Newsletter 131 October 2020


Rotary and Polio

WORLD POLIO DAY 24 October 2020



Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a paralyzing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world. Poliovirus invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in hours. It can strike people of any age but mainly affects children under five. Polio can be prevented by vaccines, but it is not curable. Unlike most diseases, polio can be eradicated.


For more than 30 years, Rotary and our partners have driven the effort to eradicate polio worldwide. Our PolioPlus program was the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication by vaccinating children on a massive scale. As a core partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary focuses on advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and awareness-building.

 Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.

 Polio Today

When Rotary and its partners formed the GPEI in 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries every year. Today, we have reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent, and just two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Because of the efforts of Rotary and its partners, nearly 19 million people who would otherwise have been paralyzed are walking, and more than 1.5 million people are alive who would otherwise have died. The infrastructure we helped build to end polio is also being used to treat and prevent other diseases (including COVID-19) and create lasting impact in other areas of public health.


Rotary and our partners have made tremendous progress against polio, but eliminating all cases is going to take even more progress and perseverance. Afghanistan and Pakistan face unique challenges, including political insecurity, highly mobile populations, difficult terrain, and, in some instances, vaccine refusal and misinformation. With sufficient resources, the commitment of national governments, and innovations that improve access to remote areas, we are optimistic that we can eliminate polio.

Ensuring Success

Rotary has committed to raising $50 million per year for polio eradication. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total commitment of $150 million each year. These funds provide much-needed operational support, medical workers, laboratory equipment, and educational materials. Governments, corporations, and private donors all play a crucial role in funding.

 Rotary in Action

More than 1 million Rotary members have donated their time and money to eradicate polio, and every year, hundreds of members work with health workers to vaccinate children in countries affected by polio. Rotary members work with UNICEF and other partners to prepare and distribute informational materials for people in areas that are isolated by conflict, geography, or poverty. They also mobilize to recruit fellow volunteers, assist in transporting the vaccine, and provide other logistical support.


Crocus Planting

Rotary clubs help to plant millions of purple crocuses every year to raise awareness for the Purple4Polio campaign and Rotary's efforts to end polio.This year Rotarian Geoff Mayall has been busy finding a number of places within Bristol where the purple crocus bulbs will be planted. They include the Bridge Learning Campus, New Fossway School the Green House and the APE Children's Playground in St Pauls. 

Year 7 at BLC planting the crocuses


Great Weston Ride: President John Whittaker reports that together with Rotarians, Tony Hughes, Derrick Royall, Mike Blott, Andy Cavanna, Martin Smith and friend , David Lowin made up an intrepid team of seven cyclists from this Club completing the Great Weston Ride on Sunday 20 September. The circuit covered over 57 miles from Long Ashton, through the Chew Valley, up the long steep climb at Burrington Coombe and over the Mendips, across the Somerset Levels taking in Wedmore and Burnham on Sea, and then north to Weston seafront.

They raised over £2,500 for The Green House, a Bristol-based charity dedicated to helping people affected by child sexual abuse Members will recall that The Green House was to have been the beneficiary of this year’s Dragon Boat Festival cancelled due to the coronavirus, so we are hoping to offset some of the funds foregone by The Green House. The funds raised together with the generosity of those who had paid a deposit toward the Dragon Boat Festival and had asked it to be added to the fundraising for the Green House meant we were able to send them a cheque for £5000. The Green House is especially thankful for the monies raised at this time as it has gone towards them enabling the re-opening of their children’s service after the Covid lockdown. They send their heartfelt thanks.

 Corporate Golf Day: Thanks to Mary and Bob Whittington for organising another successful Golf Day. The event took place on Thursday 15 October at Bristol and Clifton Golf Club. The main charity was ‘Youth Moves’ an award-winning youth work charity fully embedded in South Bristol, working in some of the most deprived estates in the UK, and with some of the young people facing the biggest challenges in the city. They support young people involved in a range of issues from school exclusion, to knife crime, to dealing with mental health concerns and difficult home situations. Many of these young people haven't had the easiest of starts in life, and Youth Moves helps them to 'move' into a place of trust and safety, by providing them with the skills to make better choices, putting them on the road to success, whatever that may be. The organisation does this through a range of individual and group activities, and volunteering opportunities. Youth Moves believe in starting journeys, and inspiring lives. For more information see Youth Moves

The format this year was different as the golf club is subject to social distancing requirements, so the event was a half day yet highly successful bringing more than £3,200 for our charities. Many thanks to all who volunteered on the day and especially to all those who entered a team.


International updates from Derrick Royall

Beirut: The International Committee has held discussions with our friends in RC Prague to understand how best we can help the unfortunate residents of Beirut impacted by the huge explosion in August. Stuart Amesbury and his wife Irena have long held connections with Disaster Aid International and Stuart is planning his next deployment to Beirut in the near future, Covid 19 travel restrictions allowing.

