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Deadline May 2024

Chilling Out

Alton Rotary members recently enjoyed a 'refloxology evening' with practitioner Lisa Haynes, who is based at Holybourne.  Lisa explained that reflexology is based on the theory that different points on the feet, leg, hands, face or ears correspond with different areas of the body.  She said that applying gentle pressure to these points could improve circulation and induce relaxation, and could activate the body's own healing sytems and prevent ill-health.

She said that reflexology could help to reduce stress, anxiety and pain, as well as lifting an individual's mood and improving general well-being.  Reflexology treatment could aid sleep, improve blood flow and reduce high blood pressure.

Lisa demonstrated her techniques on Past President Mike Sanders, who seemed relaxed to the point of slumber when his session ended.

Lisa with Mike

A Century of Service

Two members of Alton Rotary have recently received awards recognising their many years of service to Rotary.  Richard Bendall's long service award was for 35 years of work with Rotary, including a number of years as Treasurer of Alton Rotary. Len Smith's award recognised an amazing 65 years in Rotary, including service as national President of Rotary in Britain and Ireland.

Len and Richard

Richard Bendall and Len Smith

Deadline April 2024

'End Polio Now'

'Polio is close to being totally eradicated world-wide' was the message for Alton Rotary members recently from Rotary International officer Reg Ling.  He outlined both progress and recent setbacks to the total elimination of polio.

Polio has been eradicated in India and throughout South Asia for ten years, and most of the world now has a high level of polio immunity.  But the Covid pandemic has led to greater community isolation and a reduction in polio immunisation because of the urgent need to develop and deliver Covid vaccines.

Reg said that now polio immunisation was resuming in many countries, with better surveillance and additional test laboratories to monitor any outbreaks. But the resumption of international travel post-Covid had led to the transmission of the polio virus to some cities and international travel hubs.  He said that total polio eradication was very close, but an extensive immunisation programme needs to continue in countries with an infection risk.  In these countries there are 68 million new births each year, with each baby needing three vaccinations.  Access to rural communities is a problem. as is some vaccine refusals.

Rotary International hopes to raise $50 million dollars a year to fund its global 'End Polio Now' campaign, which is supported generously by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which double-matches Rotary's contribution to this campaign.


Alton Rotary President Lisa Hillan chaired Reg's presentation.

Deadline January 2024

Lighting Up Africa

Solar Lights


Alton Rotary has just helped fund two solar energy schemes to light up rural communities in Africa.  It's part of a larger project to provide solar-powered lighting to 10,000 homes in 20 villages in Malawi.

Each village will receive 500 solar kits - one for each home - to provide one solar panel and a battery hub for each household.  That will be sufficient to power three lights and a smartphone charger.  It's hoped the scheme will bring safety benefits by reducing the use of candles and dangerous kerosene lamps, and will also have an educational benefit by enabling chidren to do homework after dark.

In the two villages in central Malawi supported by Alton Rotary, teams of 20 women will organise the distribution and installation of the panels.  Householders will pay for the installation over a two-year period using the savings produced by using solar energy.  Installation will begin in the next few weeks.

Alton Rotary is working with the 'Lend with Care' programme of the international development charity Care International.  The club has now made development loans totalling more than £10,000 to small businesses and individuals in 14 countries across three continents.  These loans have helped support 631 entrepreneurs and create 376 jobs in the developing world.

The lending is on a crowd-funding basis, with many individuals and Rotary clubs in this country contributing to the loans.

Other businesses supported by Alton Rotary's loans in recent weeks include a rice farmer in Cambodia, a forester in Vietnam, two farmers in Thailand, two retailers in Rwanda, five farmers and growers in Ecuador, a fishing family in Vietnam, a tailor in Thailand and a fish retailer and a cafe owner in the Philippines.  The loans have been used for various purposes - to buy additional livestock, fishing nets, larger premises and other equipment for their businesses.

Alton Rotary members select new borrowers to support several times a year, using financial contributions and repayments received from previous lending.  The scheme's club co-ordinator, Roy Roberts, said, "We feel this is a very practical way to support economic development in many countries around the world." 


Deadline December 2023

Charity Needs Help

An Alton charity which supports local young families says its service is at risk because of funding difficulties.

This warning was delivered by representatives of Bushy Leaze Family Support at a meeting of Alton Rotary, which has been a supporter of the charity in recent years.

The Chair of Trustees of Bushy Leaze, Dawn Murphy, and the Family Support Manager, Jess Anton, explained that securing funding was increasingly more difficult, and that the charity was now launching an urgent fund-raising initiative to ensure the continuity of its services for families.

The Family Support team offers help to families with young children who are facing many challenges in order to make lasting differences to their lives. This is achieved through one-to-one advice sessions for families and ongoing weekly contact.  The team also runs a programme of weekly group sessions for 110 families dealing with issues such as the problems of first-time parents, families with children with special needs, budgeting support and developing parenting skills.

The Bushy Leaze charity was formed seven years ago by a group of volunteers when public funding through the Sure Start programme was withdrawn and family support services were threatened.  It's argued that today the services have never been needed more in the community, and the charity continues to raise funds to pay for a qualified and experienced team delivering comprehensive and vital services to families with children under five.

The charity is already supported by various community organisations such as Alton Town Council, the Victorian Cricket Festival and Alton Rotary. Now Bushy Leaze Family Support is asking the whole community in the Alton area "to dig deep to help ensure families in the area can continue to receive vital support".

Dawn, Jess with Lisa

Dawn Murphy and Jess Anton with Alton Rotary President Lisa Hillan



Deadline November 2023

Survival in a Box...

A West Country charity has now shipped more than 23,000 survival crates to areas around the world affected by disasters.  The charity - Water Survival Box - has sent boxes to 86 disaster zones in 43 different countries since it was founded by a Rotary club 18 years ago.

The boxes contain a range of household items such as bandages, toiletries and utensils such as saucepans, plates and cutlery. Also in the boxes are shelter needs such as tarpaulins, nails and tools. The key item in the boxes is a water purification pump that can produce enough pure filtered water to meet the needs of a family of five for up to five years, with the box used as a water tank.

This year the boxes have been sent to Ukraine,to Turkey, Syria and Morocco following earthquakes, and to Somalia and Sudan as a reponse to drought.

One of the charity's trustees, Tony Quinn, explained to Alton Rotary members that the boxes were assembled by volunteers at a base in Midsomer Norton in Somerset. Each box costs £150 to produce, and the costs are met by supporters' donations, which have totalled £2.5million to date. Each of the distinctive red boxes carries the Rotary logo.  Alton Rotary is planning to sponsor some Water Survival Boxes.

Water Survival Box contents









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