Newsletter 125 - March 2020

Message from our President, Nigel Harradine

We are suddenly living through a time of unprecedented challenge and change. The transformation of our society in the last few weeks is drastic and dramatic. A complete disruption of lifestyle has begun and it will be many months before anything like normality returns. This is going to be a marathon and that length is a substantial hurdle in itself.  The country faces the twin challenge of a widespread epidemic of a new disease with potentially serious morbidity for a few and even mortality and also a major loss of jobs and income. Many, but not all of us, are lucky to be sheltered from major economic impact, but whilst older members of the club will also be sheltered from the biggest chance of becoming ill, they are correspondingly at greater risk of serious illness if they do, and having avoided illness through more rigorous isolation will be more prone to infection in the second smaller wave of infections later in the year when life for others becomes more relaxed as immunity becomes widespread.

 So we must make large adjustments for a long time. As Rotarians, we think of helping others. Members of BBRC have already exhibited that Rotary frame of mind by suggesting ways in which we might provide practical assistance for those suffering the stressful consequences of illness or poverty.  At present there is little of either of these problems in our city, but they will surely arrive. As yet, it is impossible to know in any useful detail what we can do to help, but I know that members will keep that intention in mind and that opportunities to provide effective and significant help will arise. It is probable that like many individuals and businesses, BBRC will experience a large reduction in income this year and our scope for providing financial assistance will be correspondingly reduced for a while. We will need to pay thoughtful attention to the priorities for using what funds we do have and we will need to look more for opportunities to help in other ways.

We will all miss the sociability and straightforward fun of our Wednesday meetings, but thankfully, modern electronic communications make it entirely possible to carry on being an effective club and also to keep in touch with each other during times of greatly reduced human contact. We will all spend more time at our keyboards for the best of reasons.

Two requests: If a member becomes aware of a case of need arising from this epidemic for which we may be able to help in any way, please share that information in the club so that our collective brains and energies can be brought to bear.

Finally and with enormous prosaicness, do please take the matter of hand washing and not touching your face with relentless vigour. This humblest of measures is very probably the biggest factor in limiting the chances of infection. We cannot disinfect everything we touch. We should instead assume that everything we touch may be infected, but as long as we handwash and don’t touch our face, the virus will not find a way in.

 Very best wishes to you all



Bristol Breakfast Rotary Club

Members will all have received an email regarding the closure of breakfast meetings until further notice. Many of our members will be in self isolation and for a service club that will provide difficulty in helping others who may be vulnerable. We are an innovative club and firstly we all need to keep in touch and provide communication wherever we can. We also need to look after fellow members who may find difficulty during this time. Please let me know if that is the case and we will surely help.

‘We will do whatever it takes.’

Those were the words of chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier this week, as he outlined what the government pledges to do to help the country weather the threat of coronavirus. Government support is paramount of course but in recent days the voluntary sector has also demonstrated like never before that they will do whatever it takes to support the communities we serve. throughout the country we have already seen an incredible response from charities, large and small.

But doing whatever it takes is easier said than done. Especially when you are worrying about how to keep services running, how to support communities who are in greater need than ever before, and how to pay the bills at the end of each month. Many charities who provide for the vulnerable and disadvantaged in our society are finding it difficult and many have had to stop providing a service particularly those who are client facing. Food charities are preparing for an unprecedented challenge with some low on supplies and the panic buying reaction has led to a drop in donations. The demand is likely to increase.Foodbanks are struggling to support the people who rely on them. With Rotary meetings postponed, members are asked to consider donating the money they would have spent on a meal/coffee/breakfast to local foodbanks so they can purchase the items they are in need of. Just £10.00 per member would make a huge difference in helping support those in need.

With social distancing and isolation, many people may find themselves feeling alone. Ensure you are staying in touch with people around you. Create a list of contacts to call and keep in touch with once or twice a week. A simple phone call can really make a difference to others. Let’s ensure we are being mindful of ourselves and others to help reduce the impact of COVID-19.

There are over 6.5 million carers in this country many unpaid volunteers or young carers. Caring for someone can be difficult and has a negative impact on carers’ health and wellbeing. For carers this could cause great stress and may not be able to access their normal breaks or time off to recharge their batteries.

There is increasing concern about people becoming more isolated, especially older and disabled people living alone, when the advice is to reduce contact. We do need to care for our neighbours just to keep an eye to make sure they are surviving this hugely difficult period of time.

We should make every effort to maintain contact with our members and our communities without taking any unnecessary health risks and we can of course do this via telephone and the various video conferencing applications that are available to us. Zoom is an application that allows online meetings of up to 100 attendees for up to 40 minutes for free. Download the free app from  


RGBI - Coronavirus.

I know that it is on everyone’s mind, what should we do about it and our events. RGBI has set up a page with the latest advice. In this respect, the Rotary GB&I Support Centre recommends that Rotarians, clubs and districts within GB&I follow the guidance of the Department of Health & Social Care and Public Health England announcements made on the website and the World Health Organisation. The website is updated at 2.00pm daily. The website gives information for the public on the outbreak of coronavirus, including the current situation in the UK and information about the virus and its symptoms. See



Alive Bristol - On 4 March 2020 Emma Dyer from the charity Alive Bristol spoke to the club about bringing joy to older people in care.  There are now over 400,000 older people living in residential care in the UK. Alive is the UK’s leading charity enriching the lives of older people in care and training their carers. An ageing population is meeting dramatic changes within the social care sector, and the results are catastrophic. It's become all too familiar to see older people lined up in the living room of a care home, depressed, silent and staring at the television.  

