Community | COVID-19 | Disaster relief

Rotarians get creative to help communities during coronavirus

Rotarians get creative to help communities during coronavirus

Rotary clubs across Great Britain & Ireland continue to remain at the forefront of community efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rotarians have been engaged in a wide variety of creative ways to help the vulnerable and those on the front line.

In Cheshire, Deborah Puttick from Cheadle & District Rotary was quick off the mark after hearing that a fruit drinks bar in Manchester’s Trafford Centre was disposing of fruit and vegetables due to the centre’s closure.

The fruit and vegetables would have gone for composting, but Deborah, one of the organisers of the Cheadle Dementia Groups, went down to the Trafford Centre and collected as much fruit and vegetables she could, filling vehicles with the produce.


The fruit and vegetables would have gone for composting, but Deborah went and collected as much fruit and vegetables she could, filling vehicles with the produce.

She distributed more than 30 packs of fresh produce to people in need within the community, helped by a team of volunteers.

They also sent boxes of fruit to a special school and one of the churches.

Even the sacks of carrots went to a stable for the ponies who support Riding for the Disabled.

In Northamptonshire, Nene Valley Rotary were quick to answer a plea from Northampton General Hospital to provide a microwave oven for each ward, so that staff could warm meals without leaving their posts.

The Rotary club responded immediately and have donated 25 microwaves through the Northamptonshire Health Charity.

The club have also helped in the refurbishment of 7 rooms in the new NAASH hostel, St James, which will provide shelter for the homeless.  They will continue supporting the Weston Favell Food Bank, delivering food donations and sending much-needed funds to help with the increased demand.

It can be difficult for Rotarians to get out in the community, but they still want to meet immediate needs.”

Club president Neil Hufton said at this time of lockdown, it can be difficult for Rotarians to get out in the community, but they still want to meet immediate needs.

He said: “It is also important that we deliver our commitments to local charities, so this week we have brought forward our donations totalling £7,500 to Northampton Alzheimer’s (£3000), Northampton First Responders (£3000), Young Carers (£1000), Northampton Breast Friends (£500).”

It is also important that we deliver our commitments to local charities.”

An additional £8,000 was raised from the inaugural Santa Fun Run, organised by the four Rotary Clubs in Northampton. This has now been distributed to Cynthia Spencer (£4,500), The Hope Centre (£1,000) and Lowdown (£2,500).

Thanks to an input of £550, spearheaded by Cowdenbeath Rotary in Scotland, the technical department at Lochgelly High School was able to make 2,000 visors for use by staff at NHS Fife’s key centres in the fight against the coronavirus.

These included the Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, and Queen Margaret Hospital, in Dunfermline. The support came in the shape of £300 from Cowdenbeath Rotary Club, and £250 from the Mary Leishman Foundation.

Adam Jackson from the school’s technical department, was delighted to take on the challenge, after they made 40 visors which they took to the Lindsay House Care Village, in Lumphinnans.

Cowdenbeath Rotary Club president, Yolanda Hilton, said: “One of the matters being discussed in the club was contributing in some way to the local fight against the coronavirus.

“It was great of the Foundation to join in this venture, and with Adam and his team’s help, we can get these made and sent to the two centres.”

In Ireland, Rotary Dublin is sponsoring the daily delivery of 300 sandwiches to Mater Hospital for the doctors, nurses and health workers for a week from April 27th. This is to show solidarity and appreciation for the work which they are doing during this Covid pandemic as front-liners.

In Hampshire, Winchester Rotary has set up a task force to deliver a number of projects in the city. Led by President Elect, Richard Spalding, they are working with Rotaract, Round Table, and the Worthy Runners.

They have established a pastoral phone line, led by club chaplain, Graham Topping. “He has contacted all retired members for whom we have details, in addition to vulnerable current members,” explained Diana Brooks from the club.

“We have also identified a number of Winchester-based care homes who require personal protective equipment. To date we have delivered protective 50 visors to 12 care homes.

“These are being produced by design and technology staff at our local Henry Beaufort Secondary School. We have on order in excess of 300 scrubs for our care homes.”


