Author Archive: chrisringrow

Laptops4Learners in Castle Cary

The recent lock down due to the pandemic has shown a digital divide for many members of the community. Children and young people in homes without enough IT equipment are excluded from home education and catch up.

Laptops4Learners has been launched by SSDC Councillor Sarah Dyke to help people access IT across Somerset. Brue Valley Rotary Club, in conjunction with Castle Cary Town Council, is working with Castle Cary Primary School to provide Chromebooks for the pupils. It also aims to provide equipment for the members of the community who are digitally excluded and already several renovated laptops have been given to those in need. 

Working with Simon Barfoot of we are collecting old and unused equipment from which Simon wipes all data, upcycles and renovates ready to be sold or returned to the community.

The word has spread and the initiative was mentioned on Carymoor Facebook page. This was seen by Rosy James, the Environmental Manager of Hinkley Point C power station who donated tablets which were sold.

The funds raised enabled the purchase of 16 Chromebooks for the Primary School. A further 4 Chromebooks were added as a result of collections of equipment from the community.

Liz Stokes, President of Brue Valley Rotary, Judi Morison, Chair of CCTC and Simon Barfoot presented 20 Chromebooks to the Primary School on 23rd September. The Headteacher, Sarah Martin and the pupils were delighted to receive so many.

Our thanks to Nigel Phillips for providing a drop off point at Phillips Tyres in Castle Cary for your old or unused IT equipment.

Liz Stokes


Rotary Clubs Working Together

Our thanks go to the Rotary Clubs of Stone Town (Zanzibar), The International Rotary Club of Copenhagen ( Denmark ) and those in District 1200 who helped us with their advice and helping getting the necessary grants.

More jabs – Brue Valley helping with vaccinations

Vaccinations continue apace at Wincanton Community Hospital and the Community Hall in Bruton. Brue Valley Rotary Club, enthusiastically assisted by over 25 family and friends, have been providing marshals at both centres. The main jobs are car parking, providing directions, sanitising (people and wheelchairs) and generally helping to ensure the process is as easy as possible for those attending.
The good humour and the delight of the general public to be getting their jabs are evident, as is the dedication of the clinical and support staff. In Wincanton, we are marshalling alongside staff from South Somerset District Council, many of whom have become quite familiar to us over the weeks.
The operation in Bruton is also manned by Brue Valley Rotarians and several good friends.
It has been a great way for the club to provide service to our local communities, especially given that our normal community service and fund-raising activities have been so curtailed by coronavirus over the last 12 months. It has also raised our profile in the community and, I think, made us a lot of new friends.

The Rotary Clubs of Brue Valley and Zanzibar join forces to provide Taps and Toilets for a school in Zanzibar

The Rotary Clubs of Brue Valley and Zanzibar – Stone Town have joined forces to raise funds for a project to provide ‘Taps and Toilets’ for a school and villagers in Kitogani Village in Zanzibar.

Women filling bucketswomen tanker and tap

For the people of Kitogani it takes many hours and back-breaking effort to get water where it is needed – hours of queueing at a pump only on for a short period each day and very unreliable; miles of carrying jerry cans (weighing 20 kgs each when full) on your head, or several precariously balanced on a bike or in a wheelbarrow; tipping water into buckets outside the dilapidated long-drop toilets for hand washing, or to try and keep the toilets clean. Then there’s clothes washing and keeping yourself clean and, the next day, it all starts again, and the day after that, and the day after that…


Students collecting water

​The lack of easy hygiene is difficult at the best of times – people are more likely to suffer from diseases and students drop out to take care of siblings; the women in the community bear most of the burden of water collection and girls often stop attending classes because getting water takes priority; reaching puberty often has the same result because of the lack of private, hygienic toilets that preserve their dignity. But faced with a virus against which our only weapon is scrupulous hygiene, the teachers, students and villagers of Kitogani are desperate to get running water and proper toilets. Haji, a teacher at the Teachers’ Training Centre, is ready to manage the building project but needs your help to make it happen.

