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‘Flying Visit’ from Little Birds

Our Club President’s Charity for this year is Little Birds Pre-School and Jodie and Jude from the charity came to speak to us this week.

Little Birds is based at St Mark’s School in Swanage and looks after up to 21 children aged 2 to 5 years old at each session. They look after a variety of children from different backgrounds, including those from families in poverty and on low income as well as children who are classed as vulnerable and with special needs.

The children receive 15 hours of schooling a week and this is partly funded by Government, but at age 3 the funding drops dramatically despite the fact that the children still need the same levels of funding and support.

The school provides everything that you would imagine children of that age should be entitled to, including proper meals, clean clothes and activities. The school also builds relationships with the families of the children that they are seeing.

The school has received an ‘Outstanding’ rating in its latest OFSTED visit which is a remarkable achievement.

Jodie and Jude are clearly passionate about their work and their dedication to the children that they are working with came across very clearly. The funding that they receive from Government and the County Council / Local Authority is no where near sufficient on its own to enable them to continue to provide the service that they do, so other fundraising is very important.

There were a lot of questions from the floor to what has been a very thought provoking presentation. On behalf of the club, Rotarian Deirdre Selwyn thanked Jodie and Jude for coming to see us and explaining how the pre-school works.

More information can be found on the charity’s website, via the link above.

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We were delighted to welcome Ross Martin from National Coastwatch Institution to this week’s meeting, who works at the the Peveril Point watch station.

National Coastwatch, whose strapline is “Eyes Along The Coast” are responsible for watching over our coastline, looking out for those in or on the water should they get into any trouble and trying to preserve life.

It started in 1994 at Bass Point on the Lizard in Cornwall. The lack of any coastguard in the area, resulting in a tragedy where two people died, highlighted the need for the service. There are now more than 50 around the British coastline, in both England and Wales although not in Scotland yet, and the number is increasing.

The service is there to prioritise vulnerable people, and Ross highlighted the dangers of the wide variety of inflatables that people bring to the sea which cause the service to spring into action. Jet Skis, Kite Surfers and sailboards also result in many call outs.

Ross showed us pictures of the various buildings that are used for the service, mainly former coastguard stations, and some of the items that they have found washed up on the beaches around the country. The service is so important these days because of the lack of other services that used to exist actually on the coast such as lighthouses and coastguards. The service is recognised formally as part of the search and rescue service. Emergency response is undertaken by all parts of the search and rescue services.

They provide training to their volunteer watchkeepers in areas such as spotting, plotting and reporting as well as watching experienced watchkeepers at work. Incidents are usually reporting via the 999 service but they do now have their own radio channel, channel 65, which has hugely helped and the service is trying to get the word out to all users of the coasts that this is available.

NCI costs thousands of pounds to keep going but is not funded and relies entirely on public donations to keep itself going. They fundraise at many events around the area. More details about their activities and how people can help are available on their website. The service has been granted royal patronage by Princess Anne and has won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services.

On behalf of the club, Rotarian John Thraves thanked Ross for a most informative and enlightening presentation.

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Fête a hit as it dodges the showers

The Annual Summer Fête took place on 9th August and despite an uncertain weather forecast, the showers held off to allow thousands of locals and visitors alike to enjoy everything that was on offer.

From staple activities such as the Trolley Ride and Hoop-la to new events including the Dog Show and Children’s Races, the day was filled  with things to do. There were plenty of craft stalls in the main tent for people to browse round, the bottle stall was very popular as was the
bric-a-brac stall, which had plenty of visitors all day. Wareham Lions giant skittles game attracted plenty of punters and Inner Wheel had plenty to interest visitors on their stall too.

Those interested in a rest and a bite to eat were well catered for, with the tea tent doing brisk business and the barbecue providing a variety of burgers, bacon and sausage rolls. And there was plenty of seating in the garden area for people to sit, eat and enjoy entertainment from Karen-G and our resident magician/stilt walker amongst others throughout the day.

The Grand Charity Draw had been well supported prior to Fête day as well as on the day, and the actual draw was made just after 4pm, with a first prize of £200 and 20 other prizes being handed out.

Swanage & Purbeck Rotary would like to thank everyone who supported the event through enjoying the activities on the day and by purchasing Draw tickets. And we are indebted to all those who helped to make the day such a success, including Rotarians, their partners, families and friends, who put many hours in both before and afterwards.

