Get the latest news from our regular Club Meetings.
Following the singing of The Grace President Michael gave an update on the progress of Past President Robert following his recent stay in hospital. He is recovering at home but still needs to rest. Members signed a card which is to be given to Robert.
Michael went on to suggest that a committee is formed to oversee the timing and schedule for the centenary celebrations in 2021.
He went on to inform members that there were to be changes in Santa's Sleigh organization as the current chair and coordinator from Jubilee was stepping down because of family commitments. Community Services Committee would discuss the matter.
Our speaker for the day was Alan Fraser CEO at YMCA Coventry and Warwickshire. Alan shares his Coventry role with being CEO of Birmingham YMCA.
YMCA C&W works in our local community and provides supported accommodation and undertakes youth work in the less privileged areas of the city.
Housing is provided for young people aged 16 to 25 in 5 housing projects operated by the YMCA. There are 68 bed spaces and young people can stay for a few weeks and some as long as 2 years. The main administrative hub of the organization is at their project at Daimler Green.
Residents arrive for a variety of reasons. Sometimes there are family issues while others need supporting in their attempts to lead independent lives.
There are currently 6 coaches who support residents through 1 to 1 meetings, assistance in claiming benefits and encouragement to find employment or continuing educational opportunities. Every year there is an awards ceremony when the achievements of young people are recognized.
The YMCA is currently the lead organization in the Youth Investment Fund initiative in Coventry. This is a major scheme of youth work in some of our most disadvantaged areas.
President Michael presented Alan with a cheque to help further the work of the YMCA.
Following the singing of The Grace President Michael opened the meeting by thanking past President Ray for organizing and running the successful treasure hunt which was based in Berkswell this year. After solving clues in the village teams gathered in The Bear for drinks and food. Team Bond retained the winning team title.
The speaker for the day was Louise Walker who was representing The Teenage Cancer Trust which is a charity set up to support young people with cancer.
In the UK, seven young people a day are diagnosed with the disease and Teenage Cancer Trust works hard to ensure these young people don't feel isolated.
The trust was founded in 1990 to raise funds to set up a specialist unit and fund a consultant at Guys Hospital in London because up to that point teenagers were treated in children's and adult's wards.
To date there are 28 cancer units around the UK. The charity also serves as an advocate
for teenage cancer needs, promoting related research and national and international forums. It also provides support services and education related to teenage and young adult cancer.
President Michael presented Louise with a donation for The Teenage Cancer Trust.
President Robert welcomed all members and their guests and asked Past President Ken Holmes to say Grace.
After everyone had enjoyed their meal, Robert called on the catering staff to come forward in order to receive his thanks and a presentation for their excellent service which he made on behalf of the club.
Robert then had the pleasure of making a number of awards for long service to Rotary:
25 years - PP David Cule, Robert Hall, and Ken Holmes
35 years - Rotarian Robert Pargetter, PP Geoffrey Jackson
40 years - PP Sid Creed, Dennis Coombe
45 years - PP Brian Hammond
50 years - PP Victor Keene
Robert then asked Mick and Deb to come forward. On behalf of all club members he thanked them for their work over the years and after presenting them with a cheque as a token of our appreciation he wished them well in their new home in Limoges, France.
Robert gave his final address as president and among the highlights of his year had been his garden party at the Charterhouse which kick started his drive to gain support for Rotary involvement with the renovation project.
He was pleased with the response to the three evening meetings he had sponsored as a way of bringing extra people to our meetings and to hear profile speakers. He was keen that these should continue if possible.
Robert also highlighted his attendance at Conference, the Festival of Christmas Trees and being able to get involved in The International Peace Conference. He also noted the continued growth of Interact.
Finally Robert thanked everyone in Rotary for their support during his year as President, especially during Jackie's illness.
Robert then asked Vice President Michael Hammon to come forward to receive the President's medallion. Newly installed President Michael thanked Robert for all his achievements on behalf of the club and then presented Robert with his Past President's Badge.
President Michael went on to speak about the importance of increasing membership and this would be one of his priorities during his presidential year. His aim was to increase membership to 50.
He also felt that charity money donated to African charities should where possible be placed with Rotary Clubs based in Africa.
Michael also spoke of his strong support for Rotary involvement in The Charterhouse project. Michael pledged to do his very best during his term as President of The Rotary Club of Coventry. Second Vice President Judy Ryan was presented with the Vice President's Medallion and Serena Calder was presented with the Second Vice Presidents Medallion.
