Oct 172019

Meopham Valley Vineyard held an open day and wine tasting on Saturday 28 September and a party from our club went to see and sample the produce. The vineyard is on the valley slopes behind Pitfield Green at Meopham.

We were able to see the five acres of vines of seven varieties and taste the grapes. Then on to the stall where we could discuss the wines with the proprietor Ben Bassi and his family and taste the wines – varieties of white, rose, red and sparkling.

Earlier this year Meopham Valley Vineyard became a corporate member of the Rotary Club of Gravesend as it is keen to help us promote Rotary ideals of helping both our local community and the underprivileged overseas.

After the visit we moved on to the Cricketers Inn for further refreshment.

Visit MeophamS web site and online shop

Oct 162019

Gravesend’s famous Clock Tower will shine purple from sunset to midnight on Thursday, 24 October, 2019, joining thousands of buildings around the globe for World Polio Day.

Polio now seems a distant memory in the UK although our children are still routinely vaccinated against it. Gravesend Rotary is supporting the global campaign to see the end of the disease once and for all. This time using the tower’s unique floodlighting scheme.

Purple comes from the colour of the ink marking the little finger of every child receiving the polio vaccine drops in the End Polio Now campaign.

Thanks to Rotary, and the support of partners WHO, Unicef, CDC and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, there are now just two countries still classed as endemic: Pakistan and Afghanistan.

To finish the job over two billion doses of oral polio vaccine have to be administered each and every year in over 60 countries until the world is finally certified polio free.

Gravesend Rotary President Andrew Moffat highlighted that the countries might seem distant but with travel as numerous and easy as now then polio could arrive back.

“It still could be only a plane flight away unless it is completely eradicated.”

Gravesend Rotary has also provided 4,000 purple crocus bulbs to be planted in Woodlands Park this month.

Brian Portway

More information about Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign

Oct 152019

On Tuesday evening two of our members Di Trimm and Chris Keeble gave a presentation to the three local Rotary clubs about their trip to Kenya.

The purpose of the visit was to spend 2 weeks in and around The Sunshine Centre in Naivasha, Kenya.

The Centre is organised by two special people, Martin and Mary Print, who raise funds to support the centre which currently has 72 boys living there during school term time.

The Rotary Club of Gravesend has supported their charity FOOTSTEPS INTERNATIONAL over many years.

As members of our International Committee Di and Chris decided, with their partners Malcolm Trimm and Marion Keeble, to go to Kenya to see the work that Martin and Mary were doing.

It turned out to be an incredibly moving and uplifting experience.

As some of the pictures show we were involved in various tasks and had the opportunity to visit the boys’ homes to which they return for the school holidays.

We also visited several  primary and secondary schools and a technical college to which the boys go.

Footsteps International also sends food to other schools in the Kibera Slum in Nairobi which we visited.

It is hard to sum up all the emotions that we experienced but felt that  the money we had sent to  Martin and Mary, over the years, had changed so many lives for the better. It gave the boys the opportunity to develop as individuals and look forward to a life of which some could only dream .

Through the generosity of Rotarians and other friends we have been able to give Footsteps £1,728.50. That is enough to pay for education for 12 boys in primary school for a year.

More information about Footsteps International and how we help it

Primary school class
Helping in the primary school
Meal time in school
Sunshine school buildings
Kara secondary school class
Start of the Marafun half marathon
Queuing for dinner
Home with family
Reservoir in need of renovation
Working on the reservoir
Clearing the reservoir
The well house
Warer purification system for the well
Learning a trade at the technical college
learning welding at the technical college
Mechanical class at technical college
The visiting Rotarians Di & Chris with Malcolm & Marion

If the slideshow above does not display properly in the email version please view it on our web site

Sep 292019

Wrotham Road Primary School has chosen ShelterBox as one the charities it will support by raising funds in this new academic year.

A team from Rotary Club of Gravesend visited the school on 16th September and Chris Keeble spoke to the pupils (see photo above) about disaster relief and the part ShelterBox plays.

On display was a shelterbox together with its contents – stove, utensils, water purifier, blankets etc. Shown in the photo is the family size tent which also fits in the box (the larger green one under the screen).

More about our work for Shelterbox

Click on photos to see them full size

Sep 202019

The three Rotary clubs in Gravesham (Gravesend, Northfleet and Gravesend & Meopham) met on a sunny Sunday afternoon (8 September) to play petanque.

Gravesend Rugby Football Club has top quality petanque courts. The cover over part of the courts is the one recently removed (legally, we are told!) from the car park by Gravesend Market. Some of its members were there to guide the less experienced of us and enforce the rules.

After the games the afternoon was rounded off by a buffet and drinks in the club’s bar.

Sep 192019

At the Gravesham Borough Council quarterly breakfast networking meeting Tony Muckley, Leader of Membership and Business Networking, announced  to the attendees our club’s networking lunch arranged for Monday 28th October 2019.

In brief, Mr. Florian von Steinkeller, CEO of Britannia Refined Metals Ltd, will make a presentation about his operation in Northfleet, its part of the global Glencore Group and its approach to sustainable development, especially the environment and support for the local community. A light lunch, which will be for a relatively small cost, and the presentation will last for about one hour.

If you and/or your colleagues and friends are interested to attend please let Tony know by email to akmuckley@aol.com by 30th September 2019.

The event is an opportunity to hear about a long established local business and to network with like-minded people. There will be opportunities to make contacts and to share experiences about  the opportunities, challenges and responsibilities of operating within the Borough whilst addressing global dynamics. It features within Gravesend Rotary’s programme of activities in support of the evolution of the local business and social communities.

