Our President, Helen Karakashian, laying the poppy wreath on behalf of the Rotary Club of Droitwich Spa in Victoria Square.
Handover 1st October 2020
Past President Pat Duxbury is seen handing over the the chain of office to our current President Helen Karakashian using a clothes line prop for social distancing!
Presidents report for October
Thursday 1st October. The immediate past President, Pat Duxbury handed over the President’s jewel to President Helen Karakashian in her grounds. The handover would usually take place on or as near as possible 1st July, the beginning of the Rotary year, but this was the first convenient date. Fortunately the sun shone, Helen’s knitted bunting ‘ The Rotary Club of Droitwich Spa’ was attached to the washing line and Pat dangled the President’s jewel on the end of the washing line prop therefore adhering to social distancing regulations! Rotarian Mike Lambden kindly took photographs of the event.
9th – 11th October should have been the District Rotary Conference in Liverpool. This has been rescheduled for 23rd -25th April next year.
12th October. President Helen Karakashian handed over a cheque to Mary Stanbury from the Droitwich Spa Food Bank for £1,000. This was made up of £500 from the Club and a matching grant from Rotary Foundation. Tom Jones, Foundation Lead at the Club, prepared all the necessary paper work for this. He also handed over cooking apples from the President’s apple trees and kindly helped to load several large bags of apples into Mary’s car to take to the Foodbank.
We have not had any visiting speakers at our weekly Zoom meetings this month but there has been plenty going on behind the scenes. Plans being made to allow Santa and his sleigh to visit as many roads as possible around Droitwich leading up to Christmas have been put into doubt due to Covid. We are very keen to give pleasure to all the young people – and not so young! – who would like to see Santa this year and we are of course keener than ever to be able to raise as much money as we possibly can for local charities as they need even more support than usual at this time. Plans will be displayed on the Droitwich Sleigh Facebook page.
27th October we did not meet on Zoom as it was a day for our members to be involved in collecting for the British Legion Poppy Appeal around the town. Social distancing was observed and there were opportunities to donate in cash or to pay with a contactless card.
The Rotary calendar is in its final stages. All the photographs have been chosen and the front page is being planned. This is a project with our Club and the RC of Bromsgrove and all proceeds will go to charities supported by our two Rotary Clubs.
We plan to continue to support local charities as much as possible during lockdown.
Keep safe, Helen Karakashian
Presidents report for September
There was no meeting on 1st September as it followed a Bank Holiday and Helen Karakashian took the opportunity to have a Power point tutorial from Pauline Kimber, the District 1060 Trainer.
On 8th September we had a visiting speaker on Zoom. Clive Sherman is the founder of the Droitwich Spa Litter Squad. Clive is a valued member of the community, a retired paramedic but still working part time driving the County Council school minibus. The litter squad he formed provides a very valuable service and the group has grown to over 130 strong. Clive mentioned that litter picking is not for the faint hearted and you need to be fit to cope with the difficult terrain. Some of the rubbish he described was rather eye opening, including Truckers’ Tizer! The squad goes beyond the verges looked after by the council and pickers can collect 50 bags of litter in around 3 hours – a tremendous feat. Clive said how supportive Wychavon District Council was to his team of volunteers, providing litter pickup tools, blue bags and gloves. Please go to the Droitwich Spa Litter Pickers Facebook page for details of litter picking in your area.
Tuesday 15th was our Rotary Business Meeting and in the evening we took part in a fascinating link up on Zoom with Dame Ellen MacArthur and two of her trustees who all talked passionately about her charity The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust which has links to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital and supports young people from the age of 8 -24 to help rebuild their confidence through sailing and adventure, after cancer treatment. With increased confidence they can look to the future with more positivity even if their treatment has left them with life long disabilities. Some children who benefited from this charity have come back to volunteer on various trips and they are able to prove to the youngsters attending the activities how fulfilling and exciting their futures can be. This charity has been adopted for District 1060 by our District Governor Tim Bushell. www.ellenmacarthurcancertrust.org
22nd Tuesday Mark Ricketts came to talk to us on Zoom about Precious Sisters an NGO charity formed in 2006. It is a small charity looking for sponsors to support academically bright young girls in Kenya. There are two boards of trustees, one in Kenya and one in the UK and all these trustees are volunteers. It seemed to be a very well run charity. All correspondence goes through mentors which helps to avoid the possibility of corruption. There is a mentoring scheme for the sponsored girls who meet together at the beginning of each term from the three schools which are in the scheme and they receive one to one mentoring. precioussisters.org
Tuesday 29th Hayley O’Seachnasaigh came on Zoom to tell the Rotarians about the Social Prescribing Volunteer Opportunities. This was more of a question and answer session and Hayley was particularly interested to hear of the link of one of our members to the release of ex convicts into society and was keen to offer help in this area.
In spite of difficulties in fund raising at the moment we plan to give a generous donation to the Droitwich Spa Food Bank, we will be collecting in November for the British Legion poppy appeal and of course we hope to have Santa riding on his sleigh throughout the roads of Droitwich in December. More details about these activities will follow.
Presidents report for August 2020
Another interesting month of Rotary meetings and decisions. Namita Harvey from Turn2Us, a national charity of which I am a Vice President, gave a presentation on Zoom at the beginning of the month. (There will be a lunch and art demonstration to raise funds for this charity on 1st June 2021.) This charity helps people to get back on track when times get tough and they need financial support, giving hope and a welcome breathing space to beneficiaries.
I attended a very enjoyable Rotary Fellowship of Quilters and Fibre Artists Zoom get together. As this is a world wide group of Rotarian craftspeople being run from the States the meeting took place at 1.00pm their time and it was 9.00pm in the UK and 6.00am in Australia. Not only was it interesting to hear all the wonderful creativity going on through lock down to raise funds for local charities in a wide range of countries including Finland, Belgium, Sweden, Australia, Canada, The States, and of course the UK but it was interesting to learn about the weather. In Sydney there had been snow on the mountains and it was bitterly cold, in California one Rotarian had her bags packed ready to leave as soon as she had said hello to everyone as the lightening fires were 6 miles away from her and she was about to flee!
Unfortunately the Handover of the President’s jewel together with the President’s lunch – everyone bringing their own picnic and socially distancing in the grounds – had to be cancelled due to rains and high winds. The day before and the day after were warm and sunny……
Owing to meetings taking place virtually we have been able to ‘visit’ clubs much further afield and at some more formal meetings the number of attendees has quadrupled. I am sure in the future we will continue to have a number of virtual meetings interspersed with our face to face meetings.
We hope to arrange some local projects very soon and if you would like to be involved please get in touch. Being involved with Rotary means that you are part of a local community organisation, doing good in your locality, but at the same time you are part of a global organisation which can do good overseas making a difference in the developing world and giving you the opportunity to network worldwide.
Helen Karakashian .
Presidents Monthly Report for July 2020
Charitable donations 2019 – 2020
Cancer Research £250
Droitwich Archery Society £800
Droitwich CVS £1000
Pamela May Trust £500
St John’s Ambulance £200
Droitwich CVS £1000
Droitwich Young Carers £800
St. Richard’s Hospice £800
Droitwich Meeting Centre £300
Spectrum Days £300
Droitwich Food Bank £300