Contact us at

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.

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Raising Disability Awareness

For our first speaker meeting in May we were delighted to welcome Hannah Fielding, who is a volunteer with Diverse Abilities.

The charity was founded in 1955. It started operating in the local area when a volunteer from Brighton came to Bournemouth and realised that there were no facilities available for people with learning and physical disabilities. Hannah herself has been volunteering for around 7 years and brought along her helping dog Hudson.

It is Dorset’s disability charity and has expanded in our area to support a number of areas of disability. One of their outlets, Langside School, caters for young people with complex learning and physical disabilities. They care for individual needs and provide a wide variety of opportunities for the children in their care.

Lily’s Place is the charity’s respite centre and has to date raised £370,000 to modernise the building and make it suitable for the charity’s needs, amongst which are sensory tents and themed rooms targeting more specific conditions.

Coping with Chaos is the play opportunity, allowing both children with special needs and those with other disabilities to play together in a safe environment.

The charity also supports adults, many of whom have been brought up from children through the organisation’s work, and who continue to benefit from the services that the charity is able to provide and will continue to provide in the future.

The charity needs to raise thousands of pounds a day to continue to provide all its services and 83p from every £1 goes straight to the charity’s services.

Hannah is an inspirational speaker who has not allowed her own disability to prevent her from getting involved in helping others and telling people about it. She directly involves herself in the fundraising for the charity and has even undertaken a skydive which raised over £5,000.

On behalf of the club, Rotarian Maggie Hardy gave a vote of thanks for an excellent talk. More information about the charity is available from their website.

Tagged with: , , ,

First Impressions Matter!

Swanage Rotary has been able to attract a significant number of new members to the club in the current Rotary year, so we thought we’d ask one of them, Chris LeFevre, what attracted him to the club.

“I joined Rotary in 2008 as a member of the Abingdon Vesper Club in Oxfordshire. One of the great advantages of being a Rotarian is being able to visit Rotary clubs around the world. Wherever you happen to be you can go along to the meeting of the local club and you find an instant network of new friends and contacts. It is also an excellent way of getting to know a particular town or area. I took advantage of this opportunity when visiting Swanage and when we decided to move to Purbeck I had no hesitation in requesting a transfer of my membership to the Rotary Club of Swanage and Purbeck. The process is very straightforward and I was made most welcome from the very start.

My former Club prided itself on punching above its weight with a number of major projects. Swanage and Purbeck seems even more active with an incredible number of events running through the year making Rotary a real part of everyday life in Swanage. I have also been impressed by the innovative Business Partners programme run by the Club and the strong commitment to the welfare of all members. I’m looking forward to getting actively involved and, I hope, making a positive contribution to this awesome Club!”

It’s great to hear that we seem to be doing the right things in attracting membership to Swanage Rotary and we look forward to Chris and our other new members playing an active part in the activities and events that the club runs.

Thanks Chris!

Tagged with: ,

Understanding Dementia

We were delighted to welcome Rachel Murray to our meeting on 28th March, who is the Purbeck Admiral Nurse dedicated to our area of the country.

Rachel works specifically in Dorset and explained where the understanding of dementia is today. Around 36 million people have Dementia around the world, of which at least 850,000 are in the UK, and this figure is set to increase in the coming years.

The condition was called the quiet disease by former Prime Minister David Cameron and it’s easy to understand why when statistics show that family members save the nation £17.4 billion by providing care at home, out of sight and often therefore out of mind.

Rachel explained some of the early signs to look out for, such as problems with word finding, lack of concentration and withdrawal. There are over 200 subtypes of dementia and affects a wide cross section of the community including outwardly otherwise healthy individuals such as professional footballers.

Admiral Nurses were started in memory of a gentleman known as Admiral Joe, who loved sailing but sadly contracted vascular dementia. Rachel expanded on the care that was available and where Admiral Nurses fit in to the overall picture, known as the ABC Tiered Model. The service provides partnership working, specialist assessment support for carers and supportive education. It is very much a family and relationship centered approach.

On behalf of the club, Rotarian Mo Andrews thanked Rachel for a most inspiring and uplifting talk. More information is available on the Dementia UK website.

See also guide to alcoholism and dementia by Ollie Clark. This blog article also includes the infographic below detailing the long-term effects of alcohol on the brain.

(Attribution to

Benefits of Mindfulness for Recovery

Tagged with: ,

Spring has Sprung for Polio Awareness

While most people have been huddling up at home during the cold and dark winter months, hardy Swanage Rotarians have been busy trying to add a splash of colour around the area.

Hundreds of crocus corms have been planted, and despite the unwelcome visit of the ‘Beast from the East’ (twice!), they are now in bloom and adding a riot of purple to many areas of the town.

It’s all part of the ‘Purple for Polio’ campaign, an International Rotary project aimed at raising both awareness and much needed funds to help eradicate this terrible disease from the world. We are so close now, only two countries still have the disease uncontrolled, and a final push is required to complete the job.


More details of the campaign can be found here.

Tagged with: ,

Swanage Rotarians Carry On Regardless!

The weather may have taken a nasty turn for the worse, but nothing stops Swanage Rotarians from carrying on with their planned activities and there’s been quite a lot going on over the past week or so.

