- The overall outlook is very positive. All SCC services that are open are working well and other services are starting to move towards recovery with phased openings taking place, including the registration service, using Perspex screens where necessary, and libraries (Ilminster is not in the first phase). One area of concern in relation to libraries is how to manage physical contact with books etc., and how to support a ‘click and collect’ service safely. This cautious approach is to ensure public safety.
- Weddings and civil partnership services will be able to take place from 4th July.
- There remains a backlog of birth registrations at present.
- From this weekend all waste re-cycling centres will be accepting all waste as usual and permit holders with trailers will be able to access sites as normal. For the time being staff will not be able to offer assistance with unloading and nothing will be accepted for re-use.
- Adapting work practices to include online access and training continues to be developed; an ongoing survey has shown that a significant number of staff feel that their work-life balance has improved, although those with children have been finding some aspects of lockdown a challenge, including the inability to socialise by visiting local pubs etc. Consideration is being given to how future working practices future might be adapted, also taking into account tax implications for those who may be affected by working from home.
- The government has issued Covid-19 secure standards, based on 5 key principles, which SCC has adopted and adapted to the different settings involved.
- The COVID -19 – Local Outbreak Management Plan has now been produced. It is an extensive document 61 pages in length, covering all aspects of how the county, going forward, is planning to manage the virus, as it is expected that clusters of outbreaks will still occur. The Somerset plans are considered to be such that this approach is being adopted nationally.
- It is hoped that local lockdowns will not be necessary, particularly as tracking and tracing
- As the national alert level is reduced and lockdown measures relaxed, it is likely there will be more localised outbreaks, which will require greater capacity across the system. It is for this reason that appropriate measures are now being put into place.
- The message continues to be social distancing (still 2m. where at all possible) washing hands and working from home where possible.
- Somerset continues to be in a good place, with the total number of deaths related to Covid-19 at 195 and the total number of cases across the county at 795 (there have been just 3 new cases in the community this week, but there has also been a significant outbreak in one care home in Chard).
- The ‘R’ number provided by SAGE (the SW was unable to accurately use this data before) is now the lowest in the country at 0.6 – 0.9.
- SCHOOLS – 348 laptops have now been allocated to schools, plus an additional 70 former SCC ones to other educational units.
- Locally, re-payment by the NHS for PPE equipment provided by SCC is being pursued and requires an application by the NHS for central government funding.
We have reached the end of my three-and-a-half-year journey as DG. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve the District.
RI President Mark Maloney’s theme for the year was “Rotary Connects the World” and this has been even more evident now that we all connect via Zoom!
My theme for the year was FUN, Fellowship, Updating Rotary and New Clubs. . The Fellowship has been great and I have been inspired by the works that our clubs do. We have Updated Rotary – who would have thought that almost everyone would be using online tools to meet and carry on the service to the communities. We even achieved a New Club – St John’s Primary Midsomer Norton Rotakids.
One of my aspirations was to educate members about the wider family of Rotary and I think that my weekly blog has gone some way to do this – at least the numbers of subscribers to Circa1200 has increased by 300 and there has been a 12% increase in the number of members with a MyRotary account. I have tried during the year to keep my weekly Blog to one page but I hope you will forgive me for giving a more comprehensive “end of term” report.
The year started with a Midsummer Madness / Handover party that raised £1,000 pounds split between School in a Bag and the YDH Breast Care Unit appeal. The District Conference in Southampton attracted 200 people and, as a side-line, raised £1,300 for Rainbow Trust.
I am proud of the innovative ways that members and clubs have responded to the challenges posed by Coronavirus and pleased that District allocated £10,000 to match fund many of the projects.
At the 1 July the membership totalled 1368, and we have had 100 new members this year. Membership retention is over 90%. Gender distribution is improving, with now over 18% female membership. There has been a 12% increase in members having a MyRotray Account.
We have approved 15 Membership Development grants to assist Clubs with recruitment and some of these are yet to take place. We have one satellite and at least one Rotaract club in course.
We chartered a Rotakids club at St John’s Primary School in Midsomer Norton and were close to starting two Rotaract Clubs when the virus struck.
Sadly, we have lost two clubs this year Avalon and Calne. Both of these failed to find incoming officers and people to run their projects – unfortunately not an uncommon situation.
The pandemic has brought forth a host of volunteers and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to invite them into the Rotary family and to start new forms of Rotary for these people.
I have been amazed at the work the clubs do to support local, national and international communities. In particular, clubs supported the West Indies following Hurricane Dorian, the Bush Fires in Australia and floods here in the UK. David Perkins has provided the following summary:
“District donated $10,000 of its DDF to Polio Plus to help continue the fight to eradicate this terrible disease and made two grants of $2,500 to coronavirus projects in India and in Dominican Republic.
The Foundation team have been working throughout the year to promote Rotary’s only charity.
