Young carers take to the water – with the help of Rotary
Sailing enthusiast Ron Pace was back in his element when, along with fellow Rotarian David Kerr, he accompanied a group of young carers for a morning messing about in boats at Errwood reservoir.
David, a trustee director of the charity Signpost Stockport for Carers, and chairman of Hazel Grove Rotary's Club service committee, was looking for new ways of providing respite for some of the under-18s who are in the Young Carers section.
Ron, a member of his committee, came up with the idea of taking some of the youngsters to Errwood, an 80-acre stretch of water in the Peak District national park.
"Errwood has always been very dear to me", he said. He knows the reservoir well, watched it being constructed and when it was opened in 1969 the first boat to take to the water was his 14ft Enterprise racing dinghy with his wife Sheila as crew.
When the Errwood Sailing Club was formed he became its commodore, a position he held for the next five years.
To put their plan for the carers into action David and Ron brought in the current commodore of the club, Ken Boylett, who was Rotary District Governor in 2008-9. He in turn recruited Bruce Luckman, the commanding officer of Buxton Sea Cadets.
The result was that on a Saturday morning eight young carers were taken to Errwood, and each went out on the water in a two-seater canoe accompanied by an experienced sea cadet. It was a morning of energetic paddling, interspersed by noisy games.
Said David: "When it all came to an end three hours later every one of them had been in the water at least once".
The Young Carers manager, Katy Frankland, said it had been the group's best outing ever, and asked when they could do it again. She wrote to David: "Thank you for a great day out. The young people really enjoyed it and we had such a laugh together".
It is estimated there are up to a thousand young carers in Stockport, and Katy and her team have identified 105 and are working closely with them to make their lives easier.
In a tribute to Katy David said: "She is one of those people who always goes that extra mile. She juggles her family responsibilities of looking after her own family – Dillon, aged nine, and Harry who is 18 months old – with the demands made on her by her job. She is a great asset to Signpost."
As a mark of Rotary's appreciation of her work she was presented with a special community service award, together with a cheque for Young Carers of £405.
Rotary's involvement with the charity has now been reinforced with the appointment of two new trustees – David Phillips, chairman of the club' administration committee, and his wife Janet.
The Errwood event has also had one unexpected effect on Ron Pace. "My boat has been parked outside my front door for the last two years", he said. "Now, with Sheila's permission, I'm going to take up sailing again".
Hazel Grove Rotary Club meets at 6.45pm on Thursdays at the Deanwater Hotel, Woodford
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