THE Rotary Club of Ilkley Wharfedale has set aside £2,000 for voluntary organisations in Ilkley who are helping vulnerable people in the town during the Coronavirus outbreak. The Rotary Club has already moved quickly to donate £1,200 to some of these organisations.

Immediate support of £200 has been given to help set up a Soup Kitchen rather like a “Meals on Wheels Service” using a newly created group of volunteers organised by Louise Hepworth-Wood, working closely with Ilkley Food Bank. This has enabled food and vegetables to be ordered to start immediate deliveries. The intention in the longer term is that they would be able to access vegetables and food approaching sell-by date from the major stores in town (where available) using links and partnerships formed by the Food Bank.

As the situation swiftly progressed in recent days an additional donation of £500 was needed by the Food Bank itself to address the shortage of food in stores caused by initial ‘panic-buying’ and the current disruption of the foodstuff supply-chain. This enables the Food Bank to purchase and manage shortages as necessary. Volunteer co-ordinator Jane Wearing said: “This cash injection will make a very real difference over the next few weeks when we know demand could increase dramatically.”

The Rotary Club also became aware that the Clarke Foley Centre itself would require a further donation of £500. Through requests and referrals into the Clarke Foley Volunteer Hub, food is going out now for delivery to homes across the town to feed people who are self-isolating, and to replace the Clarke Foley Luncheon Club (the Centre, of course, now being closed to the public).

Ruth Richards, General Manager of Clarke Foley, said: “Although we cannot currently serve our many elderly friends who once used the Centre daily, we can take some of our services out to the wider Community. Clarke Foley has become a Hub for all this activity, and is now the Volunteering Centre for Ilkley and Ben Rhydding. To be clear this £500 cheque from Rotary is not for the Clarke Foley Centre per se but for the immediate support of the Coronavirus Strategy Group and for launching the Coronavirus ‘war-chest’ and fighting fund.

“Donations from other sources are also being received. Donations to the fighting fund will be managed by the Ilkley Strategic Planning Team, and further cheques can be made out to the Clarke Foley Centre.”