COVID-19 | Fighting Disease

Rotarians picking up the pace to support communities

Rotarians picking up the pace to support communities

One month into the coronavirus lockdown, and the need for Rotary’s involvement in the community grows. Increasingly, more clubs across Great Britain & Ireland are showing their true value as community organisations, helping those most at need.

Rotary clubs show no slacking in their pace to support their communities during the current pandemic.

While many clubs across Great Britain & Ireland are making major financial contributions to the Trussell Trust and local food banks, others are directly involved in their community.

In the Midlands, Amanda Watkin, Rotary’s Secretary General and a member of Rotary Redditch Kingfisher, was part of a team who dropped off supplies to Alexandra Hospital in the town.

Rotary Redditch Kingfisher is supporting the Staff Wellbeing Centre. They collaborated with the Redditch-based company, Bayliss & Harding, to donate 132 hand-wash and 384 hand cream dispensers.


Rotary Redditch Kingfisher is supporting the Staff Wellbeing Centre.

“That should keep the teams there happy for a little while,” said Amanda. “We’re continuing to work with them going forwards through COVID-19 and beyond.”

In Ireland, Mallow Rotary in County Cork has launched a community crowdfunding campaign to support those most in need in the town – individuals, organisations or charities.

So far the campaign has raised €5,000.

“Our planned local fund-raising activities have been severely curtailed due to the impact of the coronavirus,” explained the club on its fund-raising website.

“This comes at a time when many more people will require support in a variety of ways to get through this crisis.

“Therefore, we have set up this fund for distribution to local charities and organisations who are working to support those individuals in our communities who are struggling to get through this.” Find out more.

Elsewhere, clubs around the country are making valuable cash donations to causes. Caterham Rotary in Surrey has donated £1,000 to the town’s foodbank, which has seen a huge increase in demand amid the coronavirus outbreak. And Bishop Stortford Rotary in Essex donated a similar amount to their town’s foodbank.

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

And in the Channel Islands, Jersey Rotary have been delivering freshly cooked meals daily to members of the Good Companions Club.

This is a long-running project of Jersey Rotary, which supports some of the most elderly and vulnerable people on the island.

The club will continue to help by giving them someone to whom they can talk to when they feel it’s getting too much being alone”

In the Bailiwick Express’s Jersey edition, the Rotary club says: “The Good Companions Club continues to operate in a much more limited form since the government restrictions were imposed upon gatherings.

“We are conscious of the fact that many of our members live alone and indeed are lonely and attending the club is a vital part of their lives.

“Regrettably, we are unable to assist members as much as we would like but as an alternative, we have continued our pastoral care and have two staff members constantly calling members and speaking to them about the difficulties under lockdown.

“The club will continue to help by giving them someone to whom they can talk to when they feel it’s getting too much being alone, especially those who have no family.”

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Rotary clubs assisting with coronavirus outbreak

Silloth – Packing and distributing essential support parcels including food, hygiene items, puzzle books and more. Read more.

Maidenhead Bridge – Launched an appeal for local volunteers willing to collect shopping, prescriptions, walk dogs, post mail and more. Also helping those families on free school meals. So far have supported 54 local people and had support from 61 volunteers. Find out more.

Sale – Community support scheme is ensuring that elderly residents have been able to get to the shops for shopping as well as essential doctor and hospital appointments. They have been working in collaboration with local taxi operators, Scotts Cars, to subsidise costs so that those in need can travel free of charge.

St Neots St Marys – Sponsored the printing of 10,000 postcards, where people who are able to help those self-isolating can fill in their details and distribute them locally.

Ribbleside – have purchased hundreds of pounds worth of supermarket gift cards, which volunteers are then using to purchase supplies for those who need it, meaning no money is changing hands making the process more hygienic.

Limerick Thomond – been supporting a ‘Meals on Wheels’ scheme by donating dinner boxes to St. Munchin’s Community Centre, a local not-for-profit organisation who have seen increased demand since the outbreak.

Leatherhead – compiled a list of local businesses who are operating during the outbreak and providing important services such as food, drink and health care delivery while also highlighting those offering a discount to NHS workers.

Crewkerne and District – made two donations totalling £2,500 to a local foodbank and also the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

In Reading – Eight Rotary clubs in the town are working together in similar fashion collecting prescriptions, fetching urgent supplies, posting mail, dog walking and providing a friendly phone call to those who are self-isolating. Also encouraging children to write letters to nursing homes or to an elderly neighbour.

Lytham – Volunteering as part of a local coalition of organisations and businesses to offer assistance with urgent supplies, shopping, dog walking, phone calls etc.

Gordano Breakfast – members have donated their usual breakfast meeting meal to Clevedon District Foodbank who are experiencing shortages.

Tonbridge – donated £500 to the food charity, Families Eating and Sharing Together (FEAST), which helps families unable to obtain free school meals.

