Rotary Santa brings new wave of hope to Ravenshead and Blidworth

Great news for the children of Ravenshead and Blidworth! Santa has announced that he will be doing his local rounds this year but has asked children to take special care and wave from the safety of their homes when he comes to their street.

While Santa’s reindeer build their strength for their big night on Christmas Eve, local Ravenshead and Blidworth Rotary Club have stepped in to help pull the sleigh as Santa makes his tour of the villages between the 7th and 17th December.

“Sadly,” says Santa, “I won’t be able to hand out sweets in the way I normally do, but I will be giving an extra cheery wave as I pass by.”

Full details of Santa’s timetable and route are available at https://www.wavetosanta.org/routes

Vital help for local foodbanks

Local foodbanks especially are hoping that residents will show their support by making donations online to the Rotary Santa appeal.  Says local Rotary Club President Richard Lord, “People are always so generous when putting money into the buckets as Santa makes his rounds.  This year is different but donations are needed more than ever and we implore people to go online and give their support at https://www.wavetosanta.org/donate”.

Much of the money raised by Santa will go directly to local foodbanks which are under greater pressure than ever this year. Rotary has long-standing links with two organisations which are desperate for their help.

Between them so far in 2020, Sherwood Community Church and The Social Action Hub have received donations from Rotary totalling over £2600.  Money has come directly from the Ravenshead and Blidworth Club and via a regional Rotary4foodbanks programme which bulk buys food at discount prices.  The scheme supports around 50 foodbanks across the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.

With the help of donations from Rotary, The Social Action Hub based in Rainworth has delivered 16,633 meals to local people and families in need since the start of the first lockdown.  A food action scheme run by Sherwood Forest Community Church in Blidworth has helped 291 families so far this year with over 1500 meals delivered.  They are looking to brighten Christmas for many by providing 100 hampers to local families in the next couple of weeks.

Santa delivers much needed Rotary4Foodbanks items to Mark Himsworth of Sherwood Forest Community Church

“There is no way we could provide the vital help we do for some of the neediest in our community without the donations made by Rotary Club,” says the Hub’s food share co-ordinator Amelia Betts.

Both organisations report a flood of new clients seeking their support. Explains Sherwood Community Church’s Mark Himsworth: “We don’t operate any means-testing of those seeking our support – we just help everyone who is clearly in need.  And we are seeing many new first time users of our foodbank services, people who previously would never have imagined they would need to use foodbanks to prevent their children from going hungry.”

Both Mark and Amelia expect the demand for their services to increase in the New Year.  Says Mark, “People are always generous around Christmas time and we appreciate that, but the problem is going to get worse from January as redundancies increase and the furlough scheme ends.  Rotary’s long-term commitment to support our work means so much to organisations like ours and the people we help.”

More than just food support

Both charities do so much more than just providing food.  They offer moral and practical support for some of the most isolated and vulnerable in society.  Mark gives an example:

“Single mum Mary (not her real name) had moved to Blidworth with her children.  She knew no-one and was totally socially isolated.  She has serious health issues and needed support.  She contacted us and we stepped in to help. We provided food, helped get her children into the local school and used our Blidworth on the Move transport scheme to ensure she could attend hospital appointments.  When she had to spend time in hospital, it was us she turned to, to arrange for her own mum to come from out of the area to look after her children.  It is a holistic approach to caring for the most vulnerable in our community.  Donations from Rotary play a vital part in keeping that service going.”

Make your donations here…

To donate to the Rotary Club appeal visit https://www.wavetosanta.org/donate or to make a donation to Rotary4foodbanks visit - https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/rotary4foodbanks