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Presidents' Handover The Club Presidency was formally handed over at the Club meeting on June 29th when Ian Helby took over the office from outgoing President Brian Joscelyne; and incoming Presidnet-Elect Ian Tarbet received his badge of office. IPP Brian thanked members for their support during his year, and outlined a few of the highlights of the year, then President Ian set out his main themes and ideas for the coming year. Ian will continue the focus on Mental Health that was theme of PP Eileen and IPP Brian, but with particular emphasis on young people's mental health, especially Autism. Ian also explained he will look to continue to support new initiatives in the past year such as the Friends of Rotary group, which will be invaluable to the Club as time goes on.
Understanding Citizens’ Advice Our speakers on July 6th were Simon Topham and Janet Thompson from Citizens’ Advice York (CAY). Simon, who is CEO of the organisation, explained that the concept of Citizens Advice Bureaux was developed just as World War 2 was beginning. Citizens Advice in York was established in 1941 in Priory Street, moving later to Micklegate Bar and then, in 2014, to West Offices where they rent space from the Council. Training to be a voluntary advisor takes 6 months, and the range of topics covered is vast. 60% of advice requests relate to benefits, tax credits and debt problems. With 35 volunteers (aged 18 to 80) and a small number of part-time paid staff, their services are increasingly needed, and Simon and Janet expressed their thanks for the fact that CAY will be one of the two Rotary-nominated beneficiaries of the Dragon Boat Challenge event on July 15th.
You’ve got a Friend in Chocolate A visit to the York Cocoa Works on July 6th was the first event organised for members of the newly formed “Friends of York Rotary” (FoYR) Group. They were joined by several Club members and partners too, as a total of 24 were entertained by the Founder and Managing Director of York Cocoa House Sophie Jewett – herself a FoYR member – and her staff. Sophie took us through the history of Chocolate making in York, dating from 1785 in Castlegate where her Cocoa Works operation is now based, and her passion for creating authentic chocolate using a variety of cocoa beans from various countries in South America (from many farms which she has personally visited) and her interest in the social and political impact of cocoa growing in these countries, were evident. We were treated to a variety of chocolate samples with subtle taste differences, and finally some very unusual canapé creations – for example chocolate with goats cheese (actually delicious!) Many thanks to Sophie and also to Diana and Nigel Naish who had “donated” this evening, having won it in an “auction” bid earlier. As well as being a very enjoyable event, the evening raised £330 for our Club’s Charity Fund.
Ready, set.... All is set fair for the "GO" for our flagship fundraising event, The York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge, on Sunday July 15th. This morning's inspection of the course on the River Ouse confirmed that the river level is high enough and preparations have started to set up the river banks for the crew stations on the South Bank, and the Gala Day on the North Bank. Responding to requests from crews to set an earlier finish - in light of hte World Cup Final - the timing of the day has been amended.
Racing will now start at 9.00am, and the Grand Final will be at 2.30pm.
Full details available here
Tree site visit On July 13th Frank Paterson led a group of members on a conducted tour of a field - well, two actually! The visit was to the two sites selected for the tree planting later this year, on either side of Haxby Road between the Nestle factory and New Earswick - part of the Rotary Tree Planting Partnership initiative currently under way, where nearly 300 parents have already registered their baby in order to have a commemorative tree planted. Volunteers from various organisations will plant the trees during the best planting season, November, including several local companies who release their employees for a day to support local charities and events. Rotarians are also encouraged to wield a spade and come and plant a few too!
The current register of babies is available here
A man out standing in his own field!
Dragon Boat success July 15th was our annual Dragon Boat Challenge, and despite changing the starting time to accommodate the World Cup Final, everyone turned up, the sun shone brightly, and over 3000 people enjoyed a wonderful day of excitement, fun and great racing. With over £60000 raised on the day (and more to come) many local charities will benefit, including the two Club nominated charities, York Mind and Citizens Advice York. President Ian expressed his gratitude to all members, Inner Wheel, and members of Friends of York Rotary, who all dedicated their time in the hot weather to make this day such a success, including running the Rotary branded Tea Tent, ably managed by Diana. The full results, and lots more photos of the day, are on our Dragon Boat page here (look out for the photo of Novotel's Julie!)