Sittingbourne Invicta – donated £1,000 to Swale Foodbank

Bradford West – supporting Bradford Metropolitan Foodbank to supply dependent families. Club is using social media to provide a regular list of wanted items.

Kings Hill and Sittingbourne Invicta – opening their community funds for applications for funds from small clubs and groups

Maidstone Dawn Patrol – have been taking regular exercise litter-picking whilst maintaining social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak.

Romney Marsh – been involved in setting up of the Romney Marsh Support Hub. The group includes a number of charities, including foodbanks, as well as local church leaders, Kent Police, councils, doctors’ surgeries, scout groups and community wardens. The aim of the Hub is to ensure there is a consistent and factually correct message going out to the public and avoid duplication of effort

Shrewsbury Severn – donate £500 to a local primary school which is open to children of key workers.

Chippenham – providing urgent supplies to those self-isolating, including packing and distributing food parcels in collaboration with local supermarkets, supplying fresh fruit and veg, bread and tinned goods.

Normanton – donation to The Well Project which provides positive activities for the community to engage with, including a foodbank and youth club.

Epworth & Isle of Axholme – part of a ‘Good Neighbours’ scheme, a partnership between voluntary and trad organisations which has fed 16 families, including 27 adults and 37 children.

Glenrothes – Handing out leaflets on behalf of a local community centre who are assisting residents during the outbreak.

Eckington & District – club member Philip Staton is volunteering with the local Age UK group to deliver food parcels to those in need.

Llandeilo – Club member Richard Hughes is hosting a weekly online ‘pub quiz’ as well as supporting residents in the village of Talley by purchasing food and prescriptions.

Fareham Meon – purchased a library trolley so books for a local care home could be easily transported around the building for residents confined to their rooms. Club is also directing funds to a local foodbank, totalling £1,000 so far. Also donated £700 to a village in Australia which was recently hit by wildfires and now coronavirus.

Sheffield – club members have signed up for the NHS volunteer scheme, with one member Mark Casson already cycling around the city to deliver medicine to the vulnerable.

Wymondham – members are involved in delivering a volunteer scheme supporting the village’s 550 residents, many of them elderly, offering practical help from food delivery to chats on the phone.

Ipswich – Rotary member John Skeates has created a neighbourhood WhatsApp group for local residents to talk, answer eachother’s questions and request support. Over 90 people are now connected so far.

In Kettering – members are maintaining contact with visitors to their regular dementia café as well as working with the Salvation Army and Sikh Gurdwara to distribute available food from a local Tesco store.

In East Midlands – planning a significant, long-term food bank support project which includes financial and practical assistance for the network of food banks in the region.

Ellon – donated £2,000 worth of supermarket gift cards to Ellon Food Bank which they said would be life-saving. The money was raised through community fundraising activities earlier in the year.

Louth – funding to several local groups to help some of our most vulnerable people and has already given out more than £3000. Also has assisted in supplying laptops to children having to self-isolate in the early days of the outbreak to continue their education.

Ware – Community Corps – Rotary has helped coordinate 23 volunteers, all with different skills, from compliance to foreign language speakers, to form a Rotary Community Corps. So far the group has delivered newspapers and food, assisted with hospital transport and more. It has been a comforting safety net for local people in need.

Morriston – have created an online Zoom meeting place at 19.00 every evening for one hour inviting Rotarians and the local community to chat, share ideas, identify vulnerable people, signpost and just be a point of contact for those who feel lonely.

Aberystwyth – Made a donation of £795 to the Jubilee Storehouse Foodbank, with club members giving the money they would have otherwise spent on their mean at their regular club meeting.

Cheadle & District – Prior to the widespread closure of shops and restaurants, Rotary member Deborah Puttick collected and safely distributed fresh fruit to regular visitors to the club’s dementia café. The fruit would otherwise have been discarded by a local juice bar.

Mendip – Members of the Club are helping to answer the telephones for the newly formed Cheddar Valley Community hub. Formed by local business people to assist the vulnerable who are self-isolating to get vital supplies. Younger volunteers will then go to get the supplies.

Hamble Valley – Part of coordinated efforts in the area, alongside other community groups and religious organisations. They are sharing key messages about social distancing, registering people as vulnerable and promoting the NHS volunteer scheme.

Barry – £700 donation to Vale Foodbank

Blyth – It was an early start for Rotary volunteers in Blyth who helped transport food from a local supermarket to the nearby foodbank.

Nottingham – Seeking daily volunteers to support Sycamore Dining, a charity which makes affordable meals for those living independently. Daily deliveries of hot meals to elderly and vulnerable in the community are essential.

Thornbury – £500 donation to North Bristol Foodbank

Burford and Kingham – £622 donation to North Cotswold Foodbank

Sussex Vale – Made a £585 donation to local foodbanks and plan to continue donating food and funds throughout the coronavirus crisis.