Over £18,000 of our District Dedicated Fund (DDF) allocation of £24,000 was given in 27 matching grants for various club projects, varying from community and disabled schemes within the District, to clean water and health needs abroad. The Grants Sub Committee has also cultivated a plethora of Global Grants, which need international involvement to draw down matched funding of at least $15,000, ranging from the Dorset Hospital Chemo unit to major clean water and hygiene facilities in Kerala and Kenya.
The PolioPlus campaign continued to fight against the objections of religion and politics in the Khyber Pass area where the last remaining cases of infection were on the increase, and has developed a new Polio vaccine which is expected to do away with the Vaccine Derived strain of the virus. The annual planting of purple crocus corms to raise awareness of the Purple Pinkie campaign was well taken up, although the resulting flowers were a bit insipid. The supplier has promised that the corms provided this years will be more robust.
Then the world went into lockdown! Meetings were cancelled, fund raising events abandoned and everything came to a halt. But The Rotary Foundation went into overdrive! D1200 clubs drew down the remaining DDF to help with local food banks and related schemes. When that was exhausted, District stepped in by allocating surplus funds to COVID19 related grants. The remnants of our Global Grant allocation has also been used in reciprocal arrangements with Districts in India and The Dominican Republic to provide ventilators and basic family hygiene kits respectively. Unlike most districts in RFUK, D1200 has utilised its entire allocation of grant funding in Doing Good, both locally and internationally.
The Rotary Foundation headquarters in Evanston has also risen to the challenge. Although working from home, the staff have pulled out all the stops to help. Applications that usually expect to take months to authorise have been completed in less than 10 days! It is worthy of note that, since April, Foundation has given over $20million in grants to help with the worldwide fight against COVID19. A Disaster Relief Fund set up with a budget of $2 million donated $5 million in only 6 weeks!
Whilst the vaccination programme of the End Polio Now campaign is obviously in abeyance, the resources of the organisation – laboratories for sample testing, contact tracing, vaccine development, etc- are being well used in the Coronavirus battle. Unfortunately the instances of polio cases is on the increase, which proves that it will rapidly re-establish itself if we relinquish the task before it is complete. And we are now well aware that the spread of a virus is only a plane ride away.
The District Foundation Team has been trying to improve the awareness of what The Rotary Foundation is all about and how it operates. In some ways, the lockdown has actually helped as it is easier to give a Foundation talk to a club on Zoom than having to travel across the district. It also saves on travelling expenses and meal costs, which could be donated to TRF or PolioPlus.”
We started the year with plans to help the environment by hoping to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle as well as trying help fight loneliness and mental health. Our District Project for the year was to support the Yeovil District Hospital Breast Care Unit. Sarah Folland has sent the following report.
“It has certainly been a challenging year in which Connectivity and Humanitarian support has indeed been very meaningful with efforts and support shown locally and across the globe.
At the start of last year Rotary in GBI took steps to commit to tackling poor mental health by signing up to the Concordat for ‘Better mental Health’ with Public health England. The commitment from Rotary clubs has been demonstrated with many of our district clubs supporting local initiatives or starting up ‘drop in’ cafes and local support groups or activities to improve health and reduce isolation. Others have continued to raise awareness of mental health issues through poster campaigns or the dedicated ‘Rotarians 4 Mental Health’ website.
Disaster response and support has this year focused on 2 main areas. Six months ago world attention was focused on the Australian forest and bush Fires that devastated large parts of the country. Since January with the help of much needed rain the fires have been controlled but the recovery and rebuilding efforts will take years. In November last year following consistent and heavy rainfall the District responded to the flood relief efforts in NE. England. The resources and expertise of the EVAG group were mobilised to provide practical help and clubs and again Rotarians have given financial support through the RGBI Disaster and Recovery fund.
We were not expecting the rapid spread of the Covid 19 pandemic through the world and many of our normal activities and events came to a sudden halt in March. Our thoughts are with all those who have been directly affected by the disease and its consequences. However, there could not perhaps be a better example of ‘Rotary in Action’! This has been demonstrated in many different ways. Most of our clubs have kept in close touch with members and Rotarians been a huge support, actively contributing where possible, but also by providing funds and equipment, advice and encouragement to many local and some international projects These include support networks, foodbanks, hospital teams, hospices, PPE providers, also enabling home education and play for isolating families. Support to those colleagues who are isolated and vulnerable including those with health and welfare issues has been very evident. District 1200 allocated £10.000 pounds to match fund individual club projects and it has been moving to see the efforts and support from so many clubs. The pandemic will continue to place pressure on many health and social care providers as well as charities and I am sure our continued support will be needed in the months to come.
Many continue to support the Polio projects. Bears and Bulbs are available as Rotary its efforts to help rid the World of this disease.
