Rotary Club of York

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Visit to Headingley Water Treatment Works Frank reports...   On January 15th around 20 from the Club visited this facility which provides water to over 300,000 people in Leeds City. The 800,000 customers of Yorkshire Water each use on average 150 litres of water every day. This  site on the outer edge of Leeds is one of 42 water treatment works which processes 1.24 billion litres of water every day  to their stakeholders.   To put this in context our very knowledgeable guides Adele and Peter proudly boasted that this was the equivalent of providing a cup of water every day to  every person on the planet. 43% is sourced from reservoirs,35% from rivers and 22% from  ground wells. The facilities on the 40 acre site were built in 1995 and we followed the  process from the arrival of the raw  water to the exit into the 45 million litre holding reservoir where  the treated final product is released to the network of distribution pipes for the City of Leeds.The whole processing cycle takes around three hours , is totally automated , with only two people supervising the computer controlled operation. Our informative visit concluded with a traditional afternoon tea in the pleasant surroundings of the adjacent Weetwood Hall Hotel.

Young Womens' Counselling Service Chloe Haines, who heads the YWCS charity in York, was our speaker on January 18th.  She explained that YWCS is a small independent unit of 6 trained volunteers providing vital face to face counselling support to women of limited financial means who are experiencing emotional or mental health difficulties and who seek out the service as a last resort from inadequate NHS and Local Authority support. Women arrive with all sorts of problems – trauma from domestic violence and sexual abuse, single parent and financial difficulties, addiction, breakdown and so on and each receives a pragmatic response based on individual need from the small team of trained women volunteers. The service dealt with over 100 enquiries in the year past and supported 35 women through 1 to 1 counselling, ranging from 6 to 40 sessions. Each counselling session costs £42, of which on average only £15 is recovered from the client. The balance comes from fundraising. The charity would like to expand its work by recruiting further counsellors, for which, Chloe stressed, funds will be needed.

York Master (and Miss) Chefs  Christine and Hazel report... On January 21st at York College, 5 Young Chefs from All Saints School, Millthorpe School and Fulford School took part in the York Rotary Young Chef District Final. Also present were Rotarians Hazel Hart the Young Chef organiser, Christine Watkinson and John Russell. The brief was to cook a healthy 2 course meal for two people for £10 in 2 hours. These youngsters, one had only turned 13 years of age that week, had already won the first heat at their school. Nothing would prepare them for cooking in an industrial size kitchen, a daunting prospect for any amateur chef! Under the careful eye of the judges these youngsters prepared, cooked & presented some outstanding food, and the winner was Joe Rook from All Saints School, who cooked Belgian Meatballs with an apple syrup sauce, homemade paprika spiced chips, lambs lettuce salad with a balsamic glazed dressing followed by profiteroles with homemade raspberry curd, fresh whipped cream and drizzled in chocolate! Quite a feast. The runner up was Evan Williams from Millthorpe School. Joe will now go through to the semi-final at Betty’s in Harrogate on 5th February.

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Helping refugees in Lesbos On February 1st, new member Diane Roworth presented a reflection on her volunteering with a UK Humanitarian Aid charity – Hope and Aid Direct.  HAAD sources everyday items that we all take for granted, such as clothing for men, women and children, bedding, toiletries, children’s toys, nappies, food – and just about anything else needed to keep body and soul together.  This is what we call humanitarian aid. Last December, Diane went to help a 3-truck convoy taking aid to the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios and mainland Greece.  There are 50,000 refugees in Greece, and the system that is processing them is overwhelmed. Thankfully there are many small NGO’s doing what they can to distribute the aid they receive from HAAD and from all over Europe.  Diane helped make distribution drops and unloaded and loaded countless times, helping to move supplies where they were needed the most. Hope and Aid Direct is a charity, that in the words of its founder, Chas Stoner MBE Takes Aid – Not Sides. Diane said the work was emotionally draining, but immensely satisfying. Proceeds from our Rotary Charity Walk on 18th April will be going to HAAD to support their amazing work.  


