Brixham has a wealth of volunteers and groups who give their time and expertise to help others. One of these, the Rotary Club of Brixham, exemplified the organisation’s motto of ‘Service Above Self’ when they held a cheque presentation evening on Wednesday 24th May at Brixham Cricket Club. During the evening over £6,000, raised by Rotary’s members during the previous year, was shared amongst 16 groups.
Incoming President Richard Withey welcomed representatives, club members and friends who, before sharing ideas and providing support for each other over a buffet supper, heard recipients describe their organisation’s activity and relate what the money would be/had been used for. Following the presentation Richard Withey on behalf of Rotary said “This evening has been an education for us all of what is happening in our town of Brixham. Local Rotarians are delighted to provide support for wonderful attractions, groups, charities and individuals, providing amenities for local people and visitors and supporting those in need”.
Whilst the groups covered a broad spectrum of financial/practical support and leisure activities, there was a common theme running throughout the evening – a passion by all concerned to make a difference by helping/providing pleasure to others.
Admiral Swimming Pool: Director John Hill spoke about this local resource, which is available for individuals and groups of all abilities and ages. Rotary’s donation had gone towards re-tiling the whole pool, enabling it to continue providing leisure, health, social and educational facilities.
Brixham Battery Heritage Group: founded in 1999, this group of volunteers are helping to restore the Brixham coastal defense battery built in 1940. Chair Barry Riley said the money provided had gone towards opening up another building and looked forward to this valuable gem in Brixham’s armoury further increasing its visitor footfall.
Brixham Cricket Club: thanking Brixham Rotary for their contribution, Mike Smith, on behalf of Club President John Pepper, noted that it would go towards encouraging youngsters to take up cricket through school visits and coaching.
Brixham Does Care: Martin Paddon thanked Rotary for thinking about BDC, who, particularly during a time of financial cut-backs, really appreciated the money. The organisation aimed to provide social inclusion for all age groups through advice and support. Many service users subsequently became volunteers and activities now included a monthly film club, walking and singing/dancing groups.
Brixham Museum: a change to free entry had seen visitor numbers increases and donations go up by a third! With some 60 volunteers on its books, President John Risedon praised the involvement of local people, reminded all that its oldest treasure (a 40,000 year old reindeer skull) had been discovered by one of Brixham’s most famous residents the Rev. Henry Lyte and thanked Rotary for their generous donation.
Brixham Town Band: in its 90th year the band’s continuing main aim was to enjoy playing music and entertaining locals and visitors. Philip King and Martine Brumwell paid tribute to Rotary’s fund raising guru David Sharpe, with whom they had arranged the successful annual music concert held at the Scala Hall in recent years. The money provided by Rotary had paid for smart new waistcoats and the band looked forward to being part of the port’s community for many years to come.
Brixham Food Bank: Rev. Elizabeth Lakey thanked Rotary for its contribution, which helped provide staple food items for local people who were clearly in need of support and would otherwise go hungry.
Fisherman’s Mission: set up in 1881 to provide welfare support for fishermen, the Mission had had a presence in Britain’s premier port of Brixham since the early 1900s. Recipient Superintendent John Anderson, who is due to retire at the end of June, thanked Rotary for its long-standing support.
Moor2Moor Challenge: in November 2016 students from South Devon College walked, cycled and kayacked across Exmoor and Dartmoor to raise money for Devon based Calvert Trust. For the past 40 years the Trust has provided challenging outdoor adventure holidays for people with disabilities. Event organiser Louis Bovet-White thanked Rotary for providing them with funding and an opportunity to learn new skills, create lasting memories and help others.
Mens Sheds/Home Alone: originally set up to support older men who wanted to get together to share and learn new skills, the Brixham members welcome all who are interested in woodworking, sharing, socialising and giving their time free to help others. Gary Payne, Honorary Secretary, proposed a round of applause for all Rotary members whose contribution was greatly appreciated and enabled ‘shedders’, and volunteers from Brixham who gave up their Christmas day to feed and entertain those who would otherwise have been home alone, to help others.
Salvation Army: founded by William and Catherine Booth over 150 years ago, the Salvation Army is now one of the largest and most diverse providers of social services in the UK. Thelma Evans, who has been with the army for over a third of its existence, thanked Rotary whose gift would go towards sleeping bags, clothing, food, accommodation and travel support to those in need.
Young Adult Carers: there are over 300 carers aged 16-25 in Torbay and this organisation fund raises to ensure carers are provided with a listening ear and the opportunity to share with others in the same situation and have some fun. Cheryl McKinnon and Sky Andrews thanked Rotary for their contribution, which had gone towards activities such as paint balling, tall-ship travel and the cinema.
Youth Genesis: Jonathan Oliverio and Michele Taylor represented the group set up some 10 years previously by churches in Brixham to reach out and support young people, aged 11-19, around issues such as bullying, self-harm, substance abuse, sexual health and anti-social behaviour. Monies provided by Rotary the previous year has supported the DAVE (domestic abuse victim equality) poster campaign, and this year would be going towards the Cry Wolf project, which aimed to raise awareness of the impact of false rape allegations.
Donations were also given to two further groups unable to attend the cheque presentation. Shoalstone Pool: one of only a few remaining sea water pools in this country, ‘Friends’ work tirelessly to raise money to pay for its annual cleaning, painting and recommissioning, and to build a contingency fund in the event of a major storm and any subsequent repairs needed.
Brixham’s Youth Enquiry Service at the Edge: has always responded to the needs of the local young people (aged 8-25) and looks at ways to break down barriers and build bridges so that they become vital and valued members of their community. This free and confidential service provides information, life skills workshops, clothes washing facilities, chill out spaces and a cafe.Follow