Lastly, but by no means least, we would like to thank our Business Partners for their ongoing support to the club.

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Meet the Governor!

We were delighted to welcome newly elected District Governor Allan Smith to our meeting this week. Allan lives in Jersey so he has a lot of travel to do to meet the majority of clubs in the District.

The DG highlighted the Rotary International theme for this year “Be the Inspiration” and how it can be adapted at a District and local level. His own target is to encourage clubs to increase community service  in their area and internationally and for all clubs to try and achieve two additional projects in the year.

Allan highlighted the importance of media, and how, if they will not help   we can make our own publicity in using local contacts as well as social media.  He also went into detail regarding the youth competitions that Rotary run and our club actively promotes and runs.

Above all, he urged all members to enjoy Rotary and Be Inspired.

On behalf of the club, Rotarian Steve Parsons proposed a vote of thanks to the DG for coming over to see us.

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Passing the Baton

At the end of a highly successful year it was time for President Ro Clark to hand over the Presidency of Swanage & Purbeck Rotary to New President Linda Winter.

On a glorious summer’s evening in the gardens of Dave & Mary Pike, over 60 Rotarians, Partners, friends and colleagues gathered to enjoy a splendid buffet prepared by our excellent caterers Bliss Food Co and witness the changing of the guard.

President Ro reflected on the many highlights of her year and the very positive increase in members that will help the club to continue to run and support the many events that it is involved in, before handing over the Presidential jewel. President Linda looked forward to maintaining the momentum of the past year and continuing to increase our profile and achievements.

She also passed the President Elect jewel over to Steve Parsons and welcomed Deirdre Selwyn as the new President Nominee

Earlier in the evening, there was still time to welcome two more new members of the club as Susan Treadwell and Mike Bonfield were inducted as full members, bringing the overall club membership up to 42.

There was also a special recognition award for Dave Whitton for his tireless efforts in supporting the events and activities of the club over many years.

Now it’s back to work as the Summer Fête is looming large on the horizon and preparations are well underway. Let’s hope the wonderful weather that we are enjoying continues!

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Fundraising Success!

Club members gathered with organisations who have been supported by Swanage Rotary, and organisations that have supported the club’s activities, on 13th June to commemorate another successful year of fundraising, with almost £21,000 raised up to the end of April 2018.

Over 65 people, including Swanage Town Mayor Mike Bonfield, crammed in to Swanage Conservative Club to enjoy a sumptuous buffet laid on by Rotarians Sue Whitton and David Pike.

This was followed by an on-screen presentation highlighting the events and activities of the year, including the Summer Fête, Santa Sleigh, Christmas Market, Young Musician and Young Chef competitions, Swanage Walks and the Purbeck Pirate Festival amongst many others. Even the ‘Beast from the East’ got a mention!

While a significant amount of our fundraising has already been distributed, we were able to present a number of cheques on the night amounting to over £4,000 to Swanage Foodbank, Barry Audley on behalf of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, Swanage & Purbeck Development Trust aka The Centre and Admiral Nurses.


We were also proud to be able to award a Paul Harris Fellowship to Kim Gallagher for her sterling efforts over many years to The Centre in particular and the youth of Swanage in general.

During the evening, Rotarian Hubert Pierce was presented with a certificate marking 50 years as a Rotarian.

The night concluded with a networking opportunity for those present to find out more about the various activities that Rotary is involved in, amongst which are Foundation, Community and International.

All agreed it was a most successful evening and a good showcase for Rotary’s contribution to the community

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Down on the Farm!

The club’s final meeting of May was an outing to Cedar Organic at Rempstone Farm in Corfe Castle. Rotarian Mo Andrews reports.

The farm is run by a couple of passionate organic farmers who have chosen to become organic as they believe it to be the only way of assuring environmental considerations and sustainability.

The visit was very successful, with clubs members hearing all about the background and principles of the farm and seeing many of the animals.

The visit included a trip round the farm in its purpose-built tour carriage. As you can see from the photograph, this was hugely enjoyed by everyone present and really helped to show the efforts that the farm have gone to in order to achieve their aims.


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Pirate Invasion a Roaring Success

The much anticipated arrival of swarms of Pirates over the Bank Holiday weekend, coupled with magnificent weather that was not forecast, made the Third Purbeck Pirate Festival a huge success.

