Celebrity speakers headline virtual Volunteer Expo event backed by Warwickshire Rotary Clubs

Celebrity speakers headline virtual Volunteer Expo event backed by Warwickshire Rotary Clubs

The Rotary Clubs in Warwickshire are getting behind a new, national event to help more people find volunteering opportunities and build a legacy of generosity and community from the pandemic.

Volunteer Expo Online, which is being hosted by Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland, is taking place virtually on 7th and 8th May. The free event will connect individuals and organisations from across society to inspire and celebrate those who love to give something back.

Volunteering Expo, Rotary Club, Frank Bruno, Ben Fogle, Brooke Kinsella

Headline speakers include award-winning broadcaster and adventurer Ben Fogle and former heavyweight boxer and mental health campaigner Frank Bruno.

A recent survey by the Together Coalition found that an estimated 12.4 million people have volunteered during the Covid-19 pandemic, and 4.6 million of those did so for the first time.

Volunteer Expo Online will help even more people find meaningful volunteering opportunities to suit their interests, time commitments and desire to make a difference.

The event will feature over 60 virtual exhibition stands, with visitors being able to chat and meet with a range of local, national and international charities and social impact organisations, including Age UK, Dementia UK, Alzheimer’s Society, ShelterBox, Cancer Research UK, Barnardo’s, The Salvation Army, St John Ambulance, Motor Neurone Disease Association, RSPB, Lepra, Home Start and The Royal Air Forces Association and Army Cadets.

On the bill for the two-day event is a speaker line up, featuring celebrity campaigners, sector leaders and volunteer heroes sharing their stories of volunteering.

With decades of adventures and travelling under his belt, Ben Fogle has countless lessons to share on the natural world and inspirational stories to tell of personal perseverance.

Volunteering Expo, Rotary Club, Frank Bruno, Ben Fogle, Brooke Kinsella
Headline speaker Ben Fogle

He is known for presenting numerous programmes, including Animal Park and Countryfile, and has travelled to over 200 places around the world during his broadcasting career.

Also among the line-up are:

Actress Brooke Kinsella who has campaigned against knife crime following the murder of her brother in 2008. She also founded a Trust in his memory.

BBC Radio 1 presenter and author Katie Thistleton whose work around mental health awareness includes ambassador roles with Place2be and YoungMinds charities. She is also a trained counsellor.

Catherine Johnstone CBE is the Chief Executive of the Royal Voluntary Service and formerly held the same post at The Samaritans.

Broadcaster Steve Brown became paralysed after falling from a balcony aged just 23 but went on the captain Great Britain’s wheelchair rugby team in the London 2012 Paralympics.

Sisters Amy and Ella Meek are Founders of Kids Against Plastic, a charity which is empowering young people to protect the environment. Over the last year they have helped pick up over 65,000 pieces of single use plastic and made over 50 cafés, schools, businesses and festivals ‘Plastic Clever’.

Sarah Vibert is currently the interim Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), and was formerly the Director of Membership and Engagement. Sarah has held a number of leadership roles in the voluntary sector; most recently as Chief Executive of umbrella charity The Neurological Alliance and is also a Trustee of The Brain and Spine Foundation.

Sanj Srikanthan is the Chief Executive of disaster response charity, ShelterBox. Sanj has been leading teams in adversity over the last two decades; from peacekeeping operations on the Iran-Iraq border, to responding to Ebola outbreaks in Liberia.

Through his roles both as Chief Executive of The Scouts and the National Union of Students, and as a current trustee of Step Up To Serve, Matt Hyde has helped change the conversation around youth volunteering, attracting support and investment to grow youth social action.

A former member of a notorious Birmingham gang, Simeon Moore now tackles the glamorisation of gang culture to young people. Describing his gangster lifestyle as a “mental prison”, Simeon lifted himself from a life of crime and uses the power of music to educate the lives of others.

Volunteering Expo, Rotary Club, Frank Bruno, Ben Fogle, Brooke Kinsella

Colin Winstone, spokesperson for Warwickshire Rotary, said: “The idea behind Rotary first launching this event back in 2019 was to highlight the amazing impact that volunteering makes to society. Little did we know that the world would be in a very different place a few years on.

“Although a lot in society has changed, many things possibly permanently, the coronavirus pandemic has thrown into sharp focus not only the need for volunteers, but the appetite people have to pull together in their community.”

“We hope that Volunteer Expo can be a part of that legacy and leave a positive impact going forward. It’s a great chance to learn more about how you can help. I find volunteering hugely rewarding and fun on a personal level, and would encourage people, whether a new or existing volunteer, to join us.”