RIBI has recently signed up to a 12 month partnership with Carers UK- This gives encouragement for us all to support young and unpaid carers.
Let us not forget too, the efforts made to take action in caring for our environment and Rotarians providing leadership and examples of good practice and we thank Penny Underwood for efforts to encourage this at district level.”
We have some brilliant Youth Projects and we started the year with a Youth Showcase, reviving a pet projects of the late Roger Andrews. The new Rotakids club were the stars of the District Conference. RYLA was again a delight to visit. I was also delighted to visit the Technology tournament held jointly by Crewkerne, Chard and Ilminster.
I send Rory and his team my very best wishes for the new year.
So long and thanks for all the fish (Douglas Adams). Very best wishes.- Dennis
During this period of lockdown we have been scratching our heads on ways to fundraise without putting people at risk and have decided to run virtual events starting with our Virtual Dog Show, as shown on the flyer. The event is open to everyone and is a way of showing off your dog and help to raise money for the Childrens Hospice South West, Cystic Fibrosis Trust and other charitable causes that our Rotary Club support. All entries must be submitted by Saturday 15th August. do visit www.virtualrotary.org and upload your photographs of your dog in as many of the classes as you wish.
The Rotary Club of Mendip has again sponsored Rotarian Anwar Hussain to produce a fourth batch of curries for key workers in the Cheddar Valley. Anwar who used to own a restaurant in Cheddar cooked 73 meals in his own kitchen with the help of his family. On this occasion the offer was extended to all key workers who could request the free curry. Club members helped distribute the food from a social distance.
Weston’s new President, Norma Johnston was installed at todays meeting using Zoom. Norma is the Clubs third Lady President and the 99th in the Club’s history.
To all Rotarians in District 1200
We need your help!
Just 1 Rotary meal!
Coronavirus has understandably meant that the foot has come off the peddle of
Polio giving, although the infrastructure has still been used in dealing with the
Pandemic and polio vaccines are continuing to be purchased.
If every Rotarian in the district donated the cost of
Just One Meal
End Polio Now
We could raise approximately £14,000
Which the Bill Gates |Foundation would turn into
Please send your donations to
The Rotary Foundation of UK,
Kinwarton Road, Alcester, B49 6PB.
Endorsing your cheque POLIO
pay on line to RFUK CAF account
Sort Code 40-52-40 Acc No. 00018558
Using your Rotary ID Number as the refence e.g. 1234567POLIO
And send an email to
To add Gift Aid
WHY NOT DO IT NOW TO BEAT THE END OF JUNE DEADLINE?
Over 54,000 people registered for the 2020 Virtual Convention which started on Saturday and continues this week with various breakout groups. Further breakout groups will continue into July. To register visit https://www.riconvention.org/en/sign-2020-rotary-virtual-convention. There is also a link to register for Taipei in 2021 at a discounted price.
Brit Valley Tea Party.
Who says that fund raising is difficult in the current circumstances? Yesterday, Lindsey Luxton and Brit Valley proved that it is possible by running a Zoom Blooming Tea Party for Marie Curie. Attendee and the club aimed to get 100 people online to share a cup of tea and piece of cake.
Dissolution of Calne.
It is with sadness that I report the dissolution of Calne Rotary Club. Calne was a daughter club of Chippenham and was formed on 30 September 1980 so would have celebrated 40 years later in this calendar year. Declining membership and age had caught up with the club and it was finding difficulty in finding officers and people to run its projects. I am pleased to say that a majority of the remaining members and the club projects have been welcomed to the Chippenham club which has undertaken to support the projects and the Calne community.
Best wishes – Dennis
There are no operational concerns in relation to SCC.
Multi-agency work is continuing, with numbers using the call service decreasing significantly.
- The situation in Somerset remains calm and stable, with the number of cases continuing to decline, with just one new case reported this week, in a care home.
- As of 17th June, there have been a total of 791 confirmed cases in Somerset.
- Weston-Super-Mare hospital has re-opened.
- The total number of deaths in Somerset to date is 193 (including 104 in hospitals)
- The ‘R’ number is hovering at 0.8 – 1.1.
- The CEO of Yeovil Hospital has reported zero cases this week.
- It is hoped that a new testing centre will shortly be opened in Minehead.
- Testing sites for the Yeovil and Ilminster areas are being considered by the military for accessibility.
- There have been some issues in purchasing PPE in order to be able to re-open registration service centres, but this is in hand.
- Work is being done with the CCG to consider the long-term view (total spend on PPE is now up to £6m., with 15m. items purchased/on order) – the cost of face masks has been reduced from £1.80 to 63p.
- Much of the equipment is being purchased from China and Malaysia and 1,200 flights to/from Beijing were cancelled this week. The situation is being monitored, amid concerns raised over the issue of labour exploitation in some countries.