Care settings are closing rapidly, for minimum wage care staff work a job that requires a vast skillset, and vulnerable older people are paying the price. As the future for adult social care hangs in the balance, care staff are stretched to breaking point. “The job that we’re expecting nursing homes to do is ever more complex and ever more difficult,” says Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector for regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Care homes must demonstrate their ability to provide meaningful activity and Alive exist to address this need, through our activity sessions and care staff training. 

Alive is one of the leading practitioners in the UK of meaningful activity for older people in care. They provide fun and dynamic activity sessions to encourage creativity, celebrate life stories and get the circulation going.

Emma says their charity is different to other activity providers because they enable older people to shape the content and direction of Alive sessions, which include the use of new technology, guided reminiscence, creative, energising and physical activities. They entertain but they are more than entertainers. They engage older people in meaningful ways using a variety of tools and techniques tried and tested over the last 10 years.

Alive activity sessions are proven to impact positively on older people in the expression of personal identity, enabling of personal choice, interaction with others and general well-being. Their training and mentoring are found to have contributed to positive changes in the culture of care and practice within the care settings. From a recent external evaluation of Alive's work by arts evaluation experts Willis Newson in collaboration with the University of the West of England.

For more information -




Anna Brown CEO of Talking Money – was aour speaker on 11 March 2020. She told us that Talking Money began its life as Bristol Debt Advice Centre a volunteer run grass roots organisation in response to the hardship faced by many in Bristol during the 1980’s.

It was registered as a charity in February 1990. Talking Money is now based in West Street, Old Market, from where they provide Debt Advice to individuals and their families as well as Energy Advice, Benefits Advice, Financial Education and Training and Consultancy. As a major provider of money advice in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, and as the lead agency for several partnerships, they play a vital role in making free, independent, confidential and professional advice available to people in financial difficulty.

They also provide money mentoring support via their self-help service, appointments and group workshops. Services are delivered face-to-face for people living in Bristol and the surrounding area, and by phone or email across England.

 They exist to:

Relieve and prevent poverty

Combat social and financial exclusion

Promote equality of opportunity

Promote access to justice for people with financial problems

Provide education on debt awareness and prevention, benefit rights, financial literacy (including digital skills) and social welfare

For more information –. and link to the video -



Letter from Binod at Fishtail RC Nepal to Colin Shurrock

Dear Colin,
Namaste from Nepal. Sorry to hear all the hard life you are having. Of course, the pandemics affected all of us this or that way.
In Nepal, officially it has been told that there was only one infected case but already cured. So far, I understood, there is only one laboratory which can examine this virus in Nepal and is situated in Kathmandu. No lab in Pokhara has such capacity. Doctor still doubt on quality of test at the hospital in Kathmandu too. Until now, only less than 500 tests have been done, who came to the hospital with fever and caught.
Since, we are open bordering with India, which has been already a moderately affected country. So, we are in high risk. I doubt it might have already spread out but not diagnose yet and least no death related to Corona has been recorded yet.
The government has stopped arrival visa to Nepal and also limited number of flights. The government also asked not to make any gathering or public function. Life is getting panic slowly with shortage of cooking gas and other stuffs.
We also mostly work from homes.

Anyway, let's hope for best and the World get back normal soon. Try to keep yourself safe.
With regards,






Future Newsletters

We have been producing a monthly newsletter but we are happy to increase to fortnightly but would need some content from members. If you would like to write a story about a particular project we are undertaking in Community and Vocational or International Committees please let me have your copy and photographs. This does not necessarily have to be a Rotary themed item. 

Dragon Boat Festival and Golf Day 2020

David Wells has 20 teams booked for DBF and another 9 who originally said they would enter but who may be having second thoughts because of the general shutdown and cancellation of events. David is keeping in touch with Gable Events and will review the situation again before the 7th April 2020.
Likewise Mary Whittington who is organising the Golf Day is monitoring the situation and will comply with Government advice as necessary to keep everyone safe. We will let you know of any changes as they occur. 

District 1100 Events

Sadly District 1100 events have had to cancelled or postponed for the next few months due to the Corona Virus Pandemic. To check the current status of any district event you are interested in please look at Future Events on the District 1100 website

Volunteer Expo and National Youth Finals.

RGBI has decided to postpone the Expo until next year and this year’s national Youth Finals have been cancelled

A Poem by Spike Milligan.

With all the doom and gloom  this poem caught my eye and thought you might like it.

Smiling is infectious

You catch it like the flu

When someone smiled at me today

I started smiling too


I passed around the corner

And someone saw my grin

When he smiled I realised

I’d passed it on to him


I thought about that smile

Then I realised its worth

A single smile, just like mine

Could travel round the earth


So if you feel a smile begin

Don’t leave it undetected

Let’s start and epidemic quick

And get the world infected!