8:00 a.m. April 17, 2022
Derek James asks us to raise a cup, a Care Cuppa, and toast with him…to the Rotary club celebrating its centenary by helping others.
There will never be enough space…to talk about the support, encouragement and total help to people of all ages at home and around the world spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Norwich.
From the people of Norfolk and Norwich to the children of Africa and many more.
It is quite extraordinary to consider what they have achieved since their formation following a rally at the Royal Hotel in Norwich in 1922.
While so many organizations have collapsed, Rotary has changed with the times but in doing so has never forgotten the motto “Service Above Self”. Three words that say a lot.
The club was the first of its kind in East Anglia – and there are now 66 clubs with around 1,700 members raising funds and volunteering for many good causes at home and abroad.
Over the past 100 years, the club has helped so many international organizations and causes in areas such as health, poverty, education, humanitarian projects and disaster relief across the world.
People in India, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Malawi, Philippines, Haiti and many more have been helped by club members in Norwich.
In 1971, thanks to the beloved Percy Howes, the Rotary Court was opened and six years later the wonderful Rotary House for the Deaf opened on King Street in the city.
It was in 1993 that the club voted to invite female members – and since then there have been and still are amazing female ambassadors.
The likes of the late Hilary King, an influential member and former president who organized the Rotary Young Leaders Award program and the Young Citizen’s Award.
The club partnered with other clubs to raise large sums of money for Boudicca’s appeal to set up a dedicated breast cancer unit at the University Hospital of Norfolk and Norwich.
The president in this centennial year is Aliona Derrett and she told me about Cuppa Care.
“To commemorate our first 100 years, we have launched a long-term project – Cuppa Care – which focuses on ‘preventing and reducing social isolation and loneliness in Norwich,'” she said.
This may be due to poverty, disability, age, gender, lack of accessible local support and information services, remoteness, poor transport or other needs.
“To achieve our goal of preventing loneliness and isolation in our city and county, we are working jointly on the Cuppa Care Project with a number of well-known, established and experienced local organizations,” Aliona said.
They include Hear for Norfolk (Norfolk Deaf Association), Vision Norfolk (NNAB), Age UK Norwich and Norfolk, Norfolk LGBT+ Project, Norfolk Citizens Advice Bureau, Norfolk & Waveney Mind and the County Wellbeing Service.
The common goal shared by all the partners in this project is the prevention and reduction of the experience of loneliness and isolation of the people of Norfolk.
The plan is to purchase a vehicle that will be converted into a purpose-built Cuppa care bus, equipped with a range of information and facilities for making refreshments. The idea is to bring together the community of Norfolk… bigger than ever today.
It’s all about camaraderie and reducing loneliness and isolation.
“While the project was initiated by our club in Norwich, the plan from the outset was to take the Cuppa Care bus to various locations across Norfolk, making the service accessible and available to our urban and rural communities,” said Aliona.
At the moment, Cuppa Care is operating out of a van borrowed from Hear for Norfolk while members wait for a new one to be delivered and converted…and it’s going to cost money.
Capital and running costs are piling up, but what a wonderful project – the people of Norfolk are helping each other and introducing a service that for some will be a lifesaver.
The club is also looking for people who would be interested in volunteering on the bus and training and support will be offered.
To celebrate the centenary, The Rotary Club of Norwich is hosting a fundraising dinner at Norwich City Football Club on May 14 where the speaker will be General Richard Dannatt, Baron Dannatt, and entertainment will be provided by the RAF Honington Band.
If you would like to help in any way, make a donation or attend the dinner, please go to [email protected] and to find out more about the Centenary Rotary Club of Norwich click on www.rotaryclubnorwich.co.uk