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Folkestone Rotary Clubs Awarded Hero Of The Week By Bbc Radio Kent

Hero Of The Week

Folkestone Rotary Clubs Awarded Hero Of The Week By Bbc Radio Kent For Support To Folkestone Vaccination Centres With Volunteers And Logistics


The two Rotary Clubs in Folkestone (Channel Rotary and Folkestone Rotary) are pleased and proud of the Hero Of The Week Award from BBC Radio Kent.  The award was announced when Channel Rotary Coordinator Joe Sullivan was interviewed by Pat Marsh on his Saturday show this weekend


In common with all 1700 UK Rotary Clubs we had mobilised to provide support to the national Covid vaccination programme.  On 20th January Joe Sullivan received a request to help with volunteers for the sites being set up at the Folkestone Civic Centre (drive-in) and Debenhams (walk-in).  In addition to Channel Rotary members, Joe’s first call was to Barry Pluck at the Shepway Sports Trust based in the local Three Hills Sports Park who in turn contacted 43 sports related clubs asking for volunteers. The response was immediate and massive.  Within an hour emails were flooding in.  Derek Harris OBE, another Channel Rotary member, started combining all the emails into a database and before the end of the day nearly 100 volunteers had been signed up as marshals.

Both the Channel & Folkestone Rotary Clubs working with the NHS at the Debenhams, Vaccination Centre, Folkestone

Dr Terry Cook-Davies, President of our friends in Folkestone Rotary and an international expert in project management, agreed to join the Channel Rotary team to establish the volunteer management system.  People kept volunteering and in only a couple of days Derek and Terry had built the necessary systems to manage the 300 volunteers. The team was also joined by another Channel Rotary member Bill Flavell, an experienced businessman, who supervises the volunteer rota which is hosted on the Channel Rotary website.


The two vaccination sites are now supported by 35 – 40 volunteers every day as part of this great, national vaccination effort.  The satisfaction is enormous. One of our customers summed things up via the Channel Rotary website:


I was invited to have a Covid-19 vaccination at Folkestone Civic Centre (drive through) at 11am today. I noticed that it was staffed by your colleagues and I want to express my sincere and grateful thanks for everything they are doing. It is heart-warming to see such kindness readily given on a very cold and icy day. I am so grateful to have received my first jab and so thankful that your colleagues helped make this possible.


As a result of this immense coordination with the local NHS, the Civic Centre can vaccinate up to 500 people a day and Debenhams 1000 a day working 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.  Despite problems caused by the snow and cold, 17,000 people have already been vaccinated.  Our volunteers are thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to help with this enormously valuable community project.  They tell us how much they like the experience of being marshals and the whole positive atmosphere of the vaccination centres.  They are buzzing with excitement.


All this coordination has been established on the invaluable links developed between Channel Rotary and the local civic and business communities in making the Folkestone Channel Triathlon into a major sporting attraction http://www.channeltri.com . Even during the pandemic, the Covid-compliant Triathlon raised £11,000 in September which was donated to local mental health charities, school hardship funds and technology to help disadvantaged school pupils with on-line teaching at home.


Since then Channel Rotary has donated a further £15,000 to local welfare charities and to support primary schools in providing more technology for home learning.  In the words of one of our Head Teachers:


I just want to acknowledge the receipt of Channel Rotary’s cheque.  This is something that we hugely appreciate and we are so grateful that you have identified our school for your support.  As you are aware, our school is located in an area of significant need and the children deserve all the support that we can give them.


Our sincere and grateful thanks to the Shepway Sports Trust, Jenner Construction, Folkestone District Council, Sainsburys, the Clifton Hotel (for coffee at the Civic Centre) and to all our volunteers for their help so willingly given.

Hero Of The Week

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