January 2021 Update

A New Year and a Positive Vibe!

Elizabeth with Guide Dog Rachel

With a New Year came the hope that 2021 would be a positive year and we, as Rotarians, would soon be able to do what we do best – helping others, raising vital funds and having fun!

We were delighted to welcome our first ‘virtual speaker’ of the year, Sophie Bryde the newly appointed manager of Ambleside Parish Centre.

Born and brought up in Windermere, Sophie graduated from Glasgow University before working in London with World News Media Ltd as Production Coordinator. However, missing the more rural lifestyle of the Lakes, Sophie returned to Cumbria and for the past 5 years worked with the National Trust in Grasmere as their Experience & Visitor Programming Manager, before taking up her new post at APC in November.

Although the Parish Centre is closed to all bookings due to Covid restrictions, Sophie agreed it had offered a great opportunity to stand back and reflect on the services the Centre provides for its existing users as well as engaging with people who have never used it before. Funding and finance remain a pivotal aspect of the role together with working closely with the community to ensure the centre best covers the needs of all those living locally.  Sophie was pleased to report on the many positive initiatives the centre had achieved, and the ongoing funding from various sources had allowed existing and new projects, including an increased foodbank and food share table together with a community food and household cupboard.

In partnership with Windermere School, hot lunches continue to be prepared and delivered a couple of times a week at a cost £4 per person. Surplus food from local supermarkets continues to be available in the centre foyer, (available to all) to help reduce food waste, and a fresh fruit & veg box is being purchased weekly from centre funds to add to the food share table.

The club thoroughly enjoyed hearing of Sophie’s goals and ambitions for the centre, commenting in their thanks that she had ‘certainly hit the ground running’ and looked forward to holding more of their own club events at the centre in the further.

Anyone requiring further information regarding the centre can email Sophie at manager@amblesidepc.org.uk

Council & Business meetings brought us up to date with plans for the next month, but we are still unable to plan any ongoing initiatives in the Windermere area for anyone wishing to consider joining us since the closure of the Windermere Rotary club, until Covid restrictions have been lifted.

January was completed with a most interesting and informative talk via Zoom by our speaker, Elizabeth Edmundson, from Guide Dogs for the Blind. The Guide Dogs story started in 1931 when Muriel Crooke and Rosamund Bond, organised the training of the first four British guide dogs from a humble lock up garage in Merseyside. Today Guide Dogs is the world's largest breeder and trainer of working dogs.

Elizabeth has been a voluntary Puppy Raiser for ten years, providing care and important socialising for each puppy until they start their official training at fourteen months old. The puppies start their journey at the National Breeding Centre at Leamington Spa, where they breed up to 1500 puppies a year. The lifetime cost of each guide dogs from initial training through its active time in guiding amounts to £63,000. The charity is always happy to welcome new supporters and fundraisers. More info can be found at www.guidedogs.org.uk

It' s always great to see our members virtually and to hear of those who have accessed other Rotary zoom meetings. Jenny gave us an update on her zoom get together with the Lunesdale Club whose speaker was Dave King, the editor of the Rotary Magazine and co-host of the Rotary Together talks.

As we move into February, many of our members have already had their Covid Vaccinations and others are on the list this week, so with the sun shining and the birds singing life is looking positive and Spring is on its way!