Visitors will also enjoy a packed programme of workshops covering everything from mental health to plastic pollution and disability-inclusive volunteering to digital fundraising.

To find out more about what’s in store for the event, and book your free tickets, head to www.volunteerexpo.co.uk

Raising laughs and loot through virtual comedy night

Raising laughs and loot through virtual comedy night

A virtual night of comedy raised much-needed laughs – and £1,500 for a Birmingham charity.

The gig marked the return of charity stand-up events organised by Comedy at Work creatives Anne Docherty from Kenilworth and Mark Hinds from Warwick.

Comedy at Work, Networkfour, Lodders Charitable Foundation, Laura Lexx, Scott Bennett, Samantha Day, David Eagle, Anne Docherty, Mark Hinds, Proceeds from the virtual gig, supported by Lodders Charitable Foundation, will support Birmingham-based charity Networkfour which, for the last 13 years, has worked to shine a light on the issues of poverty, hardship and lives negatively impacted by criminality.

Networkfour Founder and Project Director Gary Wicker, said: “‘It was a fantastic evening and we are so grateful for the support from Lodders Charitable Foundation and Comedy at Work to make it possible, and to everyone who bought tickets.

“We work with over 500 vulnerable children, at risk young people, hard to reach adults and crisis families each year, many of whom face horrendous situations and circumstances. They money raised will go a long way to enabling us to change the lives to the most vulnerable in Birmingham.

Helping to lay on the virtual laughs, on April Fool’s Day were four comedians who are rising stars on the UK comedy circuit.

Award-winning Laura Lexx, from Taunton, is best known for her TV comedy appearances including Live At The Apollo and Mock The Week. She also hit the headlines last year when she landed a book deal following a series of tweets imagining life with Liverpool FC manager Jurgen Klopp which went viral.

Yorkshireman Scott Bennet has won acclaim with comedy awards and has appeared on BBC Radio 4 as well as alongside the likes of Rob Brydon, Michael McIntyre and Helen Lederer.

New comedian of the Year at Leicester Square Theatre and Bath Comedy Festival in 2019, David Eagle is also an accomplished musician. The blind funnyman from Stockton instantly wins audiences over with his quip about having ‘dark humour.’

Overseeing it all was Samantha Day, from Watford. The former accountant-turned stand-up comedian, reached the semi-finals of Jason Manford’s Best New Act 2020 just before lockdown as well as making it through to the semi-finals of the Best New Act at Bath Comedy Festival in 2019.

Law firm Lodders created the Lodders Charitable Foundation (LCF) in 2016 with the aim of raising vital financial support and providing help to local charities where it can make a genuine difference. Networkfour is one of four independent charities chosen as sole beneficiaries of LCF in 2021 and 2022.

Chairman of Lodders Charitable Foundation, David Lodder said: “We are living through pretty difficult times, but the Virtual Comedy Night was an excellent event that brought plenty of fun, laughter and some light relief into people’s homes.

“The Foundation knows Networkfour will make excellent use of the proceeds to support its incredible work with young people, adults and families in crisis who are sadly facing issues of poverty, hardship and lives negatively impacted by criminality. The charity’s dedicated team and volunteers carry out amazing and vital work and always strive to help transform the circumstances some people sadly find themselves in.”
For more information about The Lodders Charitable Foundation visit: www.lodders.co.uk/about-us/lodders-charitable-foundation

Comedy at Work, Networkfour, Lodders Charitable Foundation, Laura Lexx, Scott Bennett, Samantha Day, David Eagle, Anne Docherty, Mark Hinds,
Comedy at Work co-founders Anne Docherty and Mark Hinds. Photo by David Fawbert Photography.

Anne Docherty, co-founder of Comedy at Work, said: “We had an awesome night of comedy – thanks to everyone that bought tickets and came along and to the comedians who had us all laughing throughout. We raised £1,500 for Networkfour and because this event was supported by the Lodders Charitable Foundation every penny raised goes to the charity. It was a privilege to be involved.”

As well as bringing stand-up to venues across the country in support of local charities, Comedy at Work hosts a series of workshops for all ages, all with comedy and wellbeing at their heart – from school-leavers and graduates through to team building, corporate training and even wedding speech coaching.

During lockdown they successfully transitioned their workshops online but have already seen a huge demand for tickets for the first of their returning face to face comedy nights in village halls across the region, from next month.