For further details on this project see Taps_and_Toilets_In_Zanzibar

To make a donation  please see Taps_and_Toilets_Fund_Raising

Covid hand washing station


Brue Valley Rotary Club supports local food banks

Since the COVID-19 lockdown came into force in March food banks have been set up in Castle Cary and Bruton. There was already a food bank operating in Wincanton and this has been expanded since the lockdown. Brue Valley Rotary Club got in touch with all of the food banks to establish whether a donation would help. The Wincanton food bank felt reluctant to accept Rotary’s offer believing that, at that moment in time, the money might be more useful elsewhere but Rotary will keep in touch to see if this changes.
In Castle Cary, “Cary Cares” has set up a food bank and Brue Valley Rotary donated £200 to fund their work. In addition, they provide free help with medicine delivery and shopping and a “listening ear”. It is run by volunteers and supported by Churches Together. They can provide over 100 shopping and prescription deliveries each week and since they launched they have handled over 800 calls on their helpline.

In Bruton, the Town Council has set up a Sunday food bank and there is also a private initiative called the Friday Food Drop run by Jane Lillie. Brue Valley Rotary has donated £162.50 to each of these food banks.
Jane Lillie, even before Covid-19, had perceived a need for such an organisation in Bruton. Bruton has areas where there are many people in need of support and Jane was aiming to support them. She, by word of mouth, had built up a list of ten or so addresses which she served even before Covid-9 hit us all.
For the Town Council food bank, people need to register on the Town Council website and they have a mixture of self referral, Church referrals and worried friends, family and neighbours. They have also had referrals from Bruton’s local dementia group. They are currently feeding in excess of sixty mouths a week and their aim is to provide a week’s worth of food and provisions, toilet rolls, sanitary products, nappies, pet food, toilet rolls etc. etc.
This costs around £20 per person per week. As the weeks have progressed they have seen many more in need and also people managing to come off the list because state benefits have come through. They anticipate spending another £10,000 in the coming weeks, quite possibly more, and Brue Valley Rotary stand ready to help.
In total, Brue Valley Rotary has donated £525 to these local food banks in April, which includes a £250 grant from the Rotary Foundation. More such grants are available and Brue Valley Rotary will make sure it stands ready to help those in need in these difficult times.

Pictures from the Friday Food Drop:

Pictures from the Sunday food bank:

The Brue Boys – Sat 6th April


In Aid of 


Please can you book ASAP for this fund raising event to ensure a successful result for the The RUH Rotary Challenge where Rotary Clubs are challenged to raise £1000 for The Forever Friends Appeal

Brue Boys Concert ticket order

North Cadbury Wassail on 19th Jan

The Rotary Club of Brue Valley will be holding a free Wassail in North Cadbury 0n Saturday 19th January 2019. If you would like to eat then you can get a 2 course meal from the Catash Inn for £12. Booking for the meal is essential. We have run the Wassail successfully for many years with all proceeds going towards our Charities.


North Cadbury Wassail


Sonographer and Physiotherapist needed!

This year a group from Brue Valley Rotary Club ( Wincanton, Bruton and Castle Cary ) visited Mufulira in Zambia as part of our International support program.


We are planing to return sometime in the first  half of 2018 and this time we would ideally like to have both a  Sonographer and Physiotherapist with us.

They would be essential in helping us to plan and move forward on two projects that we are supporting.

If you are interested please do not hesitate to contact us via email to:

For a summary and a powerpoint presentation on the 2017 trip please go to: and click on the International Project link.

Optional trips to Victoria Falls, Livingstone, etc as well as Safaris can also be arranged.




“Free” Market Stall / Gazebo

The Rotary Club of Brue Valley have recently purchased a new Gazebo and now have a large Gazebo/Market Stall surplus to requirements. Brue Valley are prepared to give away the Market Stall to another Rotary Club for a reasonable donation.

The frame of the  Market Stall is made of heavy duty steel and is very strong. The roof and walls are blue and yellow and made of a heavy duty waterproof material which needs a bit of a clean.

The Market stall is approximately 16 feet by 8 feet and will need a trailer, van or large estate car to transport it.

It takes about 20 minutes to put up and assembly instructions will be supplied.

If you are interested please contact Rotarian Chris Ringrow via email at


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