Basking in almost wall-to-wall sunshine, events on Sandpit Field, as well as the Pirate Parades through the town and the skirmishes on Monkey Beach, kept thousands of visitors entertained throughout the weekend.

Rotary ran their hoop-la and darts stall in the main arena, raising several hundred pounds for good causes, and were also involved in marshalling the parades on the Saturday and Sunday.

A huge effort by the members of the Rotary Club eGroup ensured that the weekend ran
perfectly and grateful thanks are also due to Rotarian Deirdre Selwyn who co-ordinated the organisers brilliantly and the ever-present Rotarian David Pike.

Roll on next year’s event me hearties!

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Birds of Poole Harbour

Rotarian Jenny Hynan introduced our speaker this week, Paul Morton, who came to talk to us about his environmental education charity.

His interest in wildlife started with amphibians (all six native species can be found in Dorset). But he soon got bored with looking at just six species so he moved on to birds.

After a few years, he decided to give his interest up and became a sail rigger, travelling all round the world, but the interest in birds never went away and in 2005 he came back to his first love. He applied for a job at Arne as Education Warden and was successful in getting it.

He soon realised that there was no dedicated group looking at the bird life in the Poole Harbour area, while there were other groups in Portland and Christchurch, so after several attempts to get other people involved, and with the help of Mark Constantine (the founder of Lush) in 2012 the ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ website was born.

Initially, the site was intended to merely showcase the wildlife in the area, but has become so much more thanks to the installation of a webcam and pictures taken from the footage, which now appear on the site. Many examples of the commonly found bird life can be seen as well as some rarities such as egrets and other birds from as far away as North America.

Paul’s enthusiasm was infectious and his talk kept the audience captivated as he explained how the charity has grown and developed over recent years, and continues to do so. The charity has fully engaged with the RSPB and The National Trust, who are referenced on the website.

Fundraising helps to provide access and opportunities for more and more people to enjoy the wildlife that’s on our doorstep, with more areas being opened up all the time.

The most recent development for the charity has been the opening of an engagement centre on Poole Quay, which allows many hundred more people to find out about everything that is going on around the Harbour.

Further details of the work of the charity and some of the important sightings can be found on the charity’s website.

On behalf of the club, Rotarian Chris Lefevre thanked Paul for giving us a very interesting talk this evening.

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Walking for Dementia Awareness

Rotarian Maggie Hardy, Community Committee Chair and event lead, reports on a wonderfully fulfilling day in the sun!

SWANAGE WALKS, held on May 5th 2018, was organised and run by the Community Committee of Swanage and Purbeck Rotary Club in support of Dementia Friendly.

From an original idea of Rotarian Hubert Pierce, the Rotary Community Committee organised a walk for all at the King George’s Playing Fields in Swanage.

Supported by the Swanage Area Dementia Friendly Community team, Swanage Town Council and Swanage Carnival Committee, a sub group was formed to facilitate the event for Dementia Friendly, the charity of this year’s Town Mayor Mike Bonfield and our own Rotary Club President Ro Clark.

The event attracted generous support from the Swanage Town Band, Kevin Burke (Children’s Entertainer), pupils from the Swanage School, who designed and painted a Dementia Friendly design on the graffiti wall at the field, and ‘Scooby Crew’ who provided a bouncy castle.

A Treasure hunt, organised and led by Rotarian Dai Hounsell, provided an excellent focus to the Walk around the half mile radius of the field which highlighted the lovely views across the Purbeck hills and the steam trains of the Swanage Railway.

The excellent weather of the day encouraged more people to the beach than to the walk so the hoped for donations to Dementia Friendly were not great BUT the increased profile to wide areas of the community and the coordinated working of several organisations made it a memorable and happy occasion which could be repeated in future years. We were delighted that our newly appointed Admiral Nurse Rachel was also able to pop in and show her support.

The “icing on the cake” for me was the invitation to attend an Assembly at the Swanage School which focussed on Dementia and the effects on individuals. The event also celebrated the Dementia design painted on the graffiti wall by two school pupils and which received so much interest from school members.

A whole school is now aware of dementia – a priceless benefit of community groups working together!

Rotary was privileged to lead this event and thanks everyone involved in raising awareness of Dementia.

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