DG’s Blog 23 March 2020


You know you are old when one of your neighbours puts a note through your door offering you help. This happened to me twice last week and of course like many other Rotarians I am in the “at risk” group. It is odd when I feel that I should be the one offering help to others. It is vital that we all take notice of the Government guidelines to try to restrict the spread of the virus but there are still things we can do.

The Emergency Volunteer Action Group is in contact with Somerset County Council regarding the possible inclusion of voluntary agencies in the organisation of the response to the current virus crisis. They are offering help with deliveries to the isolated vulnerable, phone call checks, providing information and possible help with organising and planning. A further addition might include assistance in the organisation of food banks. A letter will be sent to all clubs but if you would like more information contact David Welch david303welch@btinternet.com

Lorraine Wong has written “You will be aware of the challenges the NHS is facing to prepare for the peak in Coronavirus.  Some guidance has just been issued to support the rapid discharge of patients to free up hospital beds.   The arrangements identify the significant role that the voluntary sector can play and NHS England is setting up a new scheme to identify volunteers able to support the NHS led by the Royal Voluntary Service using the GoodSAM app as the digital platform.  Perhaps we could encourage able Rotarians (i.e. those not in the vulnerable groups) to register with the RVS and download the app.” For more information contact Lorraine lorrainerotary@gmail.com

One of my initial objectives for this year was to help combat loneliness. This is even more important in the current circumstances when our own members are likely to suffer from the lack of social contact. Please do all you can to maintain contact by telephone or other technology with your members and others in the community.

Food Banks. Another idea is to donate our savings in meal costs from cancelled meetings to local food bank

District Forum.

New ground was broken on Saturday when we held our Forum via Zoom for the first time. We had 84 devices connected with another 4 people sharing devices and Jenny’s dog joined the first Zoom District Forum.

District business. Items on the agenda included approval of the 2019/19 accounts and the budget for 2020/21. Please get your secretaries to send in your votes in favour/ against approving both of these.

We celebrated a number of significant Club Anniversaries- see slide attached.

Penny Underwood was then presented with a Paul Harris Fellowship for her work serving District, starting a new club and her involvement in one the District’s most successful projects Sherborne Classic & Supercars.   Well done Penny, greatly deserved.

Conference 2020. Rory O’Donnell gave an update on the scheduled Conference still currently planned for 4 July. You can watch the video from the District website.

Young Carers. Alison Adlam, Chair of Friends of Somerset Young Carers then told us about the important work they do. See the website for more details. https://www.fosyc.org.uk

Under Parish Notices a brief session was held about ideas on how Rotary could help in the current circumstances. See above.

Frome Town approach to membership. Karl Waldeck told the meeting how they attract young members and showed the film made by RGBI about the club that can be seen here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-JiDIPQnXg. More information is available from Karl munrothedog@hotmail.co.uk

Foundation. Ken Robertshaw joined us from Yorkshire to remind us all about our charity and gave a great overview with special emphasis on the Peace Scholars, an area close to his heart.

Breakout sessions. Those interested in the Foundation session then joined a separate meeting hosted by Tony Quinn. The main session then had a discussion on membership led by Ric Canham and then Rory O’Donnell explained the main messages for 2020-21 from the International Assembly.


What could be my last physical club visit was last Monday when Jill and I visited Bridgwater. I think that they were rather overwhelmed as not only I but DGN Michael Fernando and DGNN Ric Canham we’re also visiting. Thanks to President Mike and the club for the hospitality.

My diary has of course been decimated but I am available to join online club meetings – just send me an invitation.


With our face to face meeting cancelled for the next few weeks, Zoom would be a good tool to use to keep in touch with family, friends, club members and others in the community. It is totally free for meetings up to 40 minutes. Here is a link to help you get the most from Zoom https://zoom.us/docs/en-us/covid19.html

Best wishes and stay safe.

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