May 302020

9th June 2020 at 13:00

Rotary’s Business Networking lunch scheduled for 9th June has been reschedule for 27th October 2020 due to the Covid-19 epidemic. The speaker from the Bank of England will present his “off the record look at the UK economy, drawing on the most recent Bank of England Inflation Report at that time”.

However, to sustain continuity of our support for the local business community we have arranged a virtual session on the 9th June 2020 using the Zoom platform when Mr. Phil Eckersley, Agent of the Bank of England for East Anglia and the South East, will provide an update on the economy and an insight into the current activities of the Bank of England. The session will last about one hour and comprise the presentation by Mr. Eckersley and a Q&A session.

The 9th June 2020 event is already well supported by a spectrum of people from the local and peripheral business communities. There is still opportunity for more to participate. You can register your interest by 6th June 2020 with Tony Muckley, Leader of Business Networking for Gravesend Rotary, by emailing him at .  We look forward to seeing you there.

May 292020

Our (former) street boys have left the Sunshine Centre to live with their families, and are therefore back in the conditions that drove them to the streets in the first place.

During May, the Sunshine Centre team distributed another round of emergency packs to all of our boys and their families.

Each pack contained 10 kg of beans, 10 kg of maize, 2 kg of rice, 24 kg of maize meal, 3 litres of cooking oil and 4 large bars of soap, supplemented with spinach and kale from the Sunshine Centre farm.

The team organised transport to ensure that the heavy emergency packs reached the families’ homes safely.

In total we reached 131 families, a total of 795 beneficiaries (we are helping the whole family, not just ‘our’ Sunshine Boy).


More about Footsteps International

May 122020

The £1000 grant money from our Club and local District 1120 received at the end of last month is already being put to excellent use.

The Sunshine Centre, schools, hotels and tourism all remain closed. The resulting impact, particularly on the poorest people, has been huge.

Last month Footsteps International supplied emergency food and hygiene packs to 200 families, a total of just over 1,100 beneficiaries. As well as providing much needed practical help, it reassured people that they had not been forgotten at this difficult time.

Each food parcel has a certificate acknowledging Rotary’s contribution

This was very successful and achieved safely, (you may have seen news items in other countries where delivering food particularly to those who very little has caused riots)

Last week, the team started to procure and pack the food and hygiene materials for the next wave of aid which they intend to start distributing to families this week.

More information about Footsteps International and help from Rotary

Chris Keeble

May 022020

Like most organisations, we have had to curtail many activities and find new ways of working. It is a challenge but some of the changes may turn out to be permanent.


The most obvious change is the cancellation of face-to-face meetings such as our weekly lunch and our committee meetings. Here, like many organisations, we have discovered Zoom video conferencing. While not as good as meeting in person, it works remarkably well and may become a permanent feature for some meetings.


It has been a great disappointment to postpone On Your Bike to September with no certainty that it can take place then. This means we are unable to give about £12,000 funding to charities and organisations at a time when they are desperately short of income. At the time of writing it is uncertain whether our business networking lunch in June will take place.

Helping the community

As nearly all our members are in the “vulnerable” category we are very limited in the “hands on” help we can give. However, we are able to help by spending the reserves in our charity account. We have given £500 to Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services. We were able to secure a grant from the Rotary Foundation to add to a £500 donation from our funds to Footsteps International making a total of £1,000.

As we will not be paying for our weekly lunches we are giving the money we save to charity. Most of us are helping Hive Hope food bank in Northfleet with regular donations.

Text ‘2020OYB’  to 70470

A novel departure for us is the use of mobile phone text giving. Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services would have received a large donation from On Your Bike but will now have to wait until we can hold the event – at a time it desperately needs more income. To help it out we have started a campaign to raise money for it by inviting people to give £5 by texting ‘2020OYB’  to 70470. We are waiting with interest to find out how successful this appeal will be.