Presentation to Portland College – 26 September 2017

During Peter Crowe’s Presidential year (2016-17), a number of events were held to raise money for the President’s charity. This year, Peter had nominated our normal venue, Portland College, as his charity and he was very successful in raising just over £1100.

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We have been looking at an appropriate moment when a representative from the College’s team was available to accept the money and to say something about how it might be used to assist with some of the ventures that the College has undertaken.

That time arrived tonight, when Edward Johnson, a member of the College’s Senior Team, was able to join us for our After-Circle Ladies’ Night meal. Edward was invited to tell us a little of the background to the College:

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The College opened its doors in 1950, following a generous donation of land (part of which is 12 acres of prime Sherwood Forest, one of the oldest forests in the UK) by the Duchess of Portland, a wealthy local landowner and benefactor who had long been active in supporting injured servicemen and local miners or textiles workers.

It built on the reputation and skills that had developed in the Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital, which had also been set up by the Duchess after WW1 and which occupied land adjacent to the present site on which the College stands.

The fundamental aims of the College are to provide rehabilitation, education and support for a wide range of disabilities thus enabling the 156 learners, some of whom regard the College as their home since they live in on-site accommodation, who daily use the College to learn to live fulfilled and worthwhile lives.

The College relies on funding from a range of sources – Government, matched funding from other Charitable Trusts and donations from Friends of Portland College – to enable their work to take place. Their students range in ages from 16 to 24; for some this is effectively their university experience, whilst for others there is a range of practical and vocational courses which enable them to maximise their talents.

Developments in the next few years will build on the recently discovered fact that the College owns that large section of forest; a fully accessible zip-wire is planned and the money that we have raised will probably contribute to the matched funding element for that project. Other developments will include the expansion of the small farm and horticultural areas which enable the College to enjoy some self-sufficiency.

Edward thanked us for our generosity and Brother Peter then presented him with the cheque.

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Bro Peter (r) presents the cheque to Edward Johnson (l)

Postscript:

During his chat with Edward during supper, Peter discovered that the College has a small chapel and we have been invited to view it at our next gathering when Ladies will be present (November 3rd, for the Mass for Deceased Brothers). Peter has suggested that we gather at 6.15pm and we will be taken across to see the space that the College has set aside for quiet reflection.

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