Rotary Club Of Warwick

Nov19 - Rotary Club host “virtual” Civic Lunch

Well they say there’s no such thing as a free lunch – but this year the Rotary Club couldn’t even feed their guests at their annual Civic Lunch! Due to Covid restrictions the club continues to meet each week on Zoom and this week 15 members joined guests for a virtual meeting to catch up on what each has been doing during the Covid lockdown.

The Rotary Club welcomed Cllr Martyn Ashford, Chair of Warwick District Council, Cllr Terry Morris, Mayor of Warwick, and Jayne Topham, Town Clerk, to their meeting on November 18th.

Rotarian Alan Bailey started by explaining lockdown meant that all the club’s events had been cancelled – Thai festival, Town Bonfire, and Carols at the Castle. Whereas last year £35,000 was donated to good causes, this year nothing has been raised at all! Club members are frustrated by not being able to get out and raise funds but have used their reserves and grants from Rotary District to find £5,000 to help local charities. 14 small grants have been made to the Foodbank, Evelyns Gift, Warwickshire Scrubbers, food parcels for needy families, and other charities. Eventually in September the President was able to deliver the Dictionaries for Life to local primary schools. The scholars lunch was also held on Zoom in October with 4 schools participating.

Cllr Martyn Ashford said the District Council had needed to adapt rapidly to working from home with virtual meetings and focussed on ensuring the safety of everyone across the District. A hub was set up with volunteers who ensured the homeless were moved off the street into accommodation and worked with partner organisations to ensure meals were delivered to the vulnerable. Staff worked around the clock to process £31.5 m of small business grants to 2,000 local businesses and issued a newsletter to all households giving contact numbers for assistance. President David Brain asked him to thank staff for their efforts and keeping Warwick parks and gardens nice to cheer us all up.

Cllr Terry Morris regretted that most of his Civic Calendar had ceased with the Mop, Thai festival, Carols and Bonfire cancelled, although he was able to lay a wreath on Remembrance Day. Instead he has become cheerleader for the Town celebrating the work of local charities and the re-opening of shops and new business. The Town Council set up a Covid 19 grant scheme to help local charities quickly to maintain their essential services. The Town Council had lost income as the Banqueting suite was closed to events and weddings, but staff in the Tourist office have adapted to marketing through their website and remote working. They are currently supporting the Tree of Lights campaign which will provide cheer in Warwick Market square over Christmas. Cards and gifts are still available if you contact them by phone or e-mail.

A lively question and answer session followed with subjects ranging from the traffic proposals in Warwick, and the future of the Leper hospital.

President David Brain said he looked forward to the close co-operation between the District and Town Council’s continuing and agreed that adaptability was critical to maintaining our work in the community of Warwick. He wished the Chairman and Mayor well for the remainder of their year in office and promised them a lunch when we can all meet again!