Fear of Social Media – Not Any More

Last night Channel Rotary was delighted to welcome Clare Grove of Drive Marketing in Folkestone, who gave a presentation on the importance of the use of social Media in Rotary. Clare spoke for 30 minutes and showed that social media could be embraced and not feared. Her talk encouraged much interest and many questions from the members.

It was an excellent topical evening, enjoyed by all.

How far we have come with your help.

I came across the blog post below which was posted on January 30th it is about the early days of the CHA at the Civic Centre. At first reading, it didn’t make sense. Then I recalled the circumstances of January, its lockdown and having to sit outside with friends, when the chilled wine would warm the fingers!

I recall as well having a coffee outside at social distance in a snow storm with friends in February but we didn’t think it odd and had a very pleasant morning. It is all a distant memory now of a very different time. On our way home we saw two elderly gents sitting at opposite ends of a bench with a bottle of wine in the middle. We are pretty resilient, aren’t we?

Looking back in my emails of the time: on January 15th I contacted Jenner Group on behalf of CHA because the gazebos which were just being installed were being blown away. Volunteering had so many dimensions. Jenners responded immediately with a solution which kept the gazebos in place until they had one storm too many. It was not a great winter for outdoor vaccinations.

After this blog was written, the weather deteriorated. Keeping Pfizer at -80C was not a challenge! The vaccinators fingers kept it cool. But the volunteers were so cheerful and delighted to have a chance to help and to be able to socialise with colleagues during lockdown.

Those early days were quite emotional meeting very elderly who had not been out for almost a year.

Remember; this time last year there was no vaccine. Read on:

Now I know why they gave the flu and pneumonia jabs

It is so good living in our tiny microclimate here in Folkestone. On balmy mid-winter days we often sit with a glass of warmed prosecco on the patio in the morning admiring the setting sun and marvelling at the daffodils as they gently sway against the icy gale

What a shock this morning when I threw open the curtains to find that it was chucking down the rain. So this is what winter is like. I have heard about it. Then I thought about the poor marshals at the Civic Centre standing outside guiding the over eighties for their Covid jab and I suddenly realised why we had been injected earlier in the year against pneumonia and flu.

I don’t think the older generation is quite used to the drive-thru concept. And not having driven for a year due to isolation or shielding there is the added fun twist of an obstacle course to drive through. As the doctor fights her way towards the victim in the driving rain the 3mls in the syringe will have probably increased to thirty.

What a shock that the weather has turned bad. If only they could have anticipated it could have been planned for it. Surely there are some thoughtful people who have cancelled their weddings and bar mitzvahs due to the virus, freeing up a few thousand square miles of marquee which could be used. Instead it is probably rotting away slowly somewhere under the snow nourishing the crocuses.

Concerned for their wellbeing, I spoke to the lead marshal to offer some snorkels but he reported that they were having fun. “It is going really well” he reported.

What I have written above is written a little in jest because there is a fantastic spirit at the Civic Centre. It is fantastic that across the country where the weather is far less clement than ours in our microclimate, the numbers being vaccinated are increasing. Floods, snow, ice, storms and rain cannot dent the determination to get this done. Nor shall the EU!!

Whatever the challenges the people being vaccinated are so grateful and bit by bit our town is being protected and we take little steps back to something like normality when businesses can open, we can give up the warm prosecco and go to have a pint.

The volunteers and vaccinators are so committed to the cause that they are undaunted. Thank you all.

Joe Sullivan

January 30th

Three Channel Rotary Members Are Awarded Paul Harris Fellowship, The Highest Award In Rotary

Paul Harris Fellowships are awarded under the auspices of the Rotary Foundation to which the 35,000 Rotary Clubs worldwide contribute in addition to everything they raise for charities locally. This is Rotary’s own international charity which has spent over £3 billion on good causes such as improving health and environment, providing quality education and alleviating poverty. Channel Rotary now has 10 Paul Harris Fellows.

For full details go to Channel News

Speaker Evening

Channel Rotary were delighted to entertain Miss Iulia Lambrino, Earlscliffe Interact President and Miss Maria Toma at Wednesday’s Speaker Meeting.

We listened with interest to Mr Thomas Stewart who talked on his charitable work in Uganda.

Earlscliffe Interact Club are interested in involvement an overseas project and in particular Africa. 

Channel Rotary’s Winter Fund

Channel rotary’s Winter Fund launched quietly at the start of October. The Fund is designed as an easy access one-stop secure place for donations to help organisations working in our community to provide extra care necessary during the coming winter months. Donations are managed securely by Just Giving and paid into Channel Rotary’s Charity Fund.

Covid has added additional pressures in so many areas as well as causing new areas of need.

This year the Fund is focused on three local charities. The Winter Shelter for the homeless, Age UK and the Food Bank.

Covid’s social distancing has forced the Winter Shelter to work in very different ways. This has made life more comfortable for those who must use it but these improvements come with costs. The project has been extremely successful. Not only does it take people in from the streets during the worst of winter weather but it has helped up to 80% of those it supports find permanent homes and some to find work, helping to repair many broken lives.

But sadly a new cohort of troubled people find themselves drifting into homelessness all the time. The Winter Shelter does not just provide food and a bed. It aims to provide whatever support is required to help the underlying causes of each individual’s situation; shelter and food at night and then volunteers working during the day to find solutions to the individual needs. You can find the Just Giving link here.

One of the most striking issues we encountered in the early days of the vaccination programme was the loneliness that resulted from isolation amongst the very old, many of whom live alone. Age UK had been such an important link in their lives; meeting the elderly, identifying and solving needs and providing the opportunity for social contact; lunches and other meetings.