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Presentation to KYRA Women’s Project. The Community Service Team have made a donation to KYRA Women’s Project, based at the Central Methodist Church in St. Saviourgate, to purchase a new locking cabinet and a flipchart stand. PP Eileen Davis presented the cheque on January 31st to Founder and CEO Yvonne Copley and stayed to meet both volunteer staff and members. Frances Tunstall and Sue Reece-Walker, pictured here with Eileen, are just two of the well-qualified volunteers who work with members through courses, therapies, life-skills training and other events. They support local women to make positive changes to their lives. KYRA’s success is reflected by its membership of around 900 women of all ages.  


All you wanted to know about the Organ and were afraid to ask Sheila reports..     27 members attended the demonstration by Club Secretary Mike at St Edward The Confessor Church at Dringhouses on February 8th. We met for coffee with homemade biscuits and chocolate cake provided by Ros Hay (many thanks Ros) in the lovely new atrium and as usual when there is a group of Rotarians there was an instant buzz!  We then moved into the Church for the demonstration.  Mike Hay ably demonstrated the complex process, and personally having a lack of musical expertise, I had to listen very carefully! I guess that most of us would first notice the organ Pipes above the organ which Mike described as being like penny whistles all of different sizes. St Edwards Organ was produced in the late 70’s by Nigel Church & Co and has around 600 such pipes. Mike thankfully produced a leaflet describing all of the Pedals and Stops and Manuals and demonstrated their use. We listened to various pieces with the Stops going in and out ad infinitum with Mike scooting along the stool.  Fascinating stuff!  

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From small Rotary acorns….     The inspiring talk on February 8th was from John Miles, a member of the Rotary Club of Leatherhead.  In a positive and dynamic presentation, he explained the operation of Global Sight Solutions, a Rotary charity that started as a small operation run by Guildford Rotary Club, providing funding to build eyecare hospitals in India.  Over the years this has now grown, principally with the aid of Rotary Global Grants, into a large and impactful charitable business which have funded 11 hospitals in its first 10 years (and plans for a further 50 in the next ten) and provide 100,000 cataract operations per year.  Unlike some other charities, their approach is to provide the means to set up permanent and sustainable hospitals, run locally with oversight from local Rotary Clubs, rather than “drop-in” services for operations. John’s talk was a fascinating insight into how a UK Rotary Club, working with  Rotary International, on professional business lines, can make a real difference to people across the world.  

The Unsung Heroes of MapAction  Diana reports...    On February 15th we welcomed Nigel Press, Chairman of MapAction, the humanitarian mapping charity.  He explained that MapAction is a non-governmental organisation that specialises in providing mapping for humanitarian emergencies. Humanitarian emergencies often strike without warning, destroying lives and livelihoods within a matter of seconds. In the immediate aftermath, the challenge for those responding is to know where to start.  Information is vital:  What has happened and which area has been worst affected? Where are the most vulnerable people?  What has happened to roads, railways and communication networks?   Where are medical supplies and where are they needed most?  Who is available to be deployed from Map Action to the disaster scene? MapAction has the capacity to deploy a fully trained and equipped humanitarian mapping and information management team anywhere across the globe within 24-48 hours.  The team gathers all the crucial data at the disaster scene, conveying it visually in the form of maps. By creating this ‘shared operational picture’ for aid agencies, governments and local partners, they can help them make informed decisions and deliver aid and emergency supplies to the right place, quickly. MapAction’s work depends on a group of over 90 skilled and dedicated volunteer first responders, backed by a small paid staff of 5. The volunteers, from all over the UK (including York), and all of whom have day jobs, spend one weekend a month on training programmes. Nigel has thrown down the MapAction Rotary 2019/20 Challenge to aim to get 100 Clubs giving £500 each for each year.  

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