Colchester – The club’s Easter Egg Raffle has taken place online this year, and the club has also donated a number of large eggs to the Rainbow Trust, which supports terminally ill children and their families.

Barnstable Link – Organising a ‘Children’s Art Challenge’ for pupils to take part in during the month of April while they’re unable to attend school. It’s a chance for children to get creative with any medium and be in with a chance of winning a prize!

Hounslow – Donating food parcels and groceries to the staff at West Middlesex Hospital, as well as supporting the local foodbanks and the Hounslow Open Kitchen which provides free meals to the needy 3 times a day.

York – In lieu of the money they would spend at their weekly meeting, Rotary members in York have donated that money, over £1,400, to the local Trussell Trust foodbank.

Bassenthwaite – have donated a variety of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Hospice at Home West Cumbria, in collaboration with builders’ merchants Travis Perkins. Items included facemasks and gloves.

Birstall Luddites – £500 donation to Batley Food Bank

Newbridge – has established a volunteer group within the club to deliver prescription medicine to the elderly and those who cannot visit the pharmacy.

Tullamore & District – working together to provide help in Tullamore through daily updates through their WhatsApp group. They are also involved in food collection and delivery, distribution of hand sanitiser and protective health equipment.

Cardiff East – Have adopted the local foodbank as a club project, with members regularly volunteering and donating both food and money, and are continuing that support during the crisis.

Northwich Vale – Volunteering as part of a local coalition of organisations and businesses to offer assistance with urgent supplies, shopping, dog walking, and phone calls to those isolating.

Drayton – One of the UK’s newest Rotary groups has been out supporting their community by helping collect food from supermarkets and delivering them to the local foodbank.

King’s Lynn – Have purchased and safely distributed 100 Easter eggs to carers in local residential homes, as well as making donations totalling £1,000 to three local causes.

Abertillery and Blaina – Continuing to actively support their community during the outbreak by purchasing and donating food for local foodbanks.

Six Towns – Have made a donation to the local hospital, which they have used to purchase clocks and radios for their patients on coronavirus wards.


Upper Eden – Have donated over £1,000 to a local foodbank, as well as supporting them by purchasing and delivering food on a weekly basis, adapting to the foodbank’s demand needs.

In Lowestoft – The three Rotary groups in Lowestoft have combined together to make a £1200 donation to Access Community Trust, which works to combat homelessness and social exclusion in the area. Find out more.

Hoddesdon – support our local Foodbank with a donation of £2000 and are pairing up with Hoddesdon Round Table to support local residents with shopping and in contacting those living alone.

Ormskirk Clocktower – has partnered with a local sewing club (The Sewing Rooms) to make masks with approved fabrics for the NHS.

Redhill Redstone – £500 to local food bank with more donations to come

Narberth and Whitland – supporting the Cardiff-based company Venn Tailoring and their team of volunteers who are making scrubs for NHS workers in Wales. Each set of scrubs cost £10 to make, with the club making a donation of £500.

Falmouth – made donations totalling £1,500 to the town’s Salvation Army, Falmouth Age Concern and the Dracaena Centre, which will use the money to put together food boxes and cooked meals.

Northallerton Mowbray – made a donation of £1,000 to Hambleton Foodshare and have also supplied Easter eggs to comfort packs provided to local NHS staff and volunteers.

Hebden Bridge – donated £1,000 to a local project manufacturing PPE visors for healthcare workers, and are also offering grants of up to £650 for local charities and good causes.

Bookham and Horsley – made a donation of £1,300 to Princess Alice Hospice, whose income has taken a significant hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kendal – made a donation of £1,000 to Age UK South Lakeland. 50% of Age UK’s operating budget comes from their retail shops, which are currently closed.

Castle Douglas – £1,500 donation to Heart of Galloway Foodbank means they are now able to deliver 500 cooked meals per week, as well as food parcels.

Canterbury – Have donated over £2,200 to Prince of Wales Youth Club, which will now be able to distribute 1,000 packed lunches to children in the area over the next fortnight.

Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form Interact – sending hundreds of letters and cards to local elderly people and care home residents who are isolating.

In Thames Valley – clubs in the region are working together on their ‘Food Banks & More’ campaign and in two weeks have raised over £17,000

Interact clubs in Reading – Waingels College, Piggott School and Bumershe School have raised £2,550 for local foodbanks.

Roydon Revolve – are selling ‘NHS Show Some Love’ car air fresheners at £2 each, with proceeds going to frontline NHS Charities Together. Find out more.

You can follow daily updates of what Rotary clubs are doing during the coronavirus pandemic on the Rotary GB&I Twitter feed:


Also, log onto the Rotary website for regular updates to find weekly updates on what Rotary clubs are doing to support their communities.