LIBRARIES – no decision on re-opening libraries has been made yet.
- Hinton St. George School has been closed, and is due to re-open next Tuesday, as one member of staff has been tested positive, but this is an isolated case.
- Laptop provision for vulnerable children– government laptops have now arrived, along with 4G dongles, which are being checked before being issued. 1,100 children and care leavers were initially identified as requiring this support; after eligibility checks through schools and social workers were made, this was reduced to 348 children but it is expected that additional children will continue to be identified as requiring support.
- All laptops have been gifted to those needing them and will be distributed to schools by next week.
- Redundant SCC laptops have been sold, and the money re-invested into providing laptops to local education providers e.g. colleges.
Years 10 and 12 have returned to school this week.
- Secondary schools, and all primary schools, continue to provide support for vulnerable children in other years.
- As of 15th June 45% of Year 6 cohorts were attending school and primary schools are at capacity in terms of the conditions required for social distancing and staffing.
- Government advice is not to use other local provision because of the risk factor.
- Home to school transport remains a challenge and parents are being asked to try to make their own arrangements for Sept.
- Free school meals – clarification is still awaited, with some children being in receipt of vouchers.
- An additional £1bn. catch up money has been provided by central government, largely to be used to enable pupils to access additional tuition and 1-to-1 support to be able to catch up.
- As yet no central government provision has been made for critical worker support during the school holidays, which is as expected.
- Vulnerable children – teams have been set up on a rota basis to provide intensive support for those families that need it, and additional resources provided for safeguarding.
- 10 additional children have come into care, mainly teenagers (compared with a total of 500 across the county). It is expected that this will increase as a result of concerns over domestic abuse, with acknowledgement that we have been in a crisis situation.
- Unlike other areas there has been no notable increase in child suicides.
- There is a particular challenge around supporting teenagers, especially where their peers may not be in school, along with concern about the possibility of criminal exploitation e.g. county lines, where the police have been very active.
- School ‘Bubble’ – this can consist of a maximum of 15 pupils = half the usual class size.
- Unless guidance changes significantly, it is unlikely that schools will be able to be fully operational by Sept.
TOWN CENTRES – concern has been raised about the lack of disabled parking facilities, particularly in Taunton, and this under review.
All pedestrianisation schemes in town centres, to enable social distancing, are now up and running.
During the pandemic lockdown Frome College has remained open for vulnerable children and those of keyworkers but the College has had problems providing lunch for these children. A local business – Ebbie’s Kitchen – that normally does film location catering offered to provide hot lunches two days a week for upto 30 children at cost price but they needed assistance with the delivery of the meals.
Frome Selwood Rotary and the other two clubs in Frome were approached to see if they could help with the finances and logistics. A rota of Rotarians was arranged to collect the meals from Ebbie’s and deliver them to Frome College and John Wainwright & Co, Quarry operators, have very generously donated the funds to cover the costs of the meals.
The first meals were delivered on Monday 8th June and will continue twice weekly for 7 weeks.
Response to Covid-19.
As at 3 June The Rotary Foundation had provided funding of almost $20 million to help with the pandemic. Thirty clubs have now applied for and received our District matched grants of £250 per club. There are still funds available so please apply before the end of the month.
Giving to Foundation by country.
I attach the table of the Top giving countries to Foundation. Please remember to send off your club’s donations as soon as possible to register them for this year to increase the amount of District Designated Funds available to us in 2022-23.
Orders for purple crocus corms to plant in Autumn 2020 are now open! How are you going to use them, with your community, in your district and club? Corms can be ordered via the website https://www.rotarygbi.org/projects/purple4polio/crocus/
Final deadline for orders is 31st August 2020.
Your Big Day.
Your Big Day offers videos tailored to a specific date in history, drawing on the extensive film and television archives of ITN and Reuters. These videos cost £19.50 and of this £6 will be donated to Polio +. Website is https://www.yourbigday.tv/about-us
Rotary GB&I announce 12 month partnership with Carers UK
Last week Rotary GB&I announced a 12 month partnership with Carers UK, the national membership charity for carers. The announcement was made as part of Carers Week, which shines a light on the challenges faced by the 6.5 million unpaid carers nationwide. The partnership will see us work together to make life better for unpaid carers by raising awareness and offering support, with Carers UK in turn promoting the difference that Rotary volunteers make in their communities across the country, while also offering training to become Rotary Carers UK Ambassadors. A programme of activities and selection of resources for Rotary clubs and members is currently being produced.
Are you missing your regular Club meetings?
Ric Canham is setting up a series of Zoom meetings for any members who have not been able to take part in online meetings or would like to meet with members from other clubs. The first of these is at 7pm tonight (Monday). Please contact Ric if you would like to attend.
District Handover will take place via Zoom on 3 July at 7pm look out for the invitation.
Best wishes – Dennis