Sep 112019

Many children who rely on free school lunches during school terms risk being undernourished in the holidays if their parents cannot afford to feed them properly.

Hive Hope is a Northfleet charity that runs a food bank but it also provides free lunches for those children during school holidays. During August it did this twice a week.

Members of the Rotary Club of Gravesend helped Hive Hope with these meals, helping with setting up, food preparation and entertaining the children with games. “Our members enjoy helping their community by rolling up their sleeves and giving practical help.” said club president Andrew Moffat “This can give a greater sense of involvement and satisfaction”

More information about Hive Hope and Rotary’s contribution is below these photographs:

View other information about Hive Hope on this site

About Hive Hope

Hive Hope is a charity created to provide hope to the residents of Northfleet and surrounding areas. This area has been identified as one of the neediest in terms of unemployment, low income and social deprivation. 

There are approximately 7,600 residents in Northfleet North, 4.3% are unemployed which compares with an average of 2.9% in Gravesham.

Our primary aim is to provide food for local people in crisis.  We also want to create a place where local people can help each other when times are tough and strengthen community ties. 

The need for an organization like Hive Hope is growing.  In five years we have fed over 1,200 different people on average seven times.  Hive Hope works with other organizations to signpost clients to a whole range of support services including advice on benefits, debt and housing and help with budgeting. 

Rotary has supported Foodbank financially for several years now which has helped us to cover our overheads and provide extras like our Christmas party for local children.

Last year we started offering “Make Lunch” as part of the TLG (Transforming Lives for Good) franchise.  In school holidays we provide free lunches, craft and games to children and their families.  So far this year we have run 13 sessions and served meals to 256 eligible children and 118 eligible parents (eligibility refers to entitlement to free school meals).  This has only been possible due to the sterling efforts of 28 volunteers.  12 of these have been Rotarians or their wives or children.  We could not have served anywhere near this number without the support of Rotary.

Rotary’s commitment to supporting Hive Hope has had a real impact on improving the lives of local people.  Thank you for all that you do.

Deborah Keys (Hive Hope)

Aug 142019
Ben Bassi, director, with Andrew Moffat, club president

At lunch on 12th August 2019 the members of Gravesend Rotary inducted Meopham Valley Vineyard Ltd as a Corporate Member of the Club.  Membership Leader Tony Muckley reintroduced Mr. Ben Bassi, Director of Meopham Valley Vineyard Ltd, to the assembled Club members and recalled that Ben had already attended lunch and supported the Club’s activities on several previous occasions.

Tony recognised Ben’s entrepreneurial work with the wine business and noted several members’ comments on the excellence of the range of wines produced.

President Andrew Moffat took Ben through the induction process as the Principal Representative of the Corporate Member. The President said “I now present to you the badge which all Rotarians are proud to wear and the booklet which gives an introduction to Rotary, here and world-wide. … Rotarians, I present to you Meopham Valley Vineyard Ltd represented here by its Principal Representative in the Club, Ben Bassi. We all welcome you”.

Ben thanked the President and looked forward to participating in the social, networking and “Service above Self” activities of the Club.

Meopham Valley Vineyard online shop: click here

Aug 122019

The annual match of Bat & Trap against Rochester Rotary Club on Sunday resulted in a win by Gravesend and our member Simon Lancaster winning the best batsman cup for the highest score.

We are grateful for the hospitality of the Rochester Club and of Paddy Marsh who hosted the match in her garden following a buffet lunch.

Aug 092019
Theresa May pays tribute to Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign in final PMQs

Outgoing Prime Minister, Theresa May, used her final Prime Minister’s Questions to pay tribute to the work of Rotary International in its fight against polio.Full story: https://www.rotarygbi.org/theresa-may-end-polio-now-pmqs/#EndPolio #PeopleOfAction

Posted by Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland on Thursday, 25 July 2019

Former Prime Minister, Theresa May, paid tribute to Rotary’s work in eradicating polio, in particular to Judith Diment, Chair of the Polio Eradication Advocacy Task Force. It followed a question from Alistair Burt MP, a former Middle East and International Development Minister.

He asked: “Can I thank my Right Honourable Friend for her work supporting and overseeing the health programme which the United Kingdom delivers overseas, particularly vaccination, and most notably polio eradication vaccination for which she has herself  been internationally recognised, and which has saved and safeguarded millions of children’s lives across the world.

He asked: “Does she agree with me that the need to combat misinformation about vaccination is now perhaps as important as it ever has been? And would she …. note the importance of this programme ….

The Prime Minister endorsed Alistair Burt’s comments, adding: “My Right Honourable Friend’s reference about the work on polio enables me to congratulate and commend the work done by my constituent, Judith Diment, with Rotary International in their work against polio.

“It is important that we do combat the disinformation about vaccinations, and ensure that people are willing to have those vaccinations which will change their lives and which will ensure they can lead healthy lives, rather than succumbing to diseases and conditions that can have an impact on their lives.

“I am proud of the fact …. that we have legislated for 0.7% of Gross National Income to be spent on development aid overseas. That is an important element of global Britain, it is an important element of our standing in the world.”

The Annoatated Guide to Ending Polio

Want to know more about polio? See the progress we've made and the steps we're taking to #endpolio now and forever.https://www.endpolio.org/End Polio Now | Rotary International

Posted by Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland on Monday, 15 July 2019

See our End Polio Now project page for more information