Many changes have been necessary to provide support for this vulnerable group in a world which has not returned to normal, especially during the winter when the elderly will be most at risk again. Rising prices, fuel in particular, are constant worries for the elderly. Age UK is there to help keep a watchful eye, protect and support. Donations to the Winter Fund will be divided evenly between our three chosen charities.

Regardless of furlough and business support grants some people in our community lost their livelihoods because of the pandemic and had to turn for support to the Food Bank in the last year. The Food Bank has also had to make many changes in the way it operated because of Covid and has had to cope with reduced opportunity to collect supplies.

All these three organisations receive support from Channel Rotary during the year not only in funds but volunteer support as well. But this is the time when pressure builds especially in this winter when covid is on the resurgence again. Please donate through this link

In recent years, some who receive the Winter Fuel Allowance have donated it to those in greater need. The Winter Fund is a nice opportunity to be able to donate. Every penny we receive will go to these charities as soon as possible during the winter and put to the best possible use.

Earlscliffe Sixth Form College in Folkestone Celebrates the Formation of its Own Interact Club Sponsored by Channel Rotary

We are delighted to announce that the formation of Earlscliffe Interact Club was recognised at an Evening of Celebration at Earlscliffe Sixth Form College, Folkestone on 1st October attended by 70 Guests including members of Interact, Rotary officials, local dignitaries, teachers, family and friends.  Interact Clubs are formed under the auspices of Rotary International and bring together young people aged 12-18 in nearly 11,000 clubs in 109 countries worldwide to develop leadership skills and support their local communities through charitable work.

Full report in Channel News https://channelrotary.wordpress.com/news-and-upcoming/

Princess Royal Thanks Volunteers

The visit of the Princess Royal to Dover Castle was always intended to be an outdoor event being the safest way for such a gathering during Covid times. There was of course a contingency plan for bad weather.

The wind blew strongly on September 30th and the leaden clouds hung threateningly, dripping on occasions, but in the eyes of the Captain in charge the weather was no reason to move indoors. The military personnel present either have better weather guidance than us or are just made of harder stuff. They were represented by small groups from different regiments.

· Headquarters 11 Brigade

· 36 Regiment Royal Engineers (Maidstone)

· 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles (Folkestone)

· 3rd Battalion The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment (3PWRR) (Canterbury)

· 600 Sqn (Aux) RAF

Invitations had been received and names submitted some time ago for the event about which there was to be no publicity. Visitors still wandered around the castle until two motorcycle outriders indicated that the Princesses’ car had arrived.

Those of us who had been invited as representatives of our organisations for the visit to recognise the work of frontline workers during the pandemic had arrived much earlier; four hours before her scheduled arrival. Security was surprisingly inconspicuous but since all but four of the groups present are directly involved in our security – and there was a dog! – coupled with the Castle’s own guards and the Royal protection officers, a secure environment could be relied on.

Organisations representing frontline services were:

· Border Force Agency· Dover District Council· HM Coastguard

· Kent County Council

· Kent Fire and Rescue Service

· Kent Police

· Kent Search and Rescue

· Medway Voluntary Action (with reps from other Charities that played a key role)

· RE:ACT

· Rotary

Rotary’s presence was low key compared to others and our banners were at risk of heading for the clouds which were no too far away so the Captain ordered a field tent to be erected for us which was done with impressive speed by members of the Ghurkha regiment.

After four cold hours, which passed surprisingly quickly, the combined Band of 3PWRR and the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas played the Royal Salute as the Princess emerged from her car accompanied by her husband. They both spent some time talking to the line of Dignitaries before going their separate ways to talk to all present.

As the band played, the tour took about an hour longer than scheduled as HRH, on her third engagement of the day, seemed unconcerned by time and genuinely interested in everyone. In our case she enquired about how Rotary has responded to new areas of need following Covid and especially about volunteer work at vaccination centres. Practised curtseys were abandoned as both the Princess and the Vice Admiral have a casual approach and a common-sense attitude to the issues of the day about which they obviously have a wide knowledge.

Most of the two hours of this part of the visit was filled in conversation with the various dignitaries. The Lord Lieutenant The Lady Colgrain, preceded HRH and then introduced us. Through the afternoon we also spoke about our work with the local MP, The Chair of KCC, Dover Town Mayor, The High Sheriff of Kent and finally with the Vice Admiral.

While Rotary in Kent talks of 50.000 hours of voluntary work, Rotary in Folkestone has provided some 20,000 hours. Our work extends beyond the vaccination centres, helping schools in various ways, supporting young carers, Age UK, the Food Bank, the Winter Shelter and many other ways.

After perhaps 150 handshakes the Royal Couple’s individual tours ended at the same time in the same place. A well-oiled machine subtly choreographs an apparently casual event.

As they headed off for a tour of the Castle to be followed by a tour of the Tunnels we gathered our belongings and left our tent to the Captain in charged whom we thanked for a perfect day and his weather forecasting.

As both the Princess and her husband left us they sent their thanks for all that the volunteers have done throughout the pandemic.

The casual and friendly style of the visit which was not publicised, left no doubt that it was not done out of duty but a desire to learn and an awareness of the hardships caused by the pandemic and the efforts by so many to support their communities.

Joe Sullivan

Channel Awarded ‘Hero of the Week’ Again!

BBC Radio Kent’s Pat Marsh

On August 21st Channel Rotary was awarded ‘Hero of the Week’ during an interview on BBC Radio Kent’s Pat Marsh show with Joe Sullivan.

This was the second time in a year for the Channel Club – this time in recognition for 4 years of holding the Channel Triathlon and the benefits it brings to the local community in so many ways.

The next Channel Tri will be on 4th September 2022