Club's laptop boost for school but there are fears for future gifts to community as membership dwindles

  Posted: 23.02.21 at 20:55 by The Editor

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STUDENTS at Ortu Hassenbrook Academy in Stanford-le-Hope have been boosted by a donation of £5,000 from East Thurrock Rotary Club which enabled the school to purchase 15 laptops and four instruments for music students to use while studying at home.

The club has donated almost £7,500 to the school since the end of 2019, starting with funding radio-mics for their December production of Hairspray that year, prizes for various school events and trophies for prize giving.

However, a shadow looming over club membership means that such donations may be limited in the future.

Hassenbrook headteacher Ms Joanne Williams said: “We are so grateful to the Rotary club for their support. These laptops will make a tangible difference to the education of our children.”

Interact, a youth version of Rotary has also been set-up at the school this year. The club involves 16 students who meet to focus on projects to improve the school, local community and the environment.

Club president Peter Wigington, and ex-student at Hassenbrook said: “It is a privilege to be the current president of the club but nowhere near as big a privilege to be the Rotary member handing over the laptops to the school. I was genuinely moved. I had only to look into the eyes of assistant head Andrew Scott and Ms Williams to see the huge strain and pressure that these guys are under, as with many schools, I am sure. “

“The items supplied through donations raised locally is a huge help to the school and may, perhaps, make a life changing difference to some of the pupils; if that isn’t a privilege to be part of, I don’t know what is.”

However, Mr Wiggington has expressed concern that such gifts may not be possible as the club is currently struggling for membership. The East Thurrock club came about becaseu of a merger between Stanford & Corringham and Corringham Thameside a couple of years ago but the new club now has less than 20 members, many of whom are not active, making events to fundraise for local community groups very difficult.

Mr Wiggington has called out to the community, saying: “We were able to help this time around, but the future is uncertain unless we can attract new members. And it isn’t just the fundraising that is at threat. Our Christmas sleigh that the whole town enjoys, will also become a thing of the past.

“So my message to readers is simple. This is your community, and this is your Rotary Club. Come and say ‘hi’, what have you got to lose.”

The East Thurrock Rotary Club can be found on Facebook or via their website. [,L] To contact the East Thurrock Rotary Club, email [email protected]

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