwide have been clocking up the volunteer hours – and registering them on the Rotary Central database. One example is in Derbyshire, with Belfer and Duffield Rotary.

During lockdown, Rotarians in Belper & Duffield, have clocked up over 750 hours of time, supporting local charities and good causes.

Despite difficulties with fund-raising, they have managed to pull together donations amounting to £4,207, which has been used to buy a defibrillator, which has already been used 13 times.

“Covid lockdown is keeping Rotary people as busy as ever, and probably even busier than normal giving lots of time, but also using technology, to help others,” said Rotarian, John Stamp.

“The people of Belper and Duffield will easily recognise the Rotary Santa Sleigh or yellow-coated Rotarians cleaning up around the towns.

Covid lockdown is keeping Rotary people as busy as ever, and probably even busier than normal giving lots of time, but also using technology, to help others,”

“Far less obvious are the fund-raising walks, donations to support local charities, support for local foodbank, and the work of Hearing Ambassadors helping those suffering hearing loss.”

John pointed out that probably the most unseen yet significant Rotary lockdown work was that of the ‘Memory Café’ for people living with dementia.

The memory cafe prior to COVID restrictions

John pointed out that probably the most unseen yet significant Rotary lockdown work was that of the ‘Memory Café’ for people living with dementia.

Although the Memory Café has been unable to meet physically, three of the Rotarians have been making regular telephone calls to support café members in this difficult time.

Normally, the monthly Café is run by volunteers at the Baptist Church near Belper Triangle.

For a couple of hours each week, craft work, music and other activities are organized, alongside afternoon tea which is provided by the Morrisons supermarket.

Chairwoman of the Memory Café, Hilary Surga said: “Everyone misses the regular get together, we’re like a big family so it was natural to keep in touch with members who often find it more difficult to get out in lockdown.”

Eileen Murphy, one of the volunteers, added: “It’s become like one big family and we care for one another.

Everyone misses the regular get together, we’re like a big family so it was natural to keep in touch with members who often find it more difficult to get out in lockdown.”

“It’s usually the carer who we speak to who is often feeling isolated.

“Isolation is having a significant effect on many of us and, significantly, on our friends living with dementia who have previously benefited so much from social interaction, music and shared activities.

“Hopefully we can resume this more stimulating environment when we can all meet up again.”

John Stamp said that the Rotary club has had to make significant changes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The memory cafe

Normally, the monthly Café is run by volunteers at the Baptist Church near Belper Triangle.

“We have been unable to hold face-to-face meetings and few fund-raising events,” he said.

“We have however continued to get together socially via online meetings and have held online coffee mornings and quiz nights.

“We will continue to support projects and good causes and we’ve still been giving money to worthy causes during the current situation.”

Meanwhile, Cannock Rotary in Staffordshire has not allowed the pandemic to stop its long-standing friendship links with Rotarians in France and Germany.

The three Rotary clubs established friendship links some 39 years ago and during this period have meet up annually on a rotation basis by visiting each country in turn.

We will continue to support projects and good causes and we’ve still been giving money to worthy causes during the current situation.”

The last face-to-face meeting was in May 2019 when members from the Cannock and Bad Kreuznach-Nahetal Rotary from Germany visited the city of Reims in France. The visit was hosted by the members of Rotary club of Brie Pont.

The clubs normally meet in May. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, visits to the UK had to be postponed last year and also this year due to travel restrictions.

Harold Bould from Cannock Rotary said: “The three clubs are all very proud of these long-standing friendship links and are determined to continue despite the current restrictions and have set up regular virtual meetings.

“The latest one was hosted by the German club on February 28.

“The clubs discussed how they can work together on projects and reported on how the clubs have supported their local communities in the difficult times associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The clubs are planning to meet twice in 2022 with invited members from both Cannock and France attending the German club’s 50th charter event in Bad Kreuznach in March. There will then be a full tripartite meeting in May hosted by the Cannock club.

The visit will mark the 40th anniversary of their friendship links, which is a very special achievement within Rotary movement.

Picture: The Memory Café in pre-Covid times with Rotary volunteers Eileen Murphy (standing) and Hilary Surga (sitting) dressed in red.

Screenshot of the Cannock Zoom meeting