 With club members permission, we will help towards the cost of LuminAid solar lamps and Sawyer individual water filters as well as donating to RC Beirut Cedars hot food programme. We hope to arrange a live Zoom report to our club from Beirut too!

 Nepal: Discussions are ongoing as to how we can best support our friends in Nepal, who have been severely impacted by Covid 19 and the lockdown. Our main contact is with RC Fishtail Pokhara, an area highly dependent on tourism, which has disappeared since March this year. We held a Zoom meeting with Fishtail on 9th October to find out more. A proposed Global Grant application to help returning migrant workers has been deferred due to sustainability concerns and we are awaiting suggestions as to how best to help people improve their employment or business prospects in Nepal, rather than being forced to return overseas to seek gainful employment.

 Motivation: We held positive update discussions with Motivation, a Bristol based charity that supports provides wheelchairs and services for disabled people in developing countries. Covid has had a significant impact on disabled families in Africa and Asia and Motivation has had to change its focus significantly. As for the whole charitable sector, fundraising has been severely affected by the Pandemic. We will consider a project proposed by Motivation at our next Committee meeting in October and present our findings to the club as soon as possible afterwards.

 End Polio Now: £1,000 has been donated to End Polio Now, Rotary’s own charity working to eradicate Polio.

 If any members are interested in finding out more about the projects we support or wish to sit in on our meetings they are more than welcome to attend.


Maji Safi Updates by Linda Greenland

Where to start? Such a lot has happened since last year!  No one could imagine the effect that COVID19 would have for everyone. Our visits to Kenya were cancelled but luckily our project workers have been very capable in handling everything that has been needed.

All our fundraising events have been cancelled this year and it doesn't look promising for 2021 We have lost thousands of pounds and will need to make cutbacks over the next year or so.

Last year the 2019 Barn Dance was a success, and we were very fortunate that two Barclays Bank employees attended and helped, enabling them to provide "matched" funding   thus doubling our funds. With the exchange rate reducing drastically it meant we were losing approximately £1000 on every £10,000. Our thanks to everyone who have struggled to continue to donate and help us through these difficult times. I'm appealing to you all to try and spread the word amongst your family and friends, so we are able to continue with our work in Kenya. I am really worried how we are going to be able to carry on in the future.


Over 60 students have enjoyed Secondary, College & University thanks to our donors who have continued paying towards their education. Donors whose students have already completed education are continuing to help the other up and coming students. Without this help they would have no way for fulfilling their dreams. We are so proud of Maureen who has completed her Primary P1 teaching certificate. Let’s hope we can continue to help many more students like her and now she’s teaching & helping other students in our schools !! An amazing achievement!

 Items are needed in the Pre-Primary and Primary schools. These include building blocks and toy cars and dolls! We manage to buy most materials and  items locally but these type of blocks etc are so expensive. I made an appeal on Facebook and have had donations of Mega blocks, Duplo, toys cars etc by so many generous people.


40 students & teachers came last July and built the final 2 classrooms at Inspirations Primary School. Last year was their 15th visit and possibly the last due to numerous restrictions.  Paul Miller has done an amazing job arranging these visits every year and the work they have achieved has been fantastic.  One of our volunteers Chris set to work and made 9 more lockable cupboards with Mike & Justus as his labourers for the classrooms at Oasis - wonderful job. Last year they did same so plenty storage space for teachers and children’s equipment. We have bought lots of tables & chairs for the schools along with lots of necessary safety equipment, fire extinguishers etc and also did a lot of refurbishments around the buildings.

"MAJI SAFI" - means CLEAN WATER - 4 boreholes 2019/2020

There has been such water shortages over the past years and now with COVID19 making clean water a priority we have managed to fund 3 boreholes in 2019 and another this year 2020. We were lucky to receive the funding and all these boreholes were dug in very rural areas where water was a big problem. Many villagers and local schools can now access clean free water - the cost daily was always a problem and not all water was clean leading to lots of waterborne disease like Cholera or Typhoid. Now we have helped the health of so many people.

Sanitary Towel KIT PROJECT

We supported & raised funds in the last 3 years to provide 7000 ST kits! We delivered packs and health education & this year had masks made and delivered to all the girls and lots of villagers.


We have struggled to pay the 10 teachers & 4 helpers at the 2 small schools we built. Normally parents pay a small amount towards a couple of the teachers, but schools have been closed since March and with no money coming in we have paid ALL teachers. This has been a big strain on our funds, and Mike and I have personally funded towards their wages. We couldn't see any of the teachers go without wages all these months as they have families to feed and rent to pay.

ComVoc updates from Alan Rogan

The ComVoc committee have proposed a number of charities to benefit from our club during Christmas this year.

