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.
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.
When 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This was our first time attending Willenhall Carnival, so we didn’t know quite what to expect. We arrived and pitched up our stall amongst lots of others; there were a wide selection of other stalls, charities, and other traders. A little way from us was the fun fair, just past the main arena area. Going the other way there was a stage for ‘Willenhall’s Got Talent’ where various bands and singers performed throughout the day.
Entry to the park and carnival was £1 for adults, and what great value that was for the range of entertainment on offer. The carnival ran from 11 to 5 with things going on for the full duration of that time, and there was a steady flow of visitors throughout the day. As well as the main arena there were some other free entertainments, including an hourly puppet show, and a photo booth, both of which were excellent.
Our second hand bookstall took just over £60 on the day, and we met and chatted with lots of people and other stallholders. Willenhall Rotary were present, as you might expect, and had largely emptied their tombola stall by the end of the day.
The weather was fairly good, with a couple of fairly light showers amongst lots of dry weather and some sunshine. The rain only really came down as we were putting things away – but too late to spoil the day for those attending.
A great day out, and it was good to see and compare this event with other carnivals we attend in Pelsall and Bloxwich. A big thank you and well done to everyone involved in the event, and to those who came along and helped us on the day.
A group of us visited what is now Britain’s second most popular theme park (after Alton Towers), Legoland, on 7 June. The park opened in 1996 on the former Windsor Safari Park site as the second Legoland after Legoland Billund in Denmark. In common with the other Legolands across the world, the park’s attractions consist of a mixture of Lego-themed rides, models, and building workshops.
We arrived as the park opened, when it was raining, and caught the train to the bottom end of the park. Although we didn’t realise on the way in, there are excellent views of Windsor Castle available from the main entrance area – this was much clearer on our way back when the weather was better. After about an hour at the park, the sun showed itself, and the rest of the day was warm and dry.
For the children the rides were excellent, with a fair number which the adults could enjoy too. We went on quite a few rides, before taking some time to look around the model area, where there were excellent Lego representations of famous buildings around the world, including the Gherkin, Buckingham Palace, the Eiffel Tower, and Cape Canaveral. Some of these were absolutely brilliant.
Later in the day, we visited a similar Star Wars area, with Lego scenes from the films. For me personally that didn’t mean much, but there were several members and children to whom it all looked pretty realistic, and I trust their judgement. All in all an excellent day out, but do look for vouchers for entry rather than paying the full price!
Each month our members make a small donation to a project we select from the many available on Global Giving. With the FIFA World Cup coming this month, we decided to look for projects which were related to football, and our members selected this one, which is helping children in Nepal.
This project ‘Life Skills Through Sport for 2,000 Nepali Children’ aims to develop the leadership, teamwork and awareness of social issues of 2,339 children at six schools in central Nepal through football workshops. These sessions will address topics such as child rights; HIV/AIDS; conflict resolution; gender equality; child trafficking; and abuse, engaging children and encouraging participation through the innovative use of sport and games.
The charity behind the project, Childreach International, says:
“Only around 3 out of 10 children in Nepal complete primary education and continue to secondary school. As a result children are failing to achieve even the most basic qualifications, severely limiting their future prospects. Sport is an extremely effective tool for the delivery of health and social education, but schools in rural Nepal currently lack the equipment and training to make the most of this.”
“We will train teachers in using football to address social issues; provide football training to children; establish girls’, boys’ and mixed teams at each school and organise matches and an annual tournament between schools. We will provide equipment and kit including footballs, cones and markers, football kit and boots and first aid kits. Classes on the importance of sport in children’s overall development, FIFA rules of the game and Nepali football will be held for pupils, teachers and parents.”
“This project will develop 2,339 children’s life skills, team work and sportsmanship, addressing relevant social issues at the same time as improving the children’s health and well-being. As a result, children will be encouraged to stay in school, leading to improved academic performance and future prospects and, in the long term, enabling them to rise out of poverty.”
Our donation of £25 is enough to fund an entire day’s football training. If you’d like to add to the total, you can donate directly here:
All you have to do to enter is select two teams from each column on the entry form, marking your first choice with a ’1′ and your second with a ’2′. Then send it to us, with the entry fee of just £1, and we’ll do the rest.
Each time your selections play, they will gain or lose points according to the goals they score or concede, and at the end of the competition the winning entry takes 50% of the total we take on the competition. Should there be more than one winner the prize fund will be shared.
You can enter as many times as you like, with each entry costing £1, and feel free to share it with your friends, family and colleagues. The entry form is available here.
We must receive the entry forms on or before 11 June – entry forms cannot be accepted after kick off for the first game on 12 June.
The other 50% of the monies taken will be passed onto our Rotary Foundation charity. This supports projects at home and abroad. Most recently, for example, we used funding from the Foundation charity to help put a couple of benches into the town centre, and this year we’re hoping to use it to open a community garden in the town centre. You can read more about Rotary Foundation here.
You can see the latest positions as the competition progresses on our dedicated page.