Friday, 22 November 2013

Doing Good with ShelterBox in the Phillipines

Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in the Philippines are now homeless and without clean water or food in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Their situation is desperate.

With winds of 195mph, the typhoon is the largest storm ever recorded to make landfall and current reports indicate that upwards of 10,000 people may have lost their lives. Further reports are filtering through of 'utter devastation' across the main city of Tacloban and the islands of Samar and Leyte. The need to get shelter and essential aid to those affected is immense.

Rotary's Project Partner ShelterBox has moved quickly to put teams on the ground in the Philippines and they are moving emergency shelter and other vital aid already located in the Philippines and neighbouring countries to the worst affected areas.

The ShelterBox solution in disaster response is as simple as it is effective - they deliver the essentials a family needs to survive in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Each large, green ShelterBox is tailored to a disaster but typically contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, groundsheets, water storage and filtration equipment, cooking utensils, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items.

Rotary clubs throughout the world have been supporting ShelterBox in this vital work and this week President Sammy was pleased to hand Shelter Box Representative Gerry Walsh a donation of £31,270 to help those affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

The scale of the contribution has been made possible by the generosity of a single anonymous donor, who recently gave the Club a donation of £30,000 to help our Disaster Appeal. With the Club's support ShelterBox will be sending 53 additional ShelterBoxes to help people left homeless and destitute by the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan last week.

You can see the contents of a Shelter Box for yourself at the Tettenhall Christmas lights switch on event this Saturday, 23rd November at Tettenhall Green from 4 o'clock and we'll be collecting more donations from members of the public to help ShelterBox carry on their vital work.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Doing Good with Wolverhampton's Youth Orchestras

The work of two Tettenhall Rotarians and their support for the work of Wolverhampton's Youth Orchestras has been recognised by the award of special Paul Harris Fellow Sapphire Awards.

The Youth Orchestras provide children and young people throughout the City with an opportunity to learn to play an instrument and to perform. Many go on to reach high standards across several instruments, which is testament to their own talent and dedication and to the invaluable support which the Wolverhampton Music School and conductors Keith Sedgebeer and Ian Brailsford provide.

Thanks to the work of Rotarians David Cave and Alan Russell, along with Ken Dolman of the Rotary Club of Bilston, in promoting and supporting the Orchestras fundraising efforts each year the Orchestras have the opportunity to take the show onto the road - performing in a series of concerts throughout Europe.

Over £150,000 has been raised to support Summer tours to Malta, Italy, Spain and many other European countries since the Rotary Clubs of Wolverhampton first started their support for these annual tours 21 years ago - providing hundreds of local youngsters with a  fantastic experience that otherwise would be out of the reach of many of them.

The Paul Harris Fellow Award is named in honour of the founder of Rotary and recognises the exemplary contribution made by individuals to further the Rotary's aims. For both David and Alan this is the second time that they been honoured with the Award which was presented to them tonight by Rotary District Governor Barry Picken.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Doing Good with the Midlands Air Ambulance

The Midlands Air Ambulance is the largest and busiest of the nation's air ambulances flying 3,000 missions each year and an amazing 40,000 missions since the first launch in 1991.

Whilst the value of the service is beyond measure to the patients helped by the air ambulance each mission carries a £2,500 cost which is very much in the minds of those responsible for providing the service. We were joined this evening by CEO Hannah Sebright and Fundraising Director Jason Levy to give us an insight into the operation of the service.

The Air Ambulance receives no Government or Lottery funding and is dependant upon the support of the community it serves in order to raise its annual running costs of £6.5 million. In order to ensure that this vital service remains available a five year plan for sustainability is being implemented which has already helped them to extend the Air Ambulances flying hours with the aim of moving towards the provision of night flights.

