Category Archives: Club Meetings

Opening our minds to – DEVIZES OPENDOORS – helping the homeless and vulnerable

For many of us, understanding the problems that the homeless face every day is difficult to understand; some of us are perhaps, too judgmental. That is most definitely not the case of the 40 or so volunteers who give their time to support to the homeless and others in our town who have complex social issues. These issues range from being socially isolated, to those facing a variety of different difficulties such as debt or mental health problems, to substance abuse or perhaps alcohol addiction.

John Saunders

Rotarian Iain Wallis introduced John Saunders from Devizes OPENDOORS who gave an enlightening presentation on the work undertaken by the charity – including welcoming up to 25 or so guests to breakfast, lunch or dinner on three days each week. He went on to say that more than 120 individuals have come through the door in the first half of this year.

Providing a meal, three days a week is just one aspect of OPENDOORS work. In addition to freshly cooked meals, the drop in centre (which is in The Parish Rooms in Long Street) offers a secure meeting point, shower facilities and advice on a range of issues from professionals.

In addition to providing a meal three days each week, a fourth weekly session called NEXT Club has recently been introduced. The NEXT club provides an opportunity for those in need to do things together and aims to provide individual, tailored support through a befriending scheme. In due course OPENDOORS wants to offer the homeless a temporary shelter in the winter months and long-term hostel accommodation.

OPENDOORS is entirely funded by grants such as that from the Wiltshire Community Foundation, from donations, from churches and fund raising –  which includes an annual jumble sale and a winter sleep-out! Even with generous support from three local supermarkets, the charity still needs to raise some £16000.00 a year.

The number of questions posed at the end of John’s presentation, was testimony to the interest he generated. Clearly Rotarians were indebted to John Saunders for taking time to explain the work of OPENDOORS. The vote of thanks was given by Rotarian Tom MacMeekin.

Alan Martin

President Devizes Rotary





Talk by Phil Bevan, Headmaster of Devizes School

Here’s a note from David Lamb regarding the recent talk given to Devizes Rotary Members by Phil Bevan, Headmaster of Devizes School.



Tuesday evening’s meeting on 19th September gave a good attendance of members and guests the chance to welcome the recently appointed head of Devizes School Philip Bevan as speaker. He brought us up to date on what was happening at the school, and its plans for the future, very well illustrated by a visual presentation.

In passing he mentioned the event some years ago when an escaped lion invaded the school and we could not help thinking how that would have been dealt with by current health and safety.

Most impressive photos of the November memorial day event around the quad were shown along with a lonely duck breaking the ‘no walking on the quad rule’. We all got the clear impression of someone who is leading from the front with an excellent relationship with his pupils and staff. Certainly two of his pupils who were working at The Crown that evening received a bit of a surprise when he arrived, but the exchanges between them later illustrated this excellent relationship.

Hopefully Devizes Rotary can cement a useful contact with Phil and Devizes School for the future.

Headmaster Philip Bevan.



Protected: Council meeting of 29th August 2017 – Minutes

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“Tax, Care and Toy Boys” speaker evening

‘Tax, Care and Toy Boys’ – a hot topic curiously entitled. Brian Rutter explained all at Devizes Rotary’s speaker meeting on 22nd August. President of Devizes Rotary Alan Martin writes:

If the number of questions asked by all present, at a talk given by Brian Rutter is anything to go by, his ‘Tax, Care and Toy Boys’ presentation was a hit!

Brian, who had travelled from Bristol for the occasion, talked about estate planning, will making the cost of care in later life, and, with an appropriate degree of humour, planning ones own funeral! ‘Toy Boys’ was another complicated issue which all learnt, may well impact on the estate of those  who are married for the second or even third time.

It was clear that many in his audience were unaware of some of the complex topics discussed while others asked for clarification about a personal issue which had been highlighted during his talk.

Brian Rutter, seen here with Devizes Rotarian Alison Batchelor who arranged Brian’s visit, is from the Co-op’s ‘Estate Planning Service’. His talk was informative and was presented with good humour and wit, sparking off question after question giving Brian an agonisingly short time to complete all he had to say.

There was no better person than undertaker Rotarian Paula Winchcombe to give the vote of thanks during which she understandably endorsed Brian’s thoughts about funeral planning!

This talk clearly stirred up some thoughts in Devizes Rotarians minds as some, who attended a meeting later in the evening – a meeting not associated with Rotary – were still debating and discussing some of the issues raised two hours later!

Rotary fellowship at its best with a step back in time

Devizes Rotary President Alan Martin and his wife Nita, enjoyed meeting up with his Past District Governor Ken Broad. Ken was Governor of Rotary District 1100,  when Alan was the President of the Rotary Club of Marlborough in 1988/89. The picture shows Past District Governor Ken, who is soon to celebrate his 100th birthday, with Alan’s wife Nita.

Ken and his wife Nancy have recently moved to a retirement village in Sandford near Western Super Mare.

For some ten years following his term of office, PDG Ken and Nancy hosted an annual reunion for Ken’s fifty-three past Presidents. Since then Alan and Nita, together with three other of Ken’s past Presidents and their wives, have enjoyed meeting with Ken and Nancy several times a year, for a lunchtime get-together.

Devotees of cricket may recognise in Ken’s surname, an association with members of the England Cricket team.  Not only are he and Nancy the proud parents of son Chris Broad but grandparents of Stuart Broad – each a past and present member of the England squad!

Protected: Council Minutes from 2nd August 2017

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