Sunday, July 25, 2021 - 11:01

Reepham & District Rotary Club, working with others in the community, is to launch a café in Reepham for those living with memory loss and their carers.

This will be held at St Michael’s Reepham from 10 am to 12 noon on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, starting on 23 September.

Those who would like to help in any way are invited to a Rotary club review of plans on Monday 9 August at St Michael’s beginning at 7 pm. There will be a buffet and drinks hosted by the club.

Rotarian Peter Williams has been leading the team that has been planning the project for nearly a year.

“We have identified a need and taken a lot of advice as to the best way to meet that need,” he said. “We understand that a change of scenery can be stimulating for those with memory difficulties and a help to those who care for them.”

The Sunshine Café will offer a warm, welcoming and friendly atmosphere with music, games and entertainment, as well as tea, coffee and cake.

“We know that uptake will be slow as we are appealing to a group of people who may find new things difficult,” said Mr Williams.

“However, we are building a team with the patience, experience and love needed to make a difference.”

There will be no membership, regular fees or any obligation to visit; anyone with a need can turn up on the day and be assured of a warm welcome.

There will also be a “taster” session on Thursday 9 September for people to try out the idea and see if it suits them.

Since the project was first suggested, there have been many expressions of interest from the community, from people who see a need to those who would like to come and help in some way.

The meeting on 9 August is for them. For safety reasons in the current climate, we need to know the numbers of people attending.

If you would like to come along, please contact: Peter Williams 01362 686860 or Trevor Nelson 01603 860253

Friday, July 2, 2021 - 09:02

If you can remember Ronnie Barker’s regularly used line, people might consider you old enough to think about being a Rotarian.

In fact, many more younger people are considering joining Rotary for the fun of getting together and the satisfaction of teamwork on projects that benefit the community.

With a new president as John Pickering takes over from Tony Williams, Reepham and District Rotary Club is planning to emerge from lockdown with a packed programme of activities.

At last, we should be able to meet again for our weekly meal, to listen to an interesting speaker, debate a current hot topic or just hear from each other on how the world is going.

Over lockdown, we developed the Reepham Rotary Recovery Initiative to channel funds from members, friends and the community to projects needing support in the area; thanks to many, more than £2,800 was raised. Organisations supported are listed on our website.

Two key projects that have been on hold should be able to take place in the autumn.

The Reepham Food Festival returns on Sunday 22 August after several postponements. It will be on a narrower scale this year to ensure none of the participants risk losing money if restrictions on movement remain.

With around 30 supplier stalls, food demonstrations, a picnic area and participation from local organisations this will be a fun day from 10 am – 4 pm. More details on the festival website.

Sunshine Café

Our new project for those with memory loss and their carers has been on hold for more than a year. It is now launching on Thursday 23 September, initially with twice-monthly meetings at St Michael’s, Reepham.

This promises a warm, welcoming and friendly atmosphere with music, games and entertainment with refreshments. A drop-in morning at St Michael’s is planned for Thursday 9 September for those who might be interested. More volunteers would be welcome.

Plans are also being made for a business mentoring programming using the knowledge and experience of members to help fledgling businesses access finance and support.

We should now also be able to continue with established projects with our schools, in public speaking, interview training, reading and cookery – even building a Japanese garden.

International projects include schooling for street children in Tanzania, polio eradication and Aquabox water filters and emergency supplies for disaster areas.


Then there will be a unique opportunity to hear words of wisdom and help raise funds.

The Ven Arthur Hawes will embark on a marathon preaching session on Saturday 25 September in St Mary’s, Reepham. His sermons can be heard from 9 am – 7 pm in the first sponsored Preachathon.

Arthur (and some of his audience) will be sponsored by the hour. Our JustGiving page will be available soon.

Richard Cooke

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 11:53

Reepham & District Rotary Club has launched a page on the Broadland Community at Heart Lottery to raise additional funds for use in the local community.

The lottery offers a top prize of £25,000 every week with the first draw on 27 February.

To buy a ticket go to the lottery website and search for the Reepham Rotary page or click HERE

Rotary club treasurer Jim Fraser said: “Provided we can sell at least 50 tickets, 50% of all ticket sales through our page will be returned to us for use in and around Reepham.

“We are already halfway to our target and would welcome more help from our friends and neighbours.”

At a time of increasing local need this represents a fun way to contribute to the community, he added.

The lockdown has made fundraising difficult, but the club continues to support school, church and scouting activities, as well as organisations such as the Bircham Centre. A dementia café is also planned as soon as things are more relaxed.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the club has not been able to hold meetings or fundraising events.