Bridge Learning Campus:

Liz Hackling Associate head of the BLC thanks the club for the continuing support to the school especially for their most in need families throughout the academic year, providing all the essentials needed to run breakfast clubs across the Campus. Since returning in September, this service has enabled the school to feed up to 200 children a day - this equates to 1/5 of their cohort. It means that students are set for the day and can really focus on their learning. Over lockdown the club’s kindness ensured they were able to provide food parcels to families, who, often through no fault of their own, were left either furloughed or unemployed. Liz ran a small food bank throughout the summer holidays, and numbers increased on a week by week basis. The gifts also allowed the sending of basic stationary and learning materials, to families that had no IT device or access to the internet. This enabled staff to check in on vulnerable families and ensure some degree of learning was taking place.

 On return to school there has been a huge increase in financial strain for parents, through lack of employment and having had to home school for six months. More worryingly that has also been mirrored with the amount of domestic and emotional abuse caused by lockdown. As a school, they already serve the most deprived wards in Bristol. Parents have always struggled with food, fuel and uniform and now also need to tackle the impact of mental health issues on children’s' learning, so that the school can provide the best possible life chances for them. Even the smallest students come in with the weight of the world on their shoulders. To them adult problems are the norm. 

 In the past the impact of our support on the Christmas party has enabled the school to give some of the most disadvantaged children in Bristol and the UK a present, that they would not always receive. This year it would become even more special, as not only would it allow for them to meet Father Christmas, and be given a gift, but it would also give them the chance to be children again. We are donating £500 towards the Christmas Santa presents.

  Liz on behalf of the BLC thanks the club for our continued support. 


Unique Voice: We heard from Dan Ford of Unique Voice about the great work they have done during this Covid period providing over 800 art and craft packs to many disadvantaged children across the city. It has been a difficult time for the charity with little fundraising and the loss of funding earnt from working in schools where they provide empowerment to children through drama to develop their resilience to social issues and developing their confidence and self-esteem. The packs have enabled those children without modern technology to engage but also when delivering the pack to just make contact and show support. The charity has also teamed with a Food Bank in helping deliver necessary supplies to the families. The club has agreed to donate £500 to this charity to help with their sterling work.

In Hope: Homelessness is a serious issue for Bristol. Over the last few months progress has been made in the context of Coivid-19, with temporary accommodation being found for over 300 homeless people in hotels and B&B’s. Move-on accommodation is also being found for many of these people, and this is something to celebrate. However, there are still a significant number who will be without accommodation over the coming months, and street homelessness remains a challenge for the city. Housing is also only part of the issue for those who are homeless – they need food, a sense of community, and support as they journey with a range of personal challenges


At In Hope they have been helping homeless and vulnerable people in Bristol for over 30 years, by providing food, shelter, hope and support. They have four projects; The Wild Goose Cafe, Spring of Hope women's night shelter, LIFE Recovery & East Bristol Foodbank. I hope that you might feel able to support our work at this critical time by contributing to this fundraising effort. Every pound will make a difference to the lives of people far less well off than you and I. We are donating £500 to this very worthy cause.

Caring in Bristol: The club is donating £500 to this charity for Caring at Christmas. For many years we have donated and some club members have also volunteered to work shifts during the difficult Christmas period to ensure the homeless are not forgotten and have shelter, warmth and company at this acutely difficult time of year, Last year the charity provided day support t 429 homeless and vulnerable people providing 86 bed spaces and over 2500 hot meals.






Lord Mayor’s Challenge: The proposal is we join Clifton Rotary to participate in a cycle marathon at Clifton College to raise money locally for the Lord Mayor's charity fund. We would like as many Bristol Breakfast members and friends to participate. Although Clifton College has not yet confirmed the date we are expecting that it will be the weekend of Saturday, 12 and/or Sunday, 13 December. This is a Bristol Rotary Challenge? Contact Alan Rogan if you wish to participate in the challenge. Alan Rogan

Here are more details:

Rationale:  The idea is to have a fun social event to raise money for The Lord Mayor of Bristol’s Children Appeal.  The website for the Appeal is:

Objective:  The Rotary Challenge is to cycle the distance from Bristol to Combourg (Brittany) and back in one (or possibly two) days.

Covid compliance:  A maximum of 6 people will be in the gym at the Clifton College Sports Centre at any one time.  The static bikes will be cleaned at the end of each session.

Fund raising:  Participating cyclists will be asked to find sponsors who will donate amounts to the Appeal.  The fixed amounts will be £10 (£1 per mile) or £20, £30 or more payable in advance.  Corporate sponsors will cover the expenses and money will be raised by the sale or auction of cycling themed items.  The target is £10,000 plus Gift Aid.

Participating cyclists:  We need about 50 cyclists to cycle the distance in one day.  If the event is spread over two days we will be able to accommodate more than 50 and also offer 30 minute slots in addition to 60 minute slots.

T-shirts:  Each participating cyclist will get an official T-shirt.

Volunteers:  We need marshals on the door and to supervise the cleaning of the equipment.

Publicity:  The Lord Mayor of Bristol (Jos Clark) has offered to open the event in her regalia and to take part in the cycling.  I am keen to badge the event as a Rotary initiative in much the same way as we do for the Fireworks (which sadly will not be taking place this year) and Swimarathon.

The club has also agreed to donate £1000 towards the appeal.