Rotary's biggest project in 100 years - and 110,000 jabs later

Torbay Weekly

Rotary Newton Abbot continues to marshal the car park at the vaccination centre at Newton Abbot racecourse as part of a huge community effort.

For over 12 months there have been over 90 individuals marshalling inside and outside the centre with colleagues of the Rotary Club of Dartmoor Vale and other organisations.

It is believed this community project has been the biggest in the 100 years of the club , with somewhere in the region of 110,000 vaccinations delivered by the centre and thousands of volunteer hours.

It started to slow down before Christmas but with the Omicron variant appearing there was an increased demand for Boosters and the younger members of the community taking up the opportunity to have the vaccine over the holiday period with clinics most days. February has seen a slow down with clinics expected for two days each week.

Since the beginning visiting patients have generously donated over £7,000 , the club have been quick to redistribute this with over £5,000 passed on to 16 charities in the autumn all getting at least £400, primarily Newton Abbot charities. Next week club members will be deciding where to give another £2,000 – charity nominations from centre volunteers have been compiled.

Coronavirus has been quite a challenge to many organisations , Newton Abbot Rotary have adapted and been particularly active where possible , enjoying its highest ever membership in its centennial year.

Membership stands at 72 members both male and female with a age range of 21 to 93 years coming from all walks of life. Corporate membership has been particularly successful with the highest amount of business members out of the 84 clubs in the southwest district.

Membership lead Rotarian Martin Smith explained: ‘’The club has removed the word ‘club’ from its title and is now known as Rotary Newton Abbot. We welcome all who share the same ethos of supporting the community where needed financially but more often with time and talents’’.

At present Newton Abbot meet at Dainton Park Golf Club very first and third Tuesday for a meal , fellowship and to discuss projects and requests as well as via Zoom on the second and fourth Tuesday

It is hoped the zoom meetings will be replaced very soon with physical meetings.

A number of events are planned to celebrate the 100 years including a civic reception at Newton’s Place and a granite Rotary Roundel to be installed in Courtenay Street.

Annual fund raising events include two golf days and it is hoped the wheelbarrow race will return after an absence of two years as part of the Newton Abbot Carnival. The gardening group of members and partners will continue to spruce up the town centre particularly Golden Lion Square, Newton’s Place and assist at local charity Meadowside in Highweek Road.