However, the Reepham Rotary Recovery Initiative has raised more than £2,800 for distribution to local causes, and more projects are planned when meetings can be more sociable.

Monday, February 1, 2021 - 20:02

Oonagh Walsh (pictured) has been presented with a Rotary Community Service Award to acknowledge her work as chairperson of the Reepham Good Neighbour Scheme.

Presenting the award at an online meeting of the Reepham & District Rotary Club on 18 January, club president Tony Williams said: “To describe Oonagh’s role simply as chairperson is not adequate to explain the level of involvement, inventiveness, support and motivation she has provided, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“She took on the lead role in setting up a large team of low-vulnerability volunteers to help local people during lockdown, with befriending and deliveries of food and prescriptions.

“Of particular note, she was always ready to step in herself when volunteers could not be scheduled.”

Set up seven years ago, the RGNS was at the forefront in helping the community when the Covid crisis struck and has continued to provide vital services as needs have evolved.

A dedicated phone line was set up, 60 volunteers recruited and teams set up to support many of the most vulnerable in and around Reepham.

“Many other individuals have given unstinting support to the scheme and the club wishes to acknowledge them all,” said Mr Williams.

“But it is to their leader, Oonagh, in recognition of this, that this award is made as thanks for gathering, steering and motivating the team to achieve their aims to such benefit to so many.”

Photo: RHSC

Saturday, December 19, 2020 - 16:43

Reepham & District Rotary Club has sent a further £1,800 to Aquabox, which supplies water filtration equipment to communities devastated by flood, earthquake, war or other disasters.

This Rotary-led charity provides the most urgent need of safe, clean water: diseases from contaminated water can cause more deaths than the original cause of the disaster.

The boxes are water tanks that contain either family filters to care for a single family or community filters.

Above: Clean water for families in The Gambia. Below: Demonstrating filters in Syria.

This latest donation from Reepham will pay for seven community filters, which will provide six litres of clean water a minute for up to 2,800 people.

Recent deliveries have been made to communities as far apart as Haiti, the Philippines, Nepal and Syria.

Reepham Rotary has sent more than 450 Aquaboxes in the 20 years that it has been supporting the charity.

Aquabox works with Rotary clubs on the ground and partner charities that can ensure the boxes are delivered swiftly to where they are needed.

The charity has just one part-time employee and some 70 volunteers, ensuring all funds are used to build and ship treatment equipment; stockpiles are kept to ensure rapid response to emerging disasters.

Being able to treat water on the spot reduces the need for clean water to be sent in plastic bottles: the number of filters in use around the world has removed the need for 4,000 plastic bottles every minute.

Reepham Rotary donations are funded by our long-running 100 Club, which is supported by our members and non-members in the community: monthly prizes and an annual roll-over add excitement to regular giving.

The 100 Club is run by Paul Smith (01603 870381 or email), who will welcome enquiries. More information HERE.

Richard Cooke

Friday, November 6, 2020 - 09:25

The Reepham Rotary Recovery Initiative is designed to support local organisations that have been stretched by the current coronavirus pandemic as they get back to work following the recent restrictions on activities.

The total donated to date has topped £2,500 and the first grants have been agreed.

As well as substantial members’ contributions, the Reepham & District Rotary Club has welcomed donations from a wide range of residents and businesses. It is hoped that many more businesses and individuals will contribute as word spreads.

The fund has agreed to pay £500 towards materials to refurbish a mobile classroom for use by the school chaplain to provide much needed counselling for high school students.

It will also pay £450 towards the cost of new storage facilities for use by organisations at the Bircham Centre.

According to Reepham Rotary’s Roy Sherlock: We have heard from other organisations and we are considering two other grants already.

“There can be no doubt that there is a big need in our community and it will only grow as restrictions continue.”

More money needed

The initial target for the fund was £2,500. However, it is clear that there is a bigger need.

While many people have financial worries, others may find they have spare cash through less travel and shopping. The Rotary Club hopes to divert that money to where it is needed.

The club is considering other projects to support the fund, although some lateral thinking is required to come up with ideas that can be put into practice during the current restrictions and welcomes co-operation with other groups that share its aims.

Donations can be made at Just Giving, over the counter at Reepham Post Office or by contacting Roy Sherlock on 07795 804452 or by email.

More details can be found on the clubs website. The Reepham Rotary Recovery Initiative is supported by Reepham Life.

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