Harrogate Brigantes is a lively, enterprising multi-lifestyle Rotary Club with fifty members from the age of 22 upwards. It comprises two groups, the Catalysts and the Evening Group, which work collaboratively. Its overall objective is “to maximise the benefit the Club provides to the community to an extent consistent with the business and social commitments of members and the need for ...
That, quoted directly from Brigantes’ 3-Year Plan, needs a bit of unpicking. Our work in the local community is vital to what we are about. It’s funded from three main sources, our annual Golf Day, at Oakdale Golf Club, our Christmas Grotto in Harrogate’s Asda Superstore and a wishing well in the Valley Gardens. There are a number of beneficiaries.
We’ve funded ‘Budz’ a weekly club for young carers which supports them in their challenging circumstances and we provide an annual day out for them at Lightwater Valley. Harrogate Easier Living Project (HELP) helps people to continue living independently by taking on major jobs such as gardening and decorating. We have supported them by buying several thousand pounds worth of equipment. The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is always supported from the Christmas Grotto. Members regularly donate clothing and household goods for ‘Harrogate Homeless’. Our ‘Making it Happen in Harrogate’ project, funded by the Club and local sponsors, helps people trying to establish homes in difficult circumstances by buying items of household equipment. We also run an annual Stroke Awareness Day project, organise a Remembrance Day ceremony at Stonefall cemetery each November and work with local schools to provide Shelterboxes. We take part in two educational projects each year. One is a technology tournament which we run with other clubs and for which we are the lead organiser. The other is the Rotary Youth Leadership Award for which we select a student from a local school. Our major international project is ‘Changing Young Lives’ in Nepal. It works on two fronts – literacy/numeracy and economic regeneration. So far nine schools in remote, poor areas have been equipped with IT suites; 4,000 children now receive a fuller education. A microloan scheme for very poor families to start up their own micro business has been introduced. Nearly 100 families have benefited from loans of up to £50. Last year Nepal suffered a devastating earthquake and with our partners at the Crown hotel we raised £9600 to help repair the damage in several villages. Club members have visited Nepal, some more than once. The Catalyst group is a vital part of the Club. They meet weekly at Harrogate Town Football Club and their business networking is so successful that last year they generated between them almost half a million pounds of business. As well as assisting with major Club events, they support several important charities including Follifoot Disabled Riding Group and The Sick Children’s Trust and they run a lively programme of visiting speakers.
An important biennial Club event is the ‘Kids Aloud’ concert, which takes place in Harrogate’s prestigious Royal Hall and involves several hundred children from local primary schools. Last year the theme was ‘Circus of Life’ which explored the relationship between ourselves and the creatures with which we share our planet. Local composer Phil Wilby wrote the music; local children, assisted by current president Guy Wilson, who wrote the words. With the help of generous sponsorship, the event raised over £9000 for Nepal disaster relief and our IT project in Nepal.
We do a lot more than raise money. As well as enjoying each other’s company at our weekly meetings and Club visits, we cater for a number of members’ interests. So there are groups that play golf, cycle and walk and for several years we’ve had a flourishing book club. We’re always on the look-out for recruits and are developing various strategies to attract new members. So we’re setting up a new digital marketing system, improving our website and developing our in-house magazine ‘The Brigand’.
Above all, we enjoy being Rotarians, we enjoy being members of Harrogate Brigantes and we value the opportunity to make a difference. At the last count we took part in over 40 different activities in a single year. In the last Rotary year we raised £33,000. If you’d like to meet us, see what we’re about and perhaps even join us, have a look at our website.