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Educating Children in Rural Kenya

Each month we choose a project from Global Giving, an online directory of good causes, which we then support with small donations from members at a meeting during the month. For September, we have chosen to support a project which is providing education for 300 children in rural Kenya.

Hundreds of thousands of families in rural Western Kenya that have lost breadwinners to HIV/AIDS are stuck in systemic poverty cycles where children lack access to healthcare, education, food and shelter. Our chosen project fights poverty by empowering these children, through free, quality education, healthcare, and basic needs. The Tumaini Miles of Smiles Centre not only houses, feeds, and clothes the orphans, abandoned and the poor, but goes deeper to provide quality education to enable them to become whole people in their society. Currently they are educating 300 children.

Educating Children in Rural Kenya

You can read more about the project on their Global Giving page. Small amounts can make a big difference to these projects, for example just £7 will provide a school uniform for a child, while £13 will feed a child for a month. Monthly sponsorship schemes are also available. The £23 we donated (which included a £10 donation from our RYLA student, Felix) will pay for one student for a whole month.

If you’d like to add your financial support to this project you can do so via their Global Giving page, or by clicking here:

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Disability Sports Fun Day

Getting Ready! We’ve been regular supporters of this annual event for some years, but this year’s event was quite possibly the biggest and best yet. It certainly had a very high profile, with the organisers (including our esteemed honorary member Bev) managing to secure Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson as a visitor on the day. She spoke to everyone at the start of the event, and stayed around all day to present awards at the end too. The event even secured a small slot on the local BBC evening news!

For those who’ve not been, or read about the event in previous years, it’s a day of sporting based events for anyone with any kind of disability (and their friends and families) to come along and take part in a friendly and fun atmosphere.

We have a number of people whom we welcome back year after year, and everyone is sure of a good time. There are medals and awards, and these are at times hotly contested, but the emphasis is on fun and friendship.


The events are hosted by Rotarians from many clubs around the area, and include golf, bowling, badminton, table tennis, football, darts, croquet, and lots more, including a hook a duck competition. Our club hosts an obstacle course, and this year’s winner was very fast indeed!

For the last couple of years it has been held on the second Sunday in September, so if you’d like to come along and join in, either to take part, or to help us provide the games, let us know.

Curry Night in aid of Jaipur Limb

We had some great support for our curry night, held at the Sultan Cottage on September 12. Some great food and great company helped us on our way to an excellent night which raised £270 for Rotary Jaipur Limb.

Jaipur Limb Curry Night

Rotary’s Jaipur Limb project  was formed in 1985 and became a registered charity in 1995. The bulk of their work in India revolves around Limb camps, with as many as 3000 patients turning up for help, but in Africa and other countries outside India they establish new permanent centres and provide on-going support for them by way of technician training, materials and equipment. The Jaipur Limb itself is an artificial leg, developed at the Mahaveer hospital in Jaipur, India. The unique component is the Jaipur foot, a clever combination of wood and various densities of rubber vulcanised into a realistic looking brown foot.

The Jaipur limb is hard-wearing and will last for three or four years, longer if worn with a shoe. One of the major differences between the Jaipur technology and western technology is the cost – whereas a western limb will cost between £1,000.00 and £2,000.00, a Jaipur limb can be made and fitted for as little as £30.00, meaning our curry evening might well positively change the lives of up to nine amputees.

And all we had to do was turn up, pay for our meal, and enjoy ourselves – a win-win if ever there was one. Our thanks go the excellent Sultan Cottage restaurant and its staff who made us very welcome and gave us an excellent deal on the food which made the night possible.

Curry Night Open to All

Curry Night

We’re pleased to announce a curry night being held next Friday, 12th September. For just £15 you get poppadoms and salad, a choice of starter, and a choice of main course, with rice and naan bread. So a great meal for just £15 and the profits we make are going to the Rotary Jaipur Limb project.

The evening takes place at the Sultan Cottage, 123 Wolverhampton Road, Pelsall. WS3 4AD.