At our meeting on 21st February we were delighted to welcome PCSO Iain Leslie and his wife Kerrie to our meeting. Iain has been recognised for his superb work in the local community by being awarded a Rotary Dorset Police Award and the picture shows President Ro and Community & Vocational Committee Chairman Maggie presenting Iain with his certificate. Iain spoke passionately about how much he feels welcomed in the local community and how much he enjoys working and living in the area.

Last Saturday (25th) saw the Silver Sunday Saturday event, postponed from October 2017, take place at Emmanuel Baptist Church with 80 friends. At the same time, Swanage and Purbeck Rotary took the opportunity to celebrate Rotary’s 113th birthday which was reached earlier last week.

Afternoon tea with delicious cakes and sandwiches were greatly enjoyed as was the music kindly provided by Jacqui, Angus and Amanda. The celebration birthday cake was made by Wendy Quayle and was cut by President Elect Linda Winter and Rotarian Hubert Pierce. The event was provided free of charge but guests did make generous donations for Dementia Friendly /Admiral Nurses and £ 130.75 will be added to their funds.

Organisers Rotarians Maggie Hardy and Mo Andrews would like to thank all those who contributed to the very successful afternoon in any way. See our Facebook page for more photos.

Then, at our meeting this week, and despite the sub-zero temperatures and howling gale, we decamped from our usual venue to meet at The Knoll House Hotel in Studland. This was actually the meeting venue for the very first meeting of Swanage Rotary back in 1959. Aside from it being a Fellowship event, to which more than 30 people attended, we were delighted to welcome another two new members to the club – Tracy Tennant (the new General Manager of the Knoll House), and Chris LeFevre, who has recently moved to Purbeck and has transferred to us from Abingdon Vesper RC.
Tracy and Chris were formally inducted and welcomed to the club and both were invited to say a few words. With the formalities over, everyone present enjoyed a sumptuous two course meal from the Knoll House kitchen, followed by coffee and tea.

Grateful thanks goes to the management and staff of the Knoll House for hosting us so well and we look forward to Tracy and Chris integrating fully into the club and its activities.

Tagged with: , , , , ,

Young Musicians Steal The Show

Last weekend (18th February) saw the running of the District Young Musician Competition, held this year at Talbot Heath School.

Those present, including the Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset, were treated to an exceptional array of talent from both instrumental and vocal performers.

It’s hard to believe how young the performers are when the quality of performance is so high, and huge credit goes to them all for providing those present with such an excellent day.

Swanage and Purbeck Rotary were delighted to receive a letter of thanks from the Deputy Lieutenant for the way that they organised the event (huge thanks to Rotarian Linda Winter for taking it on) and we had another reason to be pleased as the winning performer, Sally, was the winner of our own club event held just a few weeks ago.

More from the event can be found on our Facebook page here.

Tagged with: ,

Still Branching Out!

Back in December we told you about the initiative from the Woodland Trust to plant more trees around the country, and in our area four of our membership braved the cold conditions to start that process locally.

Not satisfied with that, however, they were out again recently for a second tree planting session! It was a morning of sunshine and laughs and the occasional stone/ rock (!), which are merely an occupational hazard.

It is hoped that in years to come future generations will be able to enjoy the fruits of this labour.

Tagged with:

Living Well?

The speaker at our most recent club meeting was Tracey Hudson from LiveWell Dorset.

Tracey explained the background to the setting up of the organisation, being to help people in Dorset live healthier lives. It was established by Public Health England and has operated in Dorset for three years. It focuses on key pathways – stopping smoking; alcohol reduction; weight management and becoming more active. For each of these pathways, Tracey explained the measures that are being taken and the help that is available to the public. The majority of referrals to date have been regarding weight loss.

Much of the service points people to help that is free or funded, depending on the extent of help that is required. Other areas of help may require some investment but the help that is provided carries regular ongoing support and follow-up over a period of up to a year in order to ensure that people have the best opportunity to make long-term changes for the better.

Tracey took questions from the floor, including those around how outcomes from the programme can be measured and how large food corporations can be persuaded to stock more lower fat and lower sugar products.

More information is available on their website.

On behalf of the club Dai Hounsell thanked Tracey for a most thought-provoking talk.

Tagged with:

Local D & E Group Going from Strength to Strength

Rotarian Jenny Hynan reports on a local success story that’s helping to develop the skills of young people.

I visited the D of E meeting last Tuesday and presented a cheque for £500 to Dave Pratten and Pete Meteau the leaders.

Usually they meet twice per month at the Swanage Youth Hostel but at the moment, due to refurbishment there, they are meeting at The Centre.

The theme of these evenings is to prepare the youngsters for the expedition part of the D of E Award by giving training in survival, food nutrition and cooking for the gruelling conditions that they will need to encounter for their expeditions, which are part of the D of E Award. Guidance is also given to the youngsters on the other parts of the award, such as life skills, community service etc.

Swanage Rotary has been sponsoring the D of E Group in Swanage since their formation three years ago and had previously sponsored the D of E at Carey in Wareham, where Swanage youngsters would attend together with youngsters from the Wareham Area.

The D of E in Swanage has grown and grown with a full list of 40 youngsters on their books undertaking Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. Last Tuesday there were 33 youngsters attending with at least 6 leaders and helpers.

Tagged with: , ,