In many ways, our Members are like a group of bees. We may seem quiet to the outside world, but we're actually a hive of activity, with different members taking on different challenges and activities for communal good - though not always through Rotary!
Right now we have members working on fundraising, thinking about how we can help the community, raising awareness about polio, and so much more.
In an upcoming meeting, Past President Richard Kemball-Cook will be talking to us about his volunteer work outside Rotary with the “All About Me” programme run by Rising Sun, the Domestic Violence & Abuse Service based here in Canterbury (a charity which our Club regularly supports). The therapeutic programme Richard is involved with aims to increase self-esteem and emotional literacy in those whose lives have been traumatised by domestic violence & abuse. Richard will be talking a little about the men’s groups he attended to gain experience in running them; he will also talk a little about call handling for the national domestic violence line for men as victims.
"It's really wonderful to be involved in the 'All About Me' programme", says Richard, "as it makes a real difference to the lives of people affected by domestic violence". This is of particular importance following lockdown, during which the number of domestic incidences in the UK increased; according to a recent Guardian article "one call relating to domestic abuse was made to police every 30 seconds in first seven weeks [of lockdown]".
And the hive analogy is quite an appropriate one for Richard, for he keeps himself busy in other ways too - one of these being to keep his own bees, as he knows how important they are for us! It was quite lovely for us to be able to see him in action on the BBC the other day, when he took part in an episode of BBC's "Stories of Us". In it, Richard talks about a validation of bee keeping being to have purpose, to do things thoroughly and to show compassion.
This strive for compassion is some ways is also a validation of being a Rotarian. "It's through the various activities that our Club and Members are involved with that we show compassion for others," says Richard, adding that "neurological research with CT scanners can spot definite improvement in neural pathways [through compassion for others]".
Our Members are aware of the multiple hits that both the local and international community have taken as a result of the current pandemic, and our members are keen to show our compassion for those affected by aligning our activities to be part of the "great Covid-recovery task".
PP David Barton, Chair of our Club Services Committee agrees. "Our new emphasis in on helping people affected directly or indirectly by the pandemic. For example, our focus right now is on helping with the development of the new hostel in Canterbury for women traumatised by domestic violence and who need a half-way house before they are strong enough to move back into mainstream housing".
Please contact us if you would like to help us support the new hostel - particularly if you would like to do any fundraising for the cause.
To find out more about Rising Sun, click here.
To watch Richard on BBC's "Stories About Us" on iplayer, click here. Richard talks about bees around the 37 minute mark.
You can also read more about Buddhist Emma Slade (who appeared earlier in the BBC programme) when she spoke to our Club Members back in 2017 about "Opening your Heart to Bhutan", another charity that our Club has supported in the past.
Picture: Richard in his bee keeping attire. Picture credit: Richard Kemball-Cook/Rotary Club of Canterbury.