To date Tettenhall and other Rotary Clubs with the charity's area have donated over £1,000,000 to help keep the Air Ambulance flying but its not only by donating money that we help. Working with Club member Simon Maddox the Air Ambulance has recently moved into a new headquarters building in Lye. As well as providing improved working conditions which have helped to raise staff morale the move has resulted in a reduction in operating costs of 50%.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Charity Valuation Day

If you loved the Antiques Roadshow when it visited Wightwick Manor in Wolverhampton then it’s time to dig out all of those treasures you’ve got hiding around the house because we’ve teamed up with local auctioneers Fellows & Sons for a special valuation day at the Royal School Wolverhampton on the 29th September between 11 and 3.

Established in 1876, Fellows & Sons Ltd is one of the United Kingdom's oldest and most respected firms of Auctioneers and Valuers and their specialists will be on hand on the day to provide you with a valuation of your items.

All we’re asking is that you donate at least £1 for each item that you have valued in order to help us raise as much money as possible for Help for Heroes and Compton Hospice – and who knows you may find that you have your very own Turner hiding in a drawer.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Doing Good in South Africa with the GOGO Project

Thanks to the contacts which Club member and Foundation Chairman Ivan Hill has developed with the Rotary Club of Knysna in South Africa we've recently been able to work with that Club on a project to provide some much needed welfare to vulnerable and needy children in the nearby communities.

Knysna have been involved with the “Gogo” project for some years. “Gogo” is ‘grandmother’ in Xhosa and pronounced ‘gorgor’. The Gogo project is a nationally run welfare scheme which effectively puts trained social workers (Gogo’s) in direct contact with needy and vulnerable black children.

The focus of the Gogo workers is on both education and welfare, with particular emphasis on HIV/AIDS. Each Gogo is allocated up to 20 children who are at risk - childheaded households, single HIV patients deserted by their spouse due to fear of AIDS, or single parents who have had to leave their homes due to alcohol abuse, physical violence etc.

The Matching Grant funding for the project of R.110,000 (£7,500) will fund Knysna’s Gogo activities for a year and will be spent on clothing (mainly warm underwear for the cold summers, May to August, and School Uniforms), food, health and sanitary requirements, with a very small payment to the Gogos to help them with buying shoes, as they have to walk several miles every day.

Currently, there are 6 Gogos involved, looking after 140 children with the support of Rotarians from the Knysna Club whotake turns at purchasing the week’s necessities and delivering the produce to the soup kitchens and the supplies to the Gogos.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Doing Good in the Phillipines

Rotary's Group Study Exchange Program has over the years provided thousands of young business people with the opportunity to visit other countries and to experience the host country’s culture and institutions, to observe how their vocations are practised abroad, to develop personal and professional relationships, and to exchange ideas.

The relationships formed continue long after the visits end and Bob Cliff of the Rotary Club of Burslem and the members of the group that accompanied him during the GSE visit to the Philippines in 2006/7 have continued to work with the Rotarians they met delivering projects such as the Sight Savers initiative which have made a real difference to the lives of people in the area.

Whilst in the Philippines Bob became aware of the damage caused to the Atimonan coastline and fisheries by years of overfishing and by fishing methods which had involved the use of dynamite and cyanide and tight mesh nets which had destroyed the marine environment.

In order to tackle the damage and to help to revive the fishery the members of the Rotary Club of Atimonan Sunrise have been working with Rotary clubs around the world to develop a system of artificial reefs and with Bob's assistance Tettenhall and nine other local Clubs came together this year to help fund work on a further four reefs.

Made of concrete and steel modules these artificial reefs promote coral growth, give shelter to marine life and serve as a fish nursery and are the basis for a future sustainable fishery and tourist/scuba diving attraction. Bob joined us tonight to report on the progress which has been made and on plans to designate the whole coastline as a Marine Sanctuary to be owned by the local community and to be patrolled by the Coastguard and the local community to ensure that the previous methods of overfishing do not recur.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

50 or Over? Then Help to Save a Life or Five

Polio has declined rapidly since 1985 when Rotary launched its PolioPlus project with the aim of ridding the world of Polio.  Back then polio was endemic in 125 countries with over 350,000 cases per year but now thanks to the work of Rotary volunteers and their supporters there are only 3 polio endemic countries with fewer than 230 cases reported in 2012.

