W e are fortunate; our hospital in Peterborough has a helipad but that is not always the case. Helicopters, delivering patients needing urgent care to Leicester Royal, have to land in Mandela Park. At Queens Medical (a major trauma unit) air ambulance helicopters have to land across the dual carriageway in the grounds of Nottingham University. In both cases patients then have to be offloaded and continue their journey by road in an ambulance.
The cost of a ground level aluminium helipad is £1million. It is estimated that one million recycled aluminium cans are needed to build such a helipad. Every can collected, rinsed and crushed is one more step towards the goal of funding a helipad.
The government and air ambulance have their own funding problems so have no spare money for helipads. Rotary and Rotaract are doing everything possible to help. Helipads for Hospital (a not for profit charity) aims to relieve sickness and to preserve and protect good health. Since this objective closely aligns with one of our main areas of focus, Rotary and Rotaract have been busy collecting aluminium cans to donate.
Aluminium, when bolted together, is very strong, creating helipads that do not require any maintenance and can be repositioned if necessary. The helipads are constructed with a 24-hour lighting system and a ramp giving direct trolley access into the hospital.
Members of my Rotary club (Peterborough Ortons) have liaised with my husband’s club (Huntingdon Cromwell) to collect, rinse and crush as many aluminium drinks cans as possible. The ring pulls have been removed as they are made of a different metal. These also have been effectively recycled.
On a life changing trip to the Philippines, Jane Walker witnessed first hand the harsh lives of families living on rubbish dumps in Manila and the cemeteries of Navotas. She set up the Purple Community Fund aiming to improve the quality of life for these impoverished Filipino communities. Fathers sand down the rough edges of the pull tabs, clean and polish them and the mothers crochet the ring pulls into different shape handbags, belts, coasters, placemats, even cushions. This project provides employment, and an income prevents these familes having to scavenge on the dumps to survive.
Both are exceptional and imaginative recycling schemes that Rotary is proud to support.