Creating Smiles – Transforming Lives

International project: cleft lip/cleft palate surgery – Indonesia

In 2000, in line with our Rotary mission to provide ‘Service’ to those in need worldwide, the Club’s International Committee agreed to join 17 other Rotary Clubs in Bali, Germany, Luxembourg, and the United States – to help fund this project to be run by the RC of Nusa Dua on the island of Bali. Since 1994 the Indonesian Club had successfully managed a series of cleft lip/palate projects, supported by overseas funding, resulting in more than 1700 children aged between 3 and 12 years having corrective surgery. The current project target is for a further 200 children to benefit from surgery and thus greatly enhance their life chances.

Our Club donation of £2000 was enhanced by £700 from our twin Club in France (RC of Blanquefort en Medoc) and further boosted by £5000 from our Rotary District (covering the county of Somerset and the western parts of Dorset and Wiltshire). Through the Rotary Foundation (one of the top four- star rated charities in the world) donations from all contributing Rotary Clubs and Districts were further enhanced under the Global Grants scheme.

Despite the delays and added complications of the Covid pandemic during 2021 a total of 68 operations (Yesinta’s being the most recent) had been completed on children from Bali and the outlying islands of Ambon, Sumba and Timor. 

See – RC Bali Nusa Dua Cleft Lip & Palate Project on YouTube

Information and photographs supplied by Karl Heinz Schmeltzer, Rotary Club of Nusa Dua, Bali. 

News item prepared by: Hugo Pike OBE, Chairman of International Committee, Rotary Club of Chelwood Bridge

DG Blog December 2021

We continue to live in challenging times.

As expected, Rotarians have risen to the challenge and continue to support our communities. This is exemplified by the keenness in which Clubs have taken up the recently offered Project Matching Grants for service projects including

  • Taunton (supporting RYLA), Wells (supporting the provision of local defibrillators),
  • Yeo Vale (supporting The Lord’s Larder),
  • Bridport (supporting The Spinning Well),
  • Weston-super-Mare (supporting Winter Warmers, supplying clothes),
  • Shepton Mallet (Christmas toy boxes),
  • Chelwood Bridge (Breakthrough),
  • Chippenham (supporting families in Western Kenya),
  • Lyme Regis (pop up stall),
  • Dorchester Casterbridge (cooker for school in Kenya) 
  • Bradford-on Avon (children’s Christmas presents).

As a District, we are proud of our traditions and our past; as you know, two of our clubs have celebrated their centenaries recently.

The most important part of Rotary is each individual member; clubs form a vital channel through which members may serve their communities; we are doing this very effectively now, in the present. I was recently at a talk about the history of Rotary in a local club over the last hundred years. This was a story of how Rotary has adapted over the years; one which it would be prudent to learn from.

You may have heard about alternative club models; experience from within our District, and from further afield, shows that having a variety of ways to take part in Rotary strengthens existing clubs in the local area. Our District is taking part in a national pilot in having a ‘District Hub Club’ where people can join Rotary directly, rather than an existing physical club. The ‘Hub’ is online and members can’t take part in projects through the Hub itself but would be available and willing to help existing physical clubs with their projects. In the longer term, Hub members may well go onto joining physical clubs. It is envisaged that many of those joining may be new to the area. There are many ways in which to enjoy Rotary and this is another option. Whilst we may talk about the new, we absolutely value the experience and expertise of existing Clubs and the vital work done through them.

Thank you to everyone in the District for continuing to support Foundation.

It is encouraging that contributions to Foundation have increased. The Rotary Foundation is our charity; it has minimal overheads and supports local projects (such as the Cancer unit in Dorchester, and the Breast Cancer unit in Yeovil) as well as international projects such as the funding of equipment of a Children’s Cancer Unit in Cyprus, transcending political, religious and social barriers. Until relatively recently, I was unaware of the reach and influence Rotary has around the world. As mentioned at the recent District Forum and District Conference, I would like to formally congratulate Stan Jones for the outstanding work he has carried out managing grants from the Rotary Foundation over the past years. Stan was recognised in the Awards section of the Conference for this.

As 2021 comes to an end, on behalf of the District, I would like to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Michael Fernando

District Governor

Operation Pollination – COP26 Rotary Action

As a Rotarian will you and your Club promote Operation Pollination?

The changing climate impacts pollinators by shifting growing and blooming seasons and potentially weakening the plant populations that pollinators depend on. Additionally, warmer temperatures have altered migration patterns, affecting pollinator species like butterflies.”

Rotary eClub West of England have already signed the Operation Pollination pledge.

Find out more by visiting the Rotary GB&I page of the Environmental Sustainability Action Group 

An Evening with Matt Banahan

The Rotary Club are inviting you to this fundraising event on 7th February 2022

Tickets are available from Cumberwell Park Reception and from the email address shown above

“One donation, twice the impact”

Water Survival Box is taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge again this year. From next Tuesday 30 November you can help us release £10000 of pledges by making online donations to us via the Big Give. The giving period runs from noon on 30th until 12pm on 7 December. Please note that if you have already made a pledge to us you can’t make a donation.Follow this link

District Governors Blog November 2021

It gives me great pleasure to report that two of our clubs celebrated their centenaries, Weston-super-Mare and Bath. Around 300 people joined in the centenary celebrations of Rotary Weston-super-Mare at The Winter Gardens Pavilion on 23 October, joined by local dignitaries including the local Mayor and M.P. A great time was had by all. The celebrations for Bath have been postponed until April, owing to the uncertainty of the situation with Covid-19.