We're nearly there but the fight to end this crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease isn't over yet. It costs just 40p to vaccinate a child against polio for life. If we don't finish the fight right now, more than 10 million children under the age of five could be paralysed in the next 40 years.

If you are aged 50 or over then there's a simple way that you can help Rotary to raise money to make sure that every child has access to the polio vaccine. Saga Holidays have promised to support Rotary's PolioPlus fundraising by donating £2 for each of its questionnaires completed by Rotarians and others, aged 50 or over.

Remember it costs just 40p to vaccinate a child, so by completing Saga Holidays questionnaire you can help protect five children for life against polio without it costing you a penny.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Rotary KidsOut Day Out

The first Rotary KidsOut Day Out took place in 1990 and since then Clubs from around the country have taken over 25,000 disadvantaged children on a fun day out every year.

The Day Out provides the children with an experience that brings both fun and happiness into their lives. This year the Club had the pleasure of treating a group of children from Penn Fields School to spend a fun filled day at the Drayton Manor Theme Park.

More than 100 venues and 1700 Rotary volunteers make the Day Out the success that it is and our thanks go out to Drayton Manor and to all of the staff there who gave such a welcome to the kids - we can only hope the armoured dinosaur has got over the shock of meeting the other dinosaurs who accompanied the children.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Wolverhampton MS Therapy Centre

It was a pleasure to welcome back Peter Williams of the Wolverhampton MS Therapy Centre to our meeting this evening.

The therapies offered by the Centre, are based on guidance from research into Multiple Sclerosis at hospitals both here and overseas.They include nutritional advice, physiotherapy, reflexology, hyperbaric oxygen treatment (H.B.O.) which consists of breathing pure oxygen in a pressurised chamber for regular hourly sessions, all designed to alleviate some of the more distressing symptoms of the disease and to help sufferers to cope a little better with everyday life.

Peter explained how the Centre's therapies are now offered to sufferers of other diseases such as cancer where they have been found to have beneficial effects - effects which the Centre is now working with researchers from the University of Wolverhampton to more fully understand.

The work of the Centre is only possible due to the support of volunteers such as Club member Brian Barnwell and new volunteers are always welcome - if you think that you could help in the Centre's work then contact Peter at the Centre.

Brian joined President Ian in presenting Peter with a contribution of £2,000 from the Club to allow the Centre to continue providing their much valued services.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Midlands Air Ambulance - Saving Lives by Saving Time

The Midlands Air Ambulance operates three air ambulances which help to save lives throughout the West Midlands, Staffordshire and Shropshire by making sure that patients reach hospital within 60 minutes of injury (the vital ‘Golden Hour’) which sees their chances of survival dramatically increased.

With over 38,000 missions flown its one of the busiest air ambulances in the country but receives no Government or National Lottery funding and the £6 million which is needed each year to keep its three Air Ambulances operational is donated entirely by the public and local businesses.

Tettenhall Rotary has been a regular supporter of the Air Ambulance's work and President Ian was joined recently by Club members Chris Kraushar and Gerry Turner in a visit to their Cosford base to see their operations at first hand and to present a further donation to help the Air Ambulance to continue their vital work.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Team Tettenhall Scoop District Snooker Championship

Rotary's District sports competitions give members a great opportunity to meet and spend time with other Rotarians from all over the Midlands.

Thanks to the intensive training regime developed by team captain Ernie Edwards this has been a particularly good year for our Club snooker team who tonight played reigning champions Kidsgrove in the Rotary District Snooker Final.

Having held the Cup for the last two years Kidsgrove were not going to be a walkover - especially on their home turf in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

The final was played over nine frames and after the first three frames Kidsgrove were 2-1 up but steady nerves saw Team Tettenhall recover to make it level at 3 each. Each team then won one each of the first two frames of the last session making the very last frame something of a cliffhanger!

