ACT LOCALLY, IMPACT GLOBALLY – this was a theme celebrated by Rotarians from Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire at their annual conference in Wells on Saturday.
This phrase was repeated many times by the various partner organisations with whom Rotarians have worked to change lives on a global scale. Speakers at the conference, expressed how important the relationship with Rotary is to their work, whether it is providing actual help, such as when building a heath centre in Nepal, by saving “ring pulls” which are the basic material for enabling families in the Philippines to run small businesses creating bags and jewellery, or taking part in abseil and zip wire challenges to raise funds to educate children in South African townships.
Our speakers emphasised how important it is for them to work with local Rotarians, wherever local is, and that can sometimes be in a country in crises where local Rotarians with local knowledge can help small charities, for example by helping them to buy services locally, saving money and giving trade to local businesses, an option not always available to large charities.
There were of course some lighter moments during the event, with presentations from Atlantic rower Sally Kettle and Dr Phil Hammond NHS Doctor, journalist and comedian. and of course our DG Stewart joining Eternal Taal, the Indian dancers and drummers who provided some lunchtime entertainment.
A Showcase of the various projects carried out by clubs in our district, and some of the local charties we work with, showed just how active our Rotarians are with innovative projects which truly show that Rotarians are People of Action whose skills, enthusiasm and contacts, both locally and internationally continue to make a difference in our own communities, and around the world.
Lisa Hunter from the Rotary club of Maidenhead Bridge talked to us about how Rotary works in Maidenhead. Their club is mostly young families who focus on giving their time with an annual target of giving 1,800 hours to community activity. They work as teams to work on various activities and when they meet, the family can come too. They have 6 children who sometimes come along to Rotary meetings. The formation of this club has led to expansion of Rotary in Maidenhead as there is choice in the town of whether to join this young vibrant club or a more traditional club, and all clubs work together.
Want to know more about Rotary in Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire? Interested in new “Rotary 2” clubs which can to fit in with the lives of the young, social media generation or special interest groups? Contact us to find out more.
You can find out more about some of the speakers and projects featured at our conference by following the links below.
Purple Community Fund – Jane Walker -poverty reduction programmes for disenfranchised communities.
Khalsa Aid – Ravi Singh – humanitarian aid in disaster and war zones.
SOS Africa – Mat Crowcombe and Claudia Titley – education for children in South Africa
The Nepal Trust – Jeroen van Bergh and Dr Mike Love – supports work in one of the most impoverished and remote areas in the world – the upper Kamali river zone of North-West Nepal
Dr Phil Hammond – NHS Doctor, journalist and comedian
Sally Kettle – adventurer, television presenter Atlantic oarswoman.