Places must be pre-booked – for details see here:

The evening is open to everyone – so please invite your family, friends, colleagues, neighbours…

Ebola Epedemic Relief Fund

Ebola has been fairly high profile news recently. The Ebola virus is highly contagious, has no known treatment or cure, and is fatal within days or weeks in most cases. Since early this year, an outbreak of the most lethal strain of the Ebola virus has spread through Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria. As of the end of July, the outbreak has resulted in more than 1,200 reported cases of the disease and almost 700 deaths, making it the most deadly Ebola epidemic in history.

At the start of each month our members donate small ‘fines’ to a selected project from Global Giving. This month Global Giving are coordinating a relief fund to work in the care, treatment, and reducing the spread of this deadly disease. This fund will ensure that aid organizations on the ground in West Africa have the resources they need to stop the outbreak. Funds will be used for medical supplies to care for those already infected, protective equipment to keep health workers safe, and educational campaigns to inform the public about Ebola and how it spreads.

Ebola Fund Support

Organizations that are deeply-rooted in local communities are often in the best position to provide long-term support for disaster victims. By funding the relief efforts of local organizations, donations to this fund have the potential to build stronger disaster-response capacity so that these organizations are better equipped to face future disasters.

We’re glad to be able to add our small donation of £24 to this cause. If you’d like to add your support you can do so via the project website, or directly by clicking on the Give Now button here:

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A Day Out In Ironbridge

The Bridge

We had managed to get hold of a special offer for our tickets to the ‘Ironbridge Museums’ which meant we each got unlimited access to each of the ten museums in the collective for a whole year for a paltry £13.75 each – an absolute bargain. Sadly that offer expired today, so it’s too late to tell you about it! And so, after a very pleasant breakfast in the town, we met the rest of our party on the bridge before the first of our four museum stops today at the ‘Museum of the Gorge’. In here we found out more about the history of the area, and of the river and gorge in particular. Of note to several of us was that Thomas Telford wasn’t involved in it at all – apparently a common misconception (which did make those who thought he had feel a little less silly). Also in that museum were some slightly scary pointers to the height of previous flood waters.

After that museum, we took a gentle walk back up towards the bridge, managing a short pub stop and an ice-cream on the way, before a quick visit to the Bridge tollhouse – worth doing as it’s not open as often as most of the attraction, being, as it is, staffed entirely by volunteers. From here we walked back to the main through road to catch the £1 (with the passport tickets) day ticket for the museums bus service. We travelled anti-clockwise, passing the Jackfield Tile Museum before alighting at the Tar Tunnel for our third attraction of the day.

The tunnel started life in the late 1700’s, but as it was being dug, the miners hit bitumen, which can still be seen today dribbling down the walls and in pools to the sides of the tunnel. The history and reality of the tunnel was equally fascinating, and the short walk on the available section with our hard hats on was one of the day’s highlights.

Walking in the Tar Tunnel

Another quick pub stop later, we had walked the short distance to our last museum of the day, the Coalport China Museum. This was perhaps a more traditional museum, but still full of interesting things to see, and the buildings are worth seeing in their own right too.

We ended our day after travelling back to Ironbridge with a night in Telford, for yet another excellent club weekend trip.


Poverty Relief in Greece

Kid & FamilyWhen we think of poverty relief we often think of impoverished nations in areas such as Africa or Asia, but of course poverty can and does occur everywhere.

We know here in the UK that we have seen a surge in Foodbank usage, and we have and do support these efforts.

But, not so far from home, and still within the European Union, did you know just how much the austerity measures enforced on Greece have impacted on otherwise normal families?

Today 63% of the Greek workforce is unemployed or poor. Despite the rhetoric, austerity measures and heavy taxation have had a devastating effect on daily life. 40% of small and medium sized businesses have shut down in the last 3 years.

Our Rotary year runs from July to June, and our new President, Troy Allen, was formally inducted on Sunday 6 July. At the dinner we held for this event, we invited those present to support a raffle to directly support one of the many charities working in Greece to alleviate the impact of poverty.