With steely determination Team Tettenhall were able to put any nerves to one side to win the last frame by a convincing margin.

Whilst the match was played in a seriously competitive spirit it was also a most congenial occasion with Kidsgrove accepting their defeat in sportsmanlike fashion. Our congratulations to all of the Team Tettenhall members and our thanks to all the Kidsgove team for giving us a great game.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Liverpool Ladies Weekend

All of the good things that Rotary does are built around the Fellowship between its members - so as well as being involved in fundraising and community projects we also like to spend time together enjoying life. Each year as part of our fellowship activities we take the opportunity to say thank you to the wives of our members by holding a Ladies Weekend offering the opportunity for fun, fellowship and the odd but of shopping.

This year's Ladies Weekend saw us based near the Albert Docks in Liverpool. Thirty years of regeneration has certainly made a difference to the Docks at Liverpool and we started our weekend with a wonderful evening meal in one of the private dinning rooms at the Racquet Club with Scouser entertainment from Club member Ernie Edwards.

Saturday morning took us back in time with a visit to the Western Approaches Wartime Museum - the original wartime bunker from which Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Royal Marines jointly worked to monitor enemy convoys and "wolf packs" of submarines, which threatened to bring the country to it's knees in the early part of the war.

The bunker played a big part of the winning of the Battle of the Atlantic by ensuring the successful delivery of supplies and equipment into wartime Britain from the sea and the dressing up table (not original) was a particular hit with members.

Keeping with the WWII theme the afternoon saw us take our lives into our hands with a journey on the Liverpool Yellow Duckmarine - the DUKW vehicles designed and constructed in the Second World War to move men and materials ashore where no port facilities existed but now moving tourists around the port of Liverpool and now rather more famous for sinking mid tour.

A faulty lock gate meant that we had to miss the Ferry on the Mersey tour which we had planned for Sunday morning but we were still able to take in Anthony Gormley's wonderful Another Place installation on Crosby Beach.

Liverpool certainly has a lot to offer and we had a great weekend of Fellowship - hats off to Club member Chris Starkey for organising the trip.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Stroke Awareness Day

Today was Stroke Awareness Day in Wolverhampton. Every year, around 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke. That’s one person every five minutes. Stroke is the third most common cause of death in the UK and is no respector of age with almost one quarter of that number affecting younger people and children.

Club members were at the Wulfrun Centre working with local NHS volunteers conducting free blood pressure tests to help make sure that as many people as possible know their numbers.

A blood pressure reading is always in the form of two numbers, for example 130/80. The top number is the maximum pressure in your arteries when your heart beats and is called the systolic pressure. The bottom number (diastolic pressure) is the pressure in your arteries while your heart is resting between beats. Taken together, these numbers give a very good indication of how hard your heart is having to work to pump blood around your body and are an indicator of your susceptibility to stroke.

If you weren't able to visit us today to find out your numbers then don't run the risk of having a stroke - spend 10 minutes to have your blood pressure checked.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Mostyn Mahoney - Building Schools for the Future

The Club has been a long time supporter of the Tettenhall Wood special school in Wolverhampton.

As part of the Building Schools for the Future project Wolverhampton secured £330 million funding to develop schools more suited to the needs of the new century.

Tettenhall Wood was one of the first schools in the area to benefit from the Scheme together with the Kings School  and since September they have been co-located on the redeveloped Kings site - now known as the Tettenhall Learning Campus.

Headmaster Mostyn Mahoney, an old friend of the Club, joined us tonight to give us an insight into the design process.

Tettenhall Wood is the designated School in Wolverhampton for students diagnosed as autistic. The School's teaching methods mean that pupils need larger work areas and the new classrooms are large enough for each pupil to have their own individual work area, while still providing opportunities for group working and developing social interaction.

Specific break out areas within each classroom enable staff to move pupils into a calmer environment where anxieties can be overcome before pupils are re-integrated into the classroom.

Each of the classrooms has direct access to the outside providing a further level of break out as well as enabling staff to incorporate outdoor learning into the curriculum.

