Rotary evening club open for more members: How to get involved

Bucks Free Press: The team at the Dragon Boat event The team at the Dragon Boat event

HAVE you ever wanted to find out more about what the Rotary Club in High Wycombe does, but have been unable to make the day time meetings due to work commitments? A group of women and men who felt the same have now set up an evening club, which meets every two weeks.

The evening branch of the Rotary Club of High Wycombe was set up in October and they meet at Eat Thai in Easton Street. They enjoy a meal together, although stress this is not compulsory, and then get down to the knitty gritty of helping charities in the area.

Together Louise Rollins and Valerie Jenkins set up the club, aimed at the over 30s, and is for people who typically work or have young families. There are currently 10 members.

Member Sharon Kirby said: "It is about a group of people coming together, enjoying a meal or a glass of wine, if that is appropriate, and inviting in local charities and working out how we can help them."

They are currently working with The Matrix Centre, which is based at Wycombe Wanderers Football Club. Students from schools in the area can go to the centre at Adams Park after school and work on fun activities aimed at improving literacy and numeracy levels and ICT skills.

It also offers a variety of daytime programmes both at the centre and in schools, and also caters for adults and a variety of students with particular needs, including transition issues and behaviour modification.

The club is also working with One Can Trust, which helps facilitate both community-led and community-based projects to help change lives for the better.

Valerie said: "We are quite proactive. We see an opportunity and we invite people in. We went down one Sunday morning with the One Can Trust and helped out."

They are also working with the Down's Syndrome Association with its WorkFit initiative, which aims to help young people get ready for paid employment.

Valerie said: "We are going to take on as a group eight to 10 young people with Down's Syndrome and help them develop their skills, get work experience and get them ready for paid employment.

"That is in the early stages."

Chiltern Open Air Museum gave the club a talk recently and they are on the WorkFit programme.

At the Dragon Boat race at the end of last month the evening club entered a team, dressed as Princess Leia. They raised £1,500 for Rotary charities.

They also welcome what they call "Friends of Rotary"- people who do not want to be a regular member but who want to help with a particular project. They currently have nine "friends."

Sharon, who is 42 and has two children, six and seven, said: "You can fit it in. It is a very small commitment. There is no great pressure on people. You decide what you can and cannot give."

Valerie, who is 46, and has a seven-year-old, said: "I had no idea about the level of poverty in this area. It really has opened my eyes to that. There are a lot of volunteers in this area doing such great work.

"It is quite humbling. You do no realise how much people are giving. It is a chance to support them."

The next meeting is on July 24 at Eat Thai in Easton Street, High Wycombe from 7.30 to 9.30pm. To find out more email Sharon at sharonjkirby@gmail.com

To find out more about the Rotary Club of High Wycombe go to http://www.rotary-ribi.org/clubs/homepage.php?ClubID=543

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