Doing Good with ShelterBox in the Phillipines

Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in the Philippines are now homeless and without clean water or food in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Their situation is desperate.

With winds of 195mph, the typhoon is the largest storm ever recorded to make landfall and current reports indicate that upwards of 10,000 people may have lost their lives. Further reports are filtering through of ‘utter devastation’ across the main city of Tacloban and the islands of Samar and Leyte. The need to get shelter and essential aid to those affected is immense.

Rotary’s Project Partner ShelterBox has moved quickly to put teams on the ground in the Philippines and they are moving emergency shelter and other vital aid already located in the Philippines and neighbouring countries to the worst affected areas.

The ShelterBox solution in disaster response is as simple as it is effective – they deliver the essentials a family needs to survive in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Each large, green ShelterBox is tailored to a disaster but typically contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, groundsheets, water storage and filtration equipment, cooking utensils, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items.

Rotary clubs throughout the world have been supporting ShelterBox in this vital work and this week President Sammy was pleased to hand Shelter Box Representative Gerry Walsh a donation of £31,270 to help those affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

The scale of the contribution has been made possible by the generosity of a single anonymous donor, who recently gave the Club a donation of £30,000 to help our Disaster Appeal. With the Club’s support ShelterBox will be sending 53 additional ShelterBoxes to help people left homeless and destitute by the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan last week.

You can see the contents of a Shelter Box for yourself at the Tettenhall Christmas lights switch on event this Saturday, 23rd November at Tettenhall Green from 4 o’clock and we’ll be collecting more donations from members of the public to help ShelterBox carry on their vital work.

Doing Good with Wolverhampton’s Youth Orchestras

The work of two Tettenhall Rotarians and their support for the work of Wolverhampton’s Youth Orchestras has been recognised by the award of special Paul Harris Fellow Sapphire Awards.

The Youth Orchestras provide children and young people throughout the City with an opportunity to learn to play an instrument and to perform. Many go on to reach high standards across several instruments, which is testament to their own talent and dedication and to the invaluable support which the Wolverhampton Music School and conductors Keith Sedgebeer and Ian Brailsford provide.

Thanks to the work of Rotarians David Cave and Alan Russell, along with Ken Dolman of the Rotary Club of Bilston, in promoting and supporting the Orchestras fundraising efforts each year the Orchestras have the opportunity to take the show onto the road – performing in a series of concerts throughout Europe.

Over £150,000 has been raised to support Summer tours to Malta, Italy, Spain and many other European countries since the Rotary Clubs of Wolverhampton first started their support for these annual tours 21 years ago – providing hundreds of local youngsters with a  fantastic experience that otherwise would be out of the reach of many of them.

The Paul Harris Fellow Award is named in honour of the founder of Rotary and recognises the exemplary contribution made by individuals to further the Rotary’s aims. For both David and Alan this is the second time that they been honoured with the Award which was presented to them tonight by Rotary District Governor Barry Picken.

Doing Good with the Midlands Air Ambulance

The Midlands Air Ambulance is the largest and busiest of the nation’s air ambulances flying 3,000 missions each year and an amazing 40,000 missions since the first launch in 1991.

Whilst the value of the service is beyond measure to the patients helped by the air ambulance each mission carries a £2,500 cost which is very much in the minds of those responsible for providing the service. We were joined this evening by CEO Hannah Sebright and Fundraising Director Jason Levy to give us an insight into the operation of the service.

The Air Ambulance receives no Government or Lottery funding and is dependant upon the support of the community it serves in order to raise its annual running costs of £6.5 million. In order to ensure that this vital service remains available a five year plan for sustainability is being implemented which has already helped them to extend the Air Ambulances flying hours with the aim of moving towards the provision of night flights.

To date Tettenhall and other Rotary Clubs with the charity’s area have donated over £1,000,000 to help keep the Air Ambulance flying but its not only by donating money that we help. Working with Club member Simon Maddox the Air Ambulance has recently moved into a new headquarters building in Lye. As well as providing improved working conditions which have helped to raise staff morale the move has resulted in a reduction in operating costs of 50%.