It's fair to say that Mostyn and his colleagues weren't able to secure all that they had wished in the design of the new school but the facilities are a massive improvement on their former premises and are making a real difference to the education which they are able to offer to these special pupils.

Members of the Club are looking forward to having the opportunity of seeing the school themselves this week when we visit the new site.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Garry Ward - the Vicar of Claverley

Most of us were expecting to hear a pious sermon when Reverend Garry Ward - the vicar of Claverley - came to talk to us this evening.

Whilst we did hear about Revd Garry's road to Christianity it was not the road that we might have imagined as Garry took us through his life - from challenging school days to a succession of jobs which has seen Garry qualify as a nurse and as the Midlands first male mid wife before joining the prison service and coming into contact with some of the nations more notorious criminals such as Bronson and Fred West.

For Garry as he moved between jobs there was always the feeling that something was missing and this eventually led him to the understanding of his calling to the ministry.

Garry filled the room with laughter and we're sure that his experiences to date will enrich his vocation and we wish him well in his ministry - especially considering the added burden which he bears of ministering to our own Club member Ken Swash - it may be enough to make Revd Garry come to wish he'd stayed with the Prison Service.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Mac Jarvis - Crimestoppers

Founded in 1988 Crimestoppers is an independent charity which helps to find criminals and to solve crimes. The Charity was born out the recognition that often when a crime takes place many people who have information which could make sure that it was solved do not take action by reporting what they know to the police because they are too close to the criminal and  fear retribution. Through the operation of an anonymous free-phone service and websites the charity offers those with information a secure means for them to get that information to the police and to make their families and communities safer.

Local Crimestopper volunteer Mac Jarvis joined us this evening to introduce the work of the charity in and around Wolverhampton and in particular in the Scotlands - an area of the City where residents had been unwilling to come forward with information which might help police to solve crimes.

Within two months of Crimestoppers starting a campaign in the area to publicise their service, calls to the charity had tripled and arrests from information given to Crimestoppers had gone up from zero over two previous years to nine in two months. Information on Anti-social behaviour (ABS) resulted in the City Council obtaining ABS orders against four youths and the removal/eviction of their families.

The estate is now turning around with reports of ABS reduced and residents willing to speak to the police and other agencies.

Mac and other Crimestopper volunteers are also working to promote Fearless a new web based service aimed at younger members of the community, getting it into schools and youth clubs and secondary schools, within areas of the City which are considered to be the recruiting grounds for drugs and guns gangs.

Mac was named the charity's Volunteer of the Year 2012 in recognition of his work on the projects and his commitment to the work of Crimestoppers. We wish Mac and his fellow volunteers continuing success in their work.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Presenting For One Night Only - Roger Webb

Membership of a Rotary Club is a great way to get to know people in your area and one of the little rituals we have when new members join us is to ask them to give a talk to the other members about their life.

We've had some great talks over the years with stories of adventures in snake infested rivers in rural India and journeys across Europe during the Second War and this evening Club member Roger Webb added to that list by taking us through his life story and in a sense through the recent life of the industrial West Midlands in the process.

Born to the son of a local pit owner Roger saw the last of the numerous small shallow pits which dotted the Black Country and on which the Industrial Revolution was made. Times were different back then so when it came time for Roger to leave school in 1963 it was simply a matter of opening the local paper and picking the job you fancied from one of the many ads. Working his way up the ladder from commercial apprentice to sales director Roger has seen great changes in the Midlands economy as the manufacturing companies that he was associated with steadily lost ground in the face of Government indifference to overseas competition and were replaced by local distributors of imported products.

Outside of his work Roger has always looked to play his part in the local community and he has been involved with numerous amateur dramatic societies. Roger certainly has a great love of the stage and whilst he was unable to follow his childhood dreams of making his living on the stage he continues to tread the boards with a local amateur group and he has had the satisfaction of seeing his own son Richie follow his artistic dreams to become an award winning comedian and composer.