Tue 25th July 2017 at 12.45 - 14.00
25 July 2017: Visitors from South Africa, Rotarian Colin Thornton accompanied by his wife, Rotary-Ann Angie
The last meeting of July saw bumper attendance including six guests, two of whom were Colin and Angie Thornton from the Rotary Club of Benoni Van Ryn in South Africa. Colin gave a brief insight into Rotary activity in his club and the charitable work undertaken, particularly with helping the poor communities with water collection.
Ex-member, Debbie Melton introduced the guest speaker, Gordon Laing, General Manager of the charity Simon on the Streets (SotS). This charity is quite unique as it focuses on the homeless who refuse help or intervention. Most are sleeping rough in the cities of Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield. The official number for homeless people in Leeds is 360 but as many are not registered the number is considerably higher. Simon on the Streets has just 6 full-time workers and one part-time. The support starts by befriending, which can take months to achieve, and hopefully lead to rehabilitation. Many of the people SotS work with are drug addicts and alcoholics, most have suffered mental health problems and trauma in their lives. It is extremely challenging and requires immense patience and dedication – but they never give up on anyone. In the last 12 months SotS has housed 7 or 8 individuals, plus another 15 have been weaned off heroin onto methadone. This is an important and worthy charity that is there for those whom most reject or at best, ignore.
A vote of thanks was given by President Elect Peter Williams.