Michael thanked Past President Brian Winstanley who had been a member of the club for 38 years, the final 7 as secretary. He wished Brian and Patricia well in their new home in the Cotswolds. Brian responded by saying how friendly and caring the club had been during his time as a member.
Following the singing of The Grace, President Robert opened the meeting up by informing members that the meeting would hear the last of the proposals for celebrating the club centenary in 2021.
Robert invited Vice President Michael Hammon to speak of his proposal which was an avenue of trees on the drive from London Road to the Charterhouse. Originally there had been an avenue of approximately 50 lime and or flowering cherry trees. He was suggesting larger plants as small saplings were difficult to maintain and bring to maturity. The cost would be between £200/£300 per plant which would bring the total cost to between £10,000 and £15,000.
It was anticipated that once planted the trees would be maintained by Charterhouse.
Such a venture would be a one off cost to the club and therefore self-sustaining when the trees were established.
Robert reminded members of his proposal which had been circulated in an email and contained a table with a menu of items outlining costs of the proposal for setting up facilities in a community room and garden which would be used by community groups and people and special needs.
The cost was high at £52,000 but provided a goal to which the club could aim and which fitted well and Rotary values.
It would be a facility which would be available as a focal point for the educational and social needs of the community well into the future.
All of the details of centenary project proposals have been circulated to members in recent emails. The final decision will be made via a postal vote to all members who will be asked to vote for one international project and on of the Chaterhouse proposals. Information and voting forms will be given to members attending the Handover Dinner or by post.
Secretary Ros reminded members of the Handover evening Dinner.
Robert thanked Serena and her helpers for a very successful coffee morning which raised well over £300.
Following the singing of The Grace, President Robert asked all members to join him in wishing Past President Sid Creed a happy 90th birthday by singing Happy Birthday.
Robert went on to comment on the recent photograph of Rotarian Pru which had recently appeared in the Coventry Telegraph showing her in her role as Coventry Carnival Queen in 1977.
Also Ian Talbot was congratulated on completing The Two Castles Run successfully on Sunday.
Before calling on Past President Ray Thompson to give his presentation on his suggestion for an International Centenary Project, Robert pointed out that not week will see a further two short presentations before members decide on which project to take forward.
Ray was proposing that we should celebrate our centenary by supporting the building of a school in Peru. The proposal is supported is supported by the Vocational Service and Youth Activities Committee and links into plans already in place at the Interact Club PK to send students to Peru. Ray was keen to emphasise the point that the future of Rotary depends on encouraging and nurturing young people.
Why was Ray suggesting Peru? Education provision in rural areas of the country is very patchy and schools if they exist are very rudimentary. Three days education a week is the most children can expect.
Pupils will spend 4 weeks helping build a school which will help to develop their own life skills and confidence.
The practicalities are undertaken by an organisation called Camps International, a British registered charity, which Ray has investigated the company accounts and he is confident they show them to be sound and profitable.
For each pupil the cost to Camps International is £4000, 42% of which goes to building materials and tools. Ray is proposing that we fund the 42% element and this would allow us to support 17 students. There is a Rotary club in Cusco and it would be hoped we could partner up with when the project was in place.
We were pleased to welcome 10 President Kennedy Interact Club students and their teacher Michelle Arnott to the final part of our meeting. After welcoming them and asking Michelle to say a few words Robert presented her with a cheque for £500.
Following The Grace President Robert reminded members that Serena was hosting a coffee morning on Saturday 16th June where her special ban rolls will be available.
Robert then invited Past President Ken Holmes to give his presentation on a proposed project for celebrating the club's centenary in 2021.
Ken would like the club to support a project to give 100 orphans and vulnerable children in Chiedza, Zimbabwe the chance of having an education making them less vulnerable to exploitation.
Rotary has supported The International Children's Trust for a number of years but it is a while since we had a prestigious Global Grant and this project gives us the opportunity to move into the international scene once again.
Establishing a childcare centre would work to re-engage youngsters who are regarded as 'one the scrap heap' by working with groups of the children in the poorest areas of Harare.
Our club could work alongside the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour in Australia and also draw on support from USAID and UKAID.
There are some concerns around money going in to Zimbabwe but all evaluation of the work of The International Children's Trust in Chiedza shows it has come up to scratch. UKAID has, in fact, invited the charity to apply for money to further its work. Working together with partners would enable us to apply for matched funding and a Global Grant from Rotary International.
