Nov 23, 2017 by


2nd Oct

No meeting.

3rd Oct

16 Rotarians took part in a visit to Bombay Sapphire at their state-of-the-art distillery. CLICK HERE for details.

9th Oct

Shaftesbury Town Council. A warm welcome was extended to Claire Commons the newly appointed Town Clerk to Shaftesbury Town Council. Claire had previously been an officer to the Council for 9 years prior to taking the lead role, in fact she has only held the post for the last 8 months. Claire summarised the various layers of Council including; county, district and our local town council – which can be accessed on www.shaftesbury-tc.gov.uk


The financial responsibilities are of significance as the town council precept amounts to a sum of  £470,683 for 2017/18. It was particularly interesting that the town council activities were greatly enhanced within the Localism Act of 2011 which enables the opportunities for greater “grass roots” involvement and projects. Claire also mentioned the council’s ambition for more collaborative working with the many organisations in the town, hence one of the reasons to engage a business manager to generate interest in the town and increase its income. Shaftesbury Rotary Club welcomes the opportunity to work with the town council.

16th Oct

Business meeting. The International Committee discussed a request for support in the Philippines from “Literacy in a box”. We agreed to this. We reviewed a request for funding towards a group of volunteers who wish to build a school in India. We will discuss this further after we have had a presentation from a speaker on behalf of this group. We are also considering a Rotary project to provide School latrines in Africa but deferred this as the member who has been involved is absent. We also discussed World Polio Day which is on October 24th. Rotary International is heavily involved with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation working to eradicate polio. We regularly support this.


The Community committee considered a number of projects including a circus workshop for disadvantaged children. They will put on a show to demonstrate their new-found skills and we hope to take a group of the elderly from local homes to see this.


Finally we were brought up to date on our Cycle Speedway project.

23rd Oct

Virginia Edwyn-Jones very kindly stepped in at the last minute to be our speaker for this meeting. Virginia and 15 others went to China 3 weeks ago to walk an unused and very difficult part of the Great Wall Of China, this was to raise up to £50,000 for Carers UK, they all stayed with a local family washing in cold water at an outside tub with temperatures of 2 degrees C. Virginia showed us pictures of her and others climbing vertical steps, very brave of them all. For more information on the charity please do visit  www.carersuk.org

30th Oct

Dungri village project – India. We welcomed as our speaker Liz Gray to our partners evening, who told us of her upcoming project in a rural community in Northern India. Liz has a background of working with Raleigh International and a career organising many and various school projects around the world.


But this is an adventure with a bit of a difference, and involves Liz and 15 friends and family  travelling to Northern India on December 28th, and spending 12 days together doing a community service project for a rural village in the Himalayan foothills!


It started out as a small reunion group for a trip she organised for 20 teachers 4 years ago, but when she  didn’t get quite enough people signing up, she involved a few friends and family along for the ride, and who were willing to muck in. 


The project involves helping a community build their new village training centre. This will be a building 20 x 30 feet in size. The project will employ local builders and masons and provide all the building materials. The group will work alongside them for 10 days and the tradesmen will finish off the roof and interior after the group have left. 


Some friends of Liz, at The Doon School, are helping to co-ordinate everything with the Head of the community, and the school will be partnering with the community once the party have left,  to facilitate the building of toilets, a vegetable garden and a kitchen for the centre. So this isn’t a “do-good” one-off project, but is the start of a long-term sustainable initiative that will be continued into the future.


Why build a training centre for a random village in India I hear you ask? Well – this village is part of a whole region of small, rural communities who make some of their living out of agriculture. However, many in the community are poorly educated and have little access to further education or vocational training. Many young people leave the village to try their luck in the big cities, but end up living in slums and working in menial, often illegal jobs. Then the older people leave to join their family (otherwise there is no-one to look after them in old age) and then the community gradually becomes what’s known as a “ghost village”. There are many communities in this area that have become like this, so three families have donated some of their land for the site of the building, and the hope is that it will become a centre for all the local communities, not just this one.


Liz and friends need to raise funds to buy all the building materials as well as pay the local tradesmen. Current estimates suggest this will cost £6,000 to £7,000 in total, and the group is baking cakes, doing sponsored events, organising musical fund-raising events and sucking up to their bosses to get donations. Liz, is carrying out a sponsored row on the Avon in Bath  and with her partner Paul, and her mum (who are both coming on the trip!) have started their own crowd funding page and are now seeking help from all quarters to help them achieve their goals. 


Every single penny they raise will go towards bricks, mortar, roof trusses, doors, windows, buckets, spades, sweat, tears, local builders and stuff for the training centre. If they raise more than the target group total, this will be left in the capable hands of Liz’s friends at Doon School who will use it in the coming years to fund the building of a toilet, kitchen and vegetable garden. 


None of the money will go to any of the party, who will be living in tents (all be it tents with basic bathrooms attached to the back!!), eating lots of veggie curry and paying their own way.

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