Taunton Vale Rotary Club has been in existence since its Charter was issued in 1981. Whilst the Club has a lively social calendar which promotes fellowship among members there is also a strong emphasis on Service for others.
During the time the Club has existed, members have raised over £500,000; been responsible for initiating the development of a local Abbeyfield Care Home (members continue to serve on the Trustee Committee); Taunton Opportunity Group (TOG) - another organisation where members are actively involved with the day to day management; and ran the It's Child's Play Project with the specific aim of raising funds for the Children's Hospice South West.
The Club continues to work to assist local and international charities.
Club members are allocated to a committee responsible for a particular aspect of Club activity.
Taunton Vale Rotary Club is Making a Difference
Some 4 years ago members of Taunton Vale Rotary Club asked the question “What can we do which will meet a need in our society at a time of deep recession?” Discussions followed with members of the Somerset County Council Care Team which led to the development of a project which seeks to help young people leaving care get onto the employment ladder.
Nationally, the number of young people leaving care is increasing year-on-year with a 22% increase in the past 5 years. In Somerset currently over 60 per cent of care leavers are not in education, employment or training. This compares with a figure of 10% for the general population.
In developing the project it became clear the Care Team were not able to access enough private sector businesses willing to provide short work experience placements. If the young people are to properly engage with employment, the placements need to be in work sectors they are interested in. If a teenage care leaver shows interest in becoming a hairdresser or a mechanic then making tea and filing paperwork in a council office is not likely to get them out of bed in the morning.
The Making a Difference project seeks to improve their employment prospects by building confidence, improving application and interview skills, and providing short work experience placements. Members of Taunton Vale Rotary Club, joined recently by colleagues of the Bridgwater Rotary Club, support the project by introducing private sector employers to the SCC Targeted Youth Support team who deliver the project programme.
Aided by the Support team, employers will be supportive and understanding of the needs of care leavers who have often been subject to a chaotic and challenging life journey, and recognise the social and emotional impact this can represent on a daily basis. By providing short term workplace experience they start the journey for such a disadvantaged young person to move from care dependence to working independence.
Now 2 years old the Making a Difference project has enabled 32 young people to complete work experience placements and 45 have been supported to develop their employability skills. Almost half of the young people engaged in the project have achieved an Experience of Work Award. Eight have got a job, two have started college, and one has gained an apprenticeship placement proving the value of this community service inspired project.
If you are an employer and would like an Employer’s Guide information leaflet about the Making a Difference project please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please listen to an interview with Fiona Mahoney on tonefm http://tonefm.co.uk/listen/dementia-awareness/
11th July 2016. Cheque presentation to Reminiscence Learning of £11,400 from the proceeds of Moonraker 2015 and "Black Rod" Speaker Dinner. The ceremony was held at North Town Primary School, Taunton, as residents of Abbeyfield looked on. Left centre Fiona Mahoney of Reminiscence Learning, middle, one of the teachers who led the project, and Right President Paul Hughes.
The children had interacted with the residents, compiled Life Story Books for each, and together learned the Archie Project. They exchanged gifts and the children sang.