Visors are being produced by design and technology staff at our local Henry Beaufort Secondary School.

The Rotary club has also donated £1,000 to help them stay open. “At the moment there are no homeless sleeping on the streets at night in Winchester,” reported Diana.

And dinner money donations by club members have funded £1,000 worth of items, such as DVD’s, cards, jigsaws and games, for inmates of HM Winchester Prison.

“On the back of the dinner money, donations in kind have been made by Tesco and Sainsbury to the homeless, night shelters and food banks.” added Diana.

“One of our dentist members has offered free dental advice to all our members and their families via telephone. This is a most useful resource when all dental practices are closed, except for emergencies.

“And one of our members Anna O’Brien, is chairman of Winchester Radio. She is ensuring our Task Force fight against Covid-19, together with other associated activities, are frequently in the public listening domain.”

Other Rotary activities:

Workington Derwent – responded to an emergency appeal from Hospice at Home West Cumbria by donating £1,000.

Caterham – have donated £1,000 to Caterham Foodbank, which has seen an increase in demand amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Bishop Stortford – members of the club are involved in befriending calls to those who are isolated and the club has also donated £1,000 to a local foodbank.

Jersey – delivering freshly cooked meals daily to members of the Good Companions Club, a long-running project of Jersey Rotary, which supports some of the most elderly and vulnerable people on the island.

Redditch Kingfisher – supporting the Staff Wellbeing Centre at Alexandra Hospital in Redditch and collaborated with Redditch-based Bayliss & Harding to donate 132 bottles of hand-wash and 384 of hand cream.

Pangbourne – Students at University Technical College in Reading have been printing protective visors on the college’s two 3D printers. Pangbourne Rotary, supported by District 1090 matching grants, are now purchasing an additional 3D printer for the college this week to increase their capacity by 50%. Rotary will also be funding the manufacture of over 300 visors and distributing these to locally to medical facilities and care homes. As well as increasing the ability to produce PPE this initiative provides the college with an additional printer for use for educational purposes in the future.

Bourne End and Cookham – have donated £2,000 to Thames Hospice to support the end of life care for COVID-19 patients. They are also donating packets of tea and breakfast to senior and isolated members of the community to celebrate St George’s Day.

Newent and District – made three donations totalling £2,500 to a local foodbank, Gloucestershire Rape and Domestic Abuse Centre and Young Gloucestershire, an organisation helping young people who are struggling with integrating into society.

Cambridge – donated £3,000 to Cambridge Aid, a charity helping the very poorest in the community. This donation roughly equates to 10% of their annual income and brings the total the club has donated over the last year to £7,600.

Hereford City – are supporting vulnerable families by giving food parcels. The Rotary club is working with schools, who identify families in need, to deliver parcels. They are doing this with local businesses and Rotary Volunteers.

Burnham Beeches – have made donations to Slough Foodbank and The DASH Charity, which supports those affected by domestic abuse. Also volunteering to support visually-impaired residents with shopping and phone calls, assisting Berkshire Vision.

Orpington – is co-ordinating the sewing of bags for nurses in the local hospital and acting as the central collection point. Over 160 bags, made by 40 community sewers, have been distributed or are awaiting collection.

Brightlingsea & District – is organising prescription delivery, while maintaining contact with local elderly or isolated people.

Roundhay – has provided significant ongoing support to the charity CATCH.

Stevenage – has been involved with telephone befriending, collecting, packing and delivering food donations. The club has delivered thousands of meals to NHS hospital key workers in Stevenage, Luton and London.

Leighton Linslade – is helping to acquire raw materials and funding for two local schools who are making face visors which have been delivered to local hospitals, care homes and police forces.

They are facilitating a payment scheme for bread supplies from our local market so vulnerable people can receive fresh bread.

The club has also purchased five oxygen saturation monitors and a further five specialist paediatric oxygen saturation monitors, which are being shared by three GP surgeries.

They are also working with the local Town Council’s Task Force to help provide a counselling/ listening service for vulnerable people.