There are currently more than 1,000,000 jobless in Greece, with the highest concentration in the city of Athens (the capital). The prolonged, intense crisis has affected thousands of families with young children, now unable to feed and care for them due to parents being unemployed. Short-term State benefits have been severely cut and these people live on the verge of total despair and even suicide. Kid & Family is working hard to keep them alive and afloat, keep their kids in school, keep their dignity intact. This project aims to feed children and help them continue schooling. They help families to survive, providing food & personal essentials directly to 4,750 homes of identified newly jobless parents with young children. Goods include nutrition, detergents, personal hygiene items,schoolbooks, stationery,schoolbags, clothes,toys. Free psychological support sessions are given to both fragile parents & children, free health care and optometrist services, free hairdressing, and free private lessons for kids who need it.

You can read more about the cause on their Global Giving page, or watch the following BBC news article:

Our raffle was very well supported (thank you everyone), and with an additional donation made by our newest honorary members Sean and Julie Fitzpatrick, our total raised was £124 – enough to keep 8 schoolchildren at school and properly fed and equipped for a month.

If you’d like to support this cause, you can do so here:

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Pelsall Carnival 2014

We had our fingers crossed on Friday for good weather, as the forecast didn’t look too good. Very early on Saturday, it was raining slowly but steadily, and when, just before 7am, we pulled onto the car-boot field of the carnival it looked unpromising, with squishy water underfoot, and continuing rain. What a difference to last year, when at this time the field was almost full!

But, about an hour or two later the rain stopped, and it stayed dry for the remainder of the day, including for all of the main carnival events. The boot sale field did fill, but not to the levels of 2013, which was a shame. But, there were still plenty of people around, and everyone we saw seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Enjoying the Fairground

Our boot sale stand did reasonably well, with us making £93.50 for our Rotary Charities. Thanks to everyone who came along to support us and the carnival. We have uploaded some of our pictures from the day on our Facebook page, and you’re welcome to share them.

Curzon Street Station & Hidden Spaces

Birmingham’s Hidden Spaces is a project by Associated Architects, in association with the Birmingham Post, celebrating Birmingham’s rich and diverse architectural heritage, which is often locked away behind closed doors, inaccessible to the public or in some cases, abandoned and forgotten. The project was exhibited at Curzon Street Station from 21st – 29th June 2014, and we managed to make it along to see it on the final day.

Curzon Street Station

Inside the fantastic station building there was firstly a room containing plans entered as part of a competition for ways to use some of Birmingham’s listed buildings (where there was also a barrel of Sarah Hughe’s Ruby Mild, which would have gone down quite well). Some of the ideas were excellent, and some are being put into practice.

The main room was next, which had three images from each of a wide number of buildings in the borough which are currently closed to the public, some of which are currently being refurbished. It was all really interesting, and you can read much more about the exhibition on the exhibition website here.

The final room had a short rolling video presentation of the same places, and many of the same images, but bringing an extra dimension to the exhibition. It’s too late to go and see it now, but still worth looking online if you missed it. It was free too.

Of course, there was also a chance to see the superb railway building, the world’s oldest of it’s type, and the brilliant entrance hall, and the, apparently traditional, mummified cat! We took a few pictures while we were there, which you can see on our Facebook page.

Bloxwich Party in the Park

Party in the Park

The weather forecast for the Party in the Park wasn’t good, and it seemed to put a few people off attending. In the end they missed out because it stayed dry all day and the sun put in a few appearances during the afternoon.

There was loads to see and do, with demonstrations from the fire and police service, and lots of entertainments and stalls.

There was wartime entertainment (as the event linked up with the Forces Day) as well as more contemporary acts on the excellent Move Bus (although we’d have liked the sound van to have parked without blocking the view!). The organisers and marshals had put bunting all round the park, making for a colourful entrance, and there were lots of things to do without having to spend money, as well as a number of rides and attractions.

Our bookstall sold well over 100 second hand books and raised £37.60 on the day towards our charities. A big thank you to everyone who came out and supported the event. You can see a few of our photographs from the event on Facebook.

Our bookstall

Formula 1 2014

2013 F1 Competition

You can see our 2014 F1 competition's positions after the Singapore GP, here.

World Cup 2014

You can see our 2014 World Cup competition positions here.