April 28, 2022

Stephen Ellis, District Governor - Polio, Ukraine, Champions Awards 2022

Purple for Polio

Sadly, a case of wild polio was reported in Pakistan, after the country had gone nearly 15 months without a case. Below is Rotary’s statement on this issue which I would like to share with you all.

Rotary statement on WPV1 case in Pakistan

22 April 2022

After nearly 15 months without any reported cases of wild polio in Pakistan, a 15-month-old boy in North Waziristan was paralyzed by the wild poliovirus. 

Pakistan’s Polio Emergency Operations Centers have deployed teams to conduct a full investigation of the recent case, while emergency immunization campaigns are underway to prevent further spread of the wild poliovirus to other parts of Pakistan and across the Afghan border.

While this news is disappointing, it is not entirely unexpected. Despite record-low case counts, throughout 2021, polio surveillance in Pakistan has detected positive environmental samples indicating that the virus continues to circulate in parts of the country.

As the Global Polio Eradication Initiative responds urgently to the new case, Rotary members in Pakistan will work to raise awareness about the importance of polio immunization and advocate with the government to prioritize eradication.

The case in Pakistan underscores the fact that our work is not over, and any complacency can hinder the polio program’s progress. It is critical that Rotary members around the world intensify their efforts to raise funds for PolioPlus, so that we can provide the funding necessary to respond to any new cases of polio in polio-endemic and outbreak countries. At the same time, Rotary members can be proud of the work they have done to bring wild polio case counts to a historic low, and can continue to leverage this momentum to make polio eradication a reality.

Support the Rotary Foundation.

Aid to Ukraine

Sadly we are seeing no let up to the Russian aggression in Ukraine and the wide spread destruction to homes and infrastructure.

The District and Inner Wheel Ukraine Appeal has so far received £110,000 in donations from the Clubs and individual members along with Inner Wheel, so far we have distributed £50,000 to RC Kosice to support the reception centre in Eastern Slovakia and £5000 to RC Rousse Danube to support their work with some of the most helpless refugees coming over the border into Bulgaria.

We plan to distribute further funds during May and will be bidding for some funds from the Rotary Disaster Fund.

To add to the £110,000 donated to the District Appeal and I estimate that another £100,000 has been donated direct to Ukraine and other charities by our Clubs and members giving a total of approximately £200,000 raised.

I suspect the Ukraine will be the focus of support for a long time to come.

Phase 1 is now and that is financial aid.

Phase 2 is supporting the displaced people of Ukraine as they arrive in the       UK.

Phase 3 will be repatriation and the rebuilding of lives and infrastructure.

We do not know how long this conflict will last, what we do know is that the vast majority of Ukrainians will want to return home as soon as possible, and the devastation and destruction to the infrastructure will take years to restore.

So we will need to plan our response carefully going forward and use the knowledge of those contacts we all have in Ukraine and work with them.

My thanks go to all the members of Rotary and Inner Wheel for their commitment to help Ukraine.

Rotary Woking As One.

The Champions Awards 2022

This year we entered 4 nominations into the Rotary Champions Award competition when they will be recognized at the Rotary Volunteer Expo in May at the NEC in Birmingham.

All the nominations from district were first class and produced 2 national winners.

Bex Wilson the founder of Zarach has delivered over 1500 beds and delivered additional services to address food poverty in Leeds.

The Charity has also supplied school uniforms to around 200 children, provided meals to families during school holidays, given 150 families an Easter picnic hamper, and run numerous Christmas campaigns providing families and children with food and gifts.

Zarach has also turned houses into homes, set up a pre-loved furniture project and delivered a carpet supply and fitting campaign.

In November 2021, a book entitled ‘Zed Ted’ and authored by Bex Wilson was published, 50% of the proceeds were donated to Zarach.

Bex was nominated by the Rotary Club of Leeds and Bex will receive a Community Champion Award.

Our second national winner is Sandra Ellis who along with her husband Graham founded a local community project in Cleethorpes “Enough is Enough’.

The project is centered around Daubney Street where the couple have lived for over 53 years.

 Before Sandra and Graham took on their role looking after their community    when their street was plagued with antisocial behavior which included  drunken  episodes, urinating in the street, vandalism to cars and property resulting in those living in the street been afraid to come out.

One day Sandra and Graham said ‘Enough is Enough’ and took the bull by the horns and turned it all around with fantastic results. They now have a community that talk to each other and help each other.

Anti-social behavior and all that went along with it has all disappeared. Assistance has also enabled the group to continue and spread their good work further afield to other needy groups such as the Hedgehog Centre, Macmillian, Chiari Malformation and the local Mayors Fund.

For turning this community around to be the envy of others and talked about by many has earned Sandra a Rotary Community Champion Award, Sandra was nominated by the Rotary Club of Cleethorpes.

Our first runner up is Martin Sawdon who created the Exodus Project in 2000 along with his wife Jackie, initially with one activity club in Barnsley it has now grown to 16 clubs.

The Charity operates mid-week activity clubs in two age-ranges; 8-11 years known as Kidzclubs and youth groups known as Rock Solid, leaders visit children from younger age groups in their homes to build trusting relationships with the parents.

When they reach 14, youth members are encouraged to become junior leaders in the Kidzclubs,

Once they exceed the maximum age many youngsters volunteer to come back to assist with the running of the groups.

Martin continues to manage the projects operations and development and is enthusiastic when sharing his knowledge and experience with others wishing to set up similar projects.

Martin was nominated by Rotary Club Normanton and will receive a District Citation.

Our other runner up is Nick Huby nominated by the Rotary Club of Roundhay for his role as a volunteer Community First Responder for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service where he has supported his community for over 5 years.

Nick has saved many lives attending many call outs which could prompt cardiac arrest, over the last 2 years he has made himself available for over 3000 hours and attended hundreds of patients at a traumatic time throughout COVID-19

In 2017 Nick received the Responder of the Year Award for Leeds and Airedale and in 2021 received the Yorkshire Ambulance Volunteer of the Year Star Award.

Nick will receive a District Citation for his work in his Community.

Keep safe and well as we go forward into the remainder of the year, and I look forward to seeing many more of you, at face to face events and club meetings in the months ahead.

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