16th – Speaker Meeting, Mark Blackman
On Monday 16th August, Mark Blackman who had previously been Head of Shaftesbury School and now working for Dorset Council, gave us very interesting talk as the ‘Chief Operating Officer’ for the St Mary school site.
The school went into administration in March 2020 and the site was then handed over to the administrators and the whole site had to be sold.
Dorset was spending vast sums of money on transporting children with special needs out of the county to be catered for their individual needs.
Mark prepared a paper for Dorset Council that if the site could be bought for £10.5million then there would be savings made over time.
When the sale was completed and officers from County walked round the site, they could then see the potential for a Special Needs School and a company was formed to manage the site: Dorset Centre of Excellence.
There are extensive facilities with a great music centre, chapel, ballroom, kitchens, dormitories, swimming pool and gym, all set in a 55-acre site which will make a perfect location for catering for children with Special needs and disabilities. In time there will be day students and boarders.
There is also a walled garden which is the size of two football pitches and could be used to teach children to grow vegetables and give them life skills for the future with the possibility of preparing the food and running a café using the kitchen facilities.
There are flats which could be used to teach older children to manage on their own. The house at the front entrance will be turned into office accommodation and can be used by support staff.
Advertisements will be published during Sep-Oct and it is expected that they will require about 300 staff in total.
23rd – Business Meeting
We met at the Fleur for our first face to face business meeting post lockdown. We did however discuss measures we should take to minimise Covid risk due to the current high incidence in our area.
We discussed updates to our website and action we could take to ensure that the photographic record on the site is kept up to date and relevant.
Some of our members will be helping at the forthcoming Sturminster Newton Cheese Fair and we discussed arrangements for this. Clubs in different towns often help one another at fundraising events and the Cheese Fair is great fun to be involved with.
We then discussed a social event which we hope we will have at a members house next month.
We regularly support Shelterbox. This is a charity closely associated with Rotary, which provides disaster victims with a box containing the immediate necessities for survival, such as a tent, tools and a water purifier. In view of the recent disaster in Haiti we agreed a further donation to help replenish their stocks, which are distributed around the world to be ready at short notice. We know that Shelterbox will already be in Haiti with Shelterboxes, perhaps including ones we have ourselves funded with previous donations.
This Rotary year 2021/22, we are planning to run Youthspeaks, a public speaking competitions for young people run in association with local schools. We are pleased to say that with their support and especially that of Shaftesbury School, plans are well advanced. One of our members has been involved with this in the past and having a background in education has relevant expertise.
Shaftesbury & District Dementia Friendly Community Letter
On behalf of the Steering Group of the Shaftesbury & District Dementia Friendly Community, I would like to acknowledge receipt of the sum of £250, and to thank
you sincerely for it.
We have been formally constituted since November 2019 (and informally running for over a year before that), but up to now we have concentrated on co-ordinating the efforts of other groups and individuals, and providing Dementia Awareness sessions for interested parties (“Dementia Friends”).
To mount a series of singing events ourselves is a new initiative, with which your funding has helped greatly. Our opening session of “Melodies Remembered” will be on 19th August, and we will keep you informed of progress.
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