14th March 2021
Last Week’s Meeting
Attendance:Robert Dudgeon, Brian Taylor, ,David Simmonds, Dinah and Geoff Partridge, Wendy Ford, Neil Hills, JohnBowers, Julie Peniston-Bird, Maggie Wicks
Apologies: Lionel Parks
Speaker: Steve Bidwell
Steve Bidwell, chair of the Caterham Food Bank gave an overview of the workings of the food bank, which is a national organisation founded by the Church and is overseen by the Russell Trust. Their warehouse facility is based in Caterham, which both Oxted and Titsey Rotary recently helped to fund the fit out. The warehouse serves the current pickup point at the Caterham Baptist Churchand more recently at Kings Churches at Oxted. A further pick up point is being considered at Hurst Green. All food is donated by supermarkets and donations from companies and the public. Sufficient food is provided for three days and reflect the number of adults and children. There is a team of 70 volunteers who man and organise the warehouse and pick up points. They work with other agencies where necessary. It is estimated that about 10 to 16 percent of children live in poverty in Caterham Valley, Caterham Westway, Hurst Green and Godstone. The club recently donated £1000 to the foodbank, which was made available by the generosity of a donor.
Rotary Meeting16ththMarch–Fellowship Meeting
Birthdays since last week: Martin Peniston-Bird
Next Meeting: 23th March- Speaker Meeting
March 23rd:- Pammy McNaughton will talk to us about the Oxted Master Park Pavilion
One Year On
I doubt if any of usin March last year expected to be in lockdown a year later.It has been a difficult journey for us, but I think most of us have fared better than the many who have lost their income and loved ones. When I offered to produce a weekly bulletin, I did not expect to be publishing a 50th edition, but with input from many of you, some of it not publishable, it has been a pleasure.
The last public rotary event before lockdown was our ABBA Chique night on the 16th March 2020. There was some concern as to whether we should go ahead with it but on balance we agreed to do so. It was a great night, thanks to the team and in particular the hard work of Carol Stark.We raised over £1000 even though attendance was low due to the uncertaintysurrounding COVID.Sadly,for ABBA Chique they have not performed since due to Covid restrictions.
We held our last socially distanced lunch meeting on the 19th March 2020 following whichthe Prime Minster announced the first lockdown on the 23rd March. Since then, we have not been able to resume our regular lunch meetings. We did however manage to celebrate the 100hBirthday of Len Dowardwith afternoon tea at Knights Garden Centre on the 19th August, thanks to the support of Richard Knight.
The first bulletin was published on the 24th March when David Simmonds kindly offered to look at the possibility of meeting remotely. We were determined to keep in touch somehow and continue with regular meetings. After some testing we chose ZOOM as the vehicle for holding online meetings, the first of which was held on the 7th April 2020. Thirteen members joined the meeting which was successful despite a few teething problems, though Maggie Wicks declined to use her camera as she had not done her hair!The use of Zoom has enabledus to meet weekly,albeitvirtually, this has maintained the strong fellowship which is a feature of the club. Julie Peniston -Bird arranged for several interesting speakers, with one presenting from Sweden.
In May we started to see a way out of lockdown, with some restrictions being removed. Students returned to school in September, shops, pubs, and restaurants opened, but with winter approaching the number of Covid cases started to rapidly rise again and consequently restrictionswere reimposed with a full lockdown again in December 2021.Meanwhile scientists and medics did a remarkable job in developing vaccines in a truly shortperiod of time, and ourmuch-maligned NHS have donean outstanding job in vaccinating the population.
Due to Covid restrictions we were not allowed to hold our regular quiz and bingo fund raising events. We also missed Bob Evansbeetle drives and his particular style of humour. Sports activities were cancelled along with youth events and competitions. These will need to be reinstated when allowed to do so.
Though impacted all of us in different ways, we have managed to keep some of our Rotary activities going and help both the local and international communities as best as we were able. David Simmonds expanded the grant scheme and arranged for the club to authorise vouchers for the Caterham Food Bank.Brian and Jill Taylor delivered some of the food.David also set up an electronic system for receiving donations for our Christmas Collection.Elements in Oxted allowed us to put up the Rotary Christmas treekindly supplied by Knights Garden Centre and Marie and Peter Dowbiggin help put it up and dress it.
BrianTaylor built a standfor a Rotarydisplay at knights Garden, which Christine Hills varnished. It had a collection bucket on top, chained to it to stop it going on walkabout. Information on how to donate via textwas displayed as well information about rotary. The stand was manned by volunteers as far as possible whilst maintaining social distancing.Though the amount collected was less than previous years it exceeded our expectations. More importantly it helped maintain the profile of rotary within the community. In true Christmas spirit our President Robert paid a visit to Tandridge School dressed as Father Christmas and was much appreciated by the young students.
Throughout the pandemic, technology has enabled us to maintain contact with one another and District as well assupporting some of our activities. Having embraced it I believe it is here to stay and will continue to feature as part of our daily lives as well as club activities.
Raising funds has not been easy, it never is, but due to the reserves we held and the limited fund raising activities, coupled with donations,we have managed to support severalinitiatives as follows.
15.07.20 Oxted School – Books (payment in two parts) £352.20
02.09.20 Rotary club of Purley – Beirut £250.00
24.09.20 Rotary Club of Kew Gardens –Lesbos £200.00
26.09.20 Rotary Club of Titsey – Caterham Food Bank £500.00
30.01.21 Care International – Lend with Care £350.00
07.02.21 CaterhamFoodbank £1000.00
19.02.21 Mercy Ships £650.00
11.03.21 The Accessibility Institute – Safari Seats £300.00
28.6.20 RF UK £300
4.6.20 Kent/Sussex/Surrey Air Ambulance £250
5.5.20 MSF £350
30.4.20 Sand Dams £350
30.4.20 Global Sight Savers £350
20.3.20 Oxted CAB £350
This is in addition to Community Grant Scheme and agreed £500 for Oxted School Books for September 2021
Payments from the Community Fund – David Simmonds
18.08.20 Applicant 045 Door Bell £30.00
31.08.20 Applicant 045 Riding lessons £25.00
20.09.20 Applicant 045 Shoes £60.00
20.09.20 Applicant 045 Various (via D.S) £77.50
15.12.20 Christmas special via Foodbank (14 Applicants) £1,350.00
21.12.20 Applicant ?? Morrison Voucher £75.00
24.02.21 Applicant 056 One-off payment £180.00
05.03.21 Applicant 017 Tesco Gift Cards £250.00
19.02.21 to 22.03.21Applicant 012 Weekly helper 6x£40 £240.00
The Club is one of the oldest in the UK andwill be 100years old in 2023. To survivefor another 100 years,it was agreed to review the future direction of the club and make it more accessible to a wider group of people.This was led by John Bowers, Neil Hills and Brian Taylor with input from current and past members. Outline proposals have been drafted and sent to members for consultation before being finalised and implemented.
Inthe true spirit of Rotary, we have manged to retain fellowship within the clubduring these trying times and supported bothlocal and international communities to the best of our abilities.There is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel and given a fair wind we may be able to resume our lunch meetings in July, if not sooner. We should also be abletoreinstate our fund-raising activities, including the Oxted Rotary Pram Race, which was sadly missed last year. Fingers crossed!
Lastly, I would like to thank all those who have contributed to the bulletin over the past year. It is intended to keep it going until life returns to something like normal. So please continue to let me have any items you think others would be interested in hearing about.
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