Ken is suggesting the club initially raise £5000 to get the project off the ground.
Roma thanked Ken for his presentation and Robert added that next week Past President Ray Thompson will give his presentation on a scheme to build a school in Peru.
Following the singing of The Grace President Robert reminded members that Serena was hosting a coffee morning on Saturday 16th June where her special bacon rolls will be available.
Robert went on to ask members to be prepared to help with the upcoming Technology Exhibition which is being set up on Monday 20th June and judged on Tuesday 21st June. There is a need to look for sponsorship if the future of this special event is to be safeguarded.
Robert was also pleased to share the news that Vice President Michael Hammon had been made an Honoury Alderman of Coventry in recognition of his distinguished service to the city.
Our speaker was Rene Whitlock, representing The Friends of The Memorial Park. Rene has lived in Coventry for most of her life where she attended Stoke Park School, later going on to follow a secretarial course at The Technical College.
She became interested in The Memorial Park because she had an uncle who was killed in World War 1 and his family, like many others, planted a tree in his memory. Many of those trees can still be seen in the park today.
There are many features in the park which was opened in 1921 and they have been improved and refurbished since the awarding of a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant of £2.8 million in 2010.
The remains of the air raid shelter have been uncovered, the Rose Garden has been established using Coventry Cathedral Roses, the German Garden has been laid out and the children's playground has been extended. There is also a history trail and an outdoor fitness trail.
Plans for the future include the building of a Crazy Golf Course, a fitness trail event and taking part in the two upcoming Heritage Weekends.
Big plans are in preparation for building of a new band stand and for the celebration on the centenary of the opening of the park in 2021 which just happens to be Coventry's City of Culture year.
Past President David Cule who is also a 'Friend of The Memorial Park' was pleased to offer Rene a vote of thanks for her informative talk and Robert presented her with a cheque to aid the work of The Friends.
President Robert opened the meeting by greeting members after his holiday. He had recently enjoyed visiting Inner Wheel for the 82nd Dinner and had a very enjoyable time.
Robert introduced our special guest David Robinson, District Governor, who brought greetings from Coventry North Rotary Club.
Robert handed over the chair to Vice President Michael Hammon who invited each of the committee chairs to present their annual reports.
Martin Cooper, chair of the Community Service Committee, opened his remarks by thanking Past President Harold Smart for his long service with Coventry Sea Cadets and his work with them on behalf of Rotary. He was pleased with the success of Kare Adenegan who we had sponsored and he further thanked Past President John Hartley for his hard work. Martin announced that he was stepping down as chair and Tim Sawdon would be taking over. Martin would be continuing his sterling work with Santa's Sleigh.
The report from the Vocational Service Committee was presented by Bill Parkinson who would shortly be taking over as chair on the retirement of Past President Brian Winstanley. Bill was pleased to report a year of successful events: Youth Speaks had more teams than ever: 22 schools had taken part in the Design Technology Exhibition: President Kennedy Interact Club and Roteract at Coventry University were both still functioning and a new Interact Club is soon to be established at Blue Coat School. Past President Ray Thompson has offered a range of social and fellowship events which had been well attended and enjoyed by members and friends.
Past President Ken Holmes gave the report from the International Service Committee. The International children's Trust would be a focus for support in their vital work with children at risk from the root causes of poverty in Zimbabwe. The Festival of Christmas Trees had been bigger than ever and along with the grand concert had raised over £1500. Get ready for this year 10-15th December!!
The Foundation Committee report was delivered by Second Vice President Judy Ryan. Among other things the committee had organised a dinner in its efforts to raise £2500. Next year there were also plans for a dinner, a coffee morning at the Life Path Trust and a joint venture with the International Committee.
In his address Vice President Michael spoke of his dislike of change for changes sake. He was a traditionalist and when change was needed it should be steady. He was a team player. In considering our Charterhouse Project we must take into consideration viability. Michael felt strongly that charity should begin at home and we need to look near home for worthy local needs. Membership would be strong on his agenda next year and he aimed to increase membership to at least 45. We need to examine our activities, investigate Corporate Membership and target the recently retired. His ambition was to to serve the Rotary Club of Coventry to the best of his ability.
David Robinson spoke about his time as District Governor. He went on to congratulate the club on the range and strength of its activities.