Visit: https://www.comedyatwork.com/ for further information.

More information about Networkfour can be found at: https://www.networkfour.org.uk/

Popular town centre pub announces reopening

Popular town centre pub announces reopening

The Rose & Crown in Warwick is among those pubs ready and waiting to open its doors again on Monday (12th April), to welcome guests back to its lovely outside space and ensure they have a fantastic time.

The popular town centre pub will be back with a delicious new menu for spring, with an exciting choice of seasonal dishes for lunch and dinner and everything in between.  There will also be new arrivals on the drinks list including cocktails, gins and soft drinks, with plenty of options also returning.

The Rose and CrownThe entire team at The Rose & Crown has thrown themselves into getting the pub ship-shape for opening after the long months of lockdown and is looking forward to having groups of up to six people from any number of households, or groups of two households, in its outdoor space.

So that the celebrations can continue in style, the pub has extended its outside area by taking over the four car parking spaces at the front and giving them a colourful al fresco eating and drinking look.

Smart wooden tables and bright red chairs have been set up with big umbrellas decorated with pretty fairy lights and plenty of candles.  The entire space is heated and there are fleecy blankets to snuggle under and piles of cushions to sink into.  The really good news is that these spots get the benefit of eight full hours of sunshine a day, whenever the sun is out!

Meanwhile, right in front of the pub there are more spots to sit and nurse a pint of real ale or sip on a glass of something chilled, again with parasols and heating.  In the evening, you can see and be seen in the down-lights illuminating the pub as you watch the world go by.

Fresh from the kitchen will be some mouth-watering new dishes. Enjoy mains of miso-glazed cod with black rice, choy sum, lime, chilli and coriander or a Merrifield duck breast with braised chicory and Delmonico potatoes, orange and green peppercorn jus. Meat-free options include Dirty Vegan burger with Marmite onions, smoked cheese, tomato relish and fries. The pub does a great breakfast too, with everything from a classic full English to piles of fluffy American pancakes, so why not pop in for morning coffee and a midweek treat to start your day?

For sharing over a drink, The Rose & Crown does a fabulous selection of deli plates, with great British charcuterie from Dorset.  All the pub’s cheeses are British, from Somerset Camembert to Rutland Red, and there’s British beef, vegetables and fruit, and free-range pork and chicken on the menu too.

As well as being able to order food and drink from one of the team, you can also get your glass topped up and have something tasty to eat by ordering on your mobile. Look out for the cards in the pub which explain it all.  And if you want it to go, the pub can rustle up takeaway breakfast, coffee, sandwiches, Sunday roasts and more.  Simply go to the website to place your order.

The Rose and Crown, Warwick, Peach PubsRose & Crown General Manager Tash Beard and her team will be on hand to welcome guests back to the pub and ensure everyone is safe when they visit.  She says: “We have been working really hard to be ready for the big day when we can finally open our doors again and we literally can’t wait! We’ve all missed being able to do what we love the most – looking after our guests and serving them plenty of the good stuff.

“The changes we have made at the pub mean we’ll be able to do just that and do it really well.  We’ve created the ideal setting for people to celebrate getting back together again.  Our extended outside area is bright and welcoming and perfect for meeting friends for a drink, having coffee or cocktails, or a cracking Sunday lunch that you haven’t had to cook yourself.  And there’s no need to chase the sun, so fingers crossed we see plenty of it!  We’re counting the days until we can welcome guests back to the pub and hear the sound of them chatting, laughing and clinking glasses across Market Place!” she says.

The Rose & Crown is now taking bookings outdoors from Monday 12th April, for groups of up to six, or up to two households. Visit: http://www.roseandcrownwarwick.co.uk/ to book.

The pub will be open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 11pm and on Sunday from 9am to 10pm. Food is served from 9am to 9pm on Monday to Saturday and from 9am to 8pm on Sunday.

If you can’t wait until April 12th, you can still enjoy some of your favourite Rose & Crown dishes by treating yourself to a Peach at Home box, now available nationwide.  Starters, mains, sides and puds are all masterfully prepared and ready for you to finish in your own kitchen. Just the ticket if you’re celebrating, in need of a break from cooking, looking for a gift or simply want to have our great food at home. https://www.makinglifepeachy.com/peach-at-home/

The Rose & Crown is at 30 Market Place, Warwick CV34 4SH.  www.roseandcrownwarwick.co.uk

Full details of the steps taken to keep the pub safe for guests and the team can be viewed here

http://www.roseandcrownwarwick.co.uk/your-visit/