Chard Rotary celebrated the end of its 75th Anniversary year with a dinner, at which Stanley Hopkins and Robert Jackson were both awarded certificates of long service (50 years).

Many Clubs have supported World Polio Day on 24th October, lighting up local buildings in purple. I am delighted to share news that there have only been two cases of wild Polio reported anywhere in the world this year (the last being in January).

As you know, local Children’s Hospices (CHSW and Julia’s House) are my chosen charities for the year, as District Governor. Many of you have been putting on events in support. Many congratulations to Peter Stefanovich and Paul Arnold from Chard Rotary, who have walked between all three CHSW hospices; 156 miles over 12 walking days. Cate Whitewood and other members of Yeo Vale Rotary organised curry night in support of CHSW. Richard and Karen Meek from Chippenham Rotary put on an Italian Dinner in aid of Julia’s House. Many others have put on events in support.

The District Conference took place in Plymouth, face-to-face. Around 200 people took part and heard speakers including Plymouth resident and Royal Marine, Ben McBean, who told of his courage in the face of adversity.  Eddie Farwell, Founder of Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) talked about how he and his wife had founded it to provide services for local families with children with life limiting illnesses.  We also heard from Graham Cole, former Chairman of AgustaWestland, about providing opportunity, talking about working his way up from the shopfloor to being Chairman. Keynote speaker at the Rotary International Convention in Toronto, Xavier Ramey, gave a challenging talk about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Dr Aubrey Cunnington (Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases, St. Mary’s Hospital, London) talked about global challenges after eradicating Polio. Rotary Foundation Trustee, Aziz Memon had hoped to join us in person, but had to send a video message, owing to the global situation with Covid-19. Other speakers included local Rotarians Dot Cretney and Yinka Osoba. Past District Governor Julia Diment joined us as Rotary International President Shekhar’s representative.

Looking forward to more normal times again, there is still an early bird reduction to register for the Rotary International Convention in Houston, Texas this June. Closer to home, the next District Forum is online on Saturday 4th December at 10.00 A.M.; we would like as many clubs as possible, if not all, to be represented. Here are the joining details:

Topic: District Forum 4th December 2021
Time: Dec 4, 2021 10:00 London

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 825 0969 4823

Help us transform Edie’s life.

Edie Browne is a remarkable 9 year old girl who lives with her family in Chew Stoke. Despite battling with many health issues and disabilities, Edie loves life and is such a joyful child. She loves going out and about with her family but due to her disabilities this is very difficult. To provide the ability to go out together, the family identified a Vanraam specialised wheelchair bicycle. However this type of equipment is not Government funded. The family approached Chelwood Bridge Rotary, who in the past have raised funds to purchase a walking aid for Edie. 

Chelwood Bridge Rotary have agreed to organise crowdfunding for the Vanraam wheelchair bike, through the GlobalGiving platform. Donations will transform Edie and her family’s lives. The crowdfunding will be open for the whole of November and donations can be made via Global Giving, link below.  Thank You

Laptops4Learners in Castle Cary

The recent lock down due to the pandemic has shown a digital divide for many members of the community. Children and young people in homes without enough IT equipment are excluded from home education and catch up.

Laptops4Learners has been launched by SSDC Councillor Sarah Dyke to help people access IT across Somerset. Brue Valley Rotary Club, in conjunction with Castle Cary Town Council, is working with Castle Cary Primary School to provide Chromebooks for the pupils. It also aims to provide equipment for the members of the community who are digitally excluded and already several renovated laptops have been given to those in need. 

Working with Simon Barfoot of we are collecting old and unused equipment from which Simon wipes all data, upcycles and renovates ready to be sold or returned to the community.

The word has spread and the initiative was mentioned on Carymoor Facebook page. This was seen by Rosy James, the Environmental Manager of Hinkley Point C power station who donated tablets which were sold.

The funds raised enabled the purchase of 16 Chromebooks for the Primary School. A further 4 Chromebooks were added as a result of collections of equipment from the community.

Liz Stokes, President of Brue Valley Rotary, Judi Morison, Chair of CCTC and Simon Barfoot presented 20 Chromebooks to the Primary School on 23rd September. The Headteacher, Sarah Martin and the pupils were delighted to receive so many.

Our thanks to Nigel Phillips for providing a drop off point at Phillips Tyres in Castle Cary for your old or unused IT equipment.

Liz Stokes


What environmental project or activity?

As members of Rotary we are in a great position to organise and participate in projects to protect our environment and communities which we care so much about.

Throughout the UK Rotarians are organising projects to raise awareness and to make changes which contribute to environmental sustainability.  Small actions taken by many people can make a bit difference, whether is re-cycling, re-wilding, planting trees or walking to work.

Here in the West Country it feels like nature is in control, but we have all noticed the changes in our climate here.  How is this affecting our communities?  How is increased tourism impacting on nature?  Are we doing enough in our own lives to re-cycle what we consume and help create a circular economy?

Throughout the UK Rotary members are planning projects and raising awareness, with Eco Fairs,  school book re-cycling, community vegetable gardens and litter picks.   We talk about it but what are we doing in our communities?

If you are organising, or participating in an environmental sustainability project in your community, please email me about it so that we can share with others.

Here are some examples of what is going on throughout the UK which may help you if you need some ideas.

The Queen’s Green Canopy

Rotary in the South East

ESRAG UK – Rotary Action Group 

Rotary Billion Seed Project

Rotary Young Environmentalist Competition Winners 2021



Rotary Clubs Working Together

Our thanks go to the Rotary Clubs of Stone Town (Zanzibar), The International Rotary Club of Copenhagen ( Denmark ) and those in District 1200 who helped us with their advice and helping getting the necessary grants.

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