DG Blog May 2021


I write this blog following my last District Executive meeting as your District Governor, and the next forum is Assembly – one of the most important events of the year where the incoming team set out their plans for the year ahead. Please join the event and learn how Michael and his team plan to move Rotary forward as we emerge from restrictions.


Our hearts go out to the people in these countries who are suffering appallingly from covid and the lack of available hospital beds and oxygen concentrators. I know that funds are constrained but even a little goes a long way when combined with the gifting from all the clubs. Please consider helping.


I had a great opportunity on Saturday to visit the Rotary shop in Frome. What a fantastic venture – and I am aware that other clubs have also taken shops – more recently, Chippenham.

The one in Frome is a collaborative effort by the three Rotary clubs there and on Saturday it was manned by Becky and her team from Frome Town with Dot Cretney presiding over activity. (And Dot and the team have a huge amount of experience to share with other clubs around what works well and what doesn’t.) There was a vibrant atmosphere in the shop which is spacious and airy and made for a pleasant covid-compliant browsing experience. Takings were approx. £600 by lunchtime, and not only is the activity raising significant funds for Rotary, but also promoting public awareness of Rotary in Frome. Anyway, I came away with some antique kitchen scales, a towel rail, board game and brand-new jigsaw, all for a worthy donation of £40. A bargain, Becky and Dot assured me! What a great way to raise funds to support the calls for financial assistance in our communities and internationally.


While at the Frome shop, I met with Penny Underwood and we discussed Global Hub and Passport Club. Global Hub is a Rotary club in itself, and my wife Julie and Penny are finding the online version of Rotary to be interesting and worthwhile as an alternative approach to being a ‘traditional’ Rotarian. It can be used to incubate clubs ‘in the making’, just as satellites with traditional clubs, which can either remain a useful ‘arm’ of existing clubs or develop into independent clubs and charter. Flexibility is the way forward – finding models that suit the aspirations of potential Rotarians as well as existing ones. It is a sad fact that several of the people leaving Rotary have only been members for less than three years which shows that we have not got it right yet, but I know that there is great enthusiasm for pursuing more flexible ways of conducting Rotary (whilst respecting the existing formula which suits many more) and I look forward to seeing how this innovation progresses in our district.


Our conference committee wanted to ensure that conference had a legacy and the conference website  (rebranded Rotary Showcase) https://district1200.co.uk  contains, in the various zones, many useful video presentations on the projects that Rotary supports and helpful material in the membership zone on Rotakids, Interact, Rotaract and joining Rotary. There is useful material for a club meeting, whether face-to-face or virtual – many presentations could be used in lieu of a speaker. We hope that in years to come, others will add to this online resource.

My wife Julie was asked to write an article about the issues encountered in holding a virtual conference and it is featured in the online version of the Rotary Magazine – fame for district 1200!! You’ll find the article here:

Don’t let the flame of the Rotary conference fade – Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland (rotarygbi.org)

In my virtual meetings with clubs since the conference, I’ve remarked that ‘it was our first, and hopefully our last’, virtual conference. However, some Rotarians have rightly challenged me on this, and what I should clarify is that hopefully it was our first enforced virtual conference – because the feedback about preferences for the future format is worth noting. 14% would actually prefer a virtual conference; 27% a blended (face-to-face plus virtual) conference; 14% would like a weekend conference; 25% a one-day event. (Other responses included ‘no preference’ and ‘a two-day virtual conference’.)

It was pleasing to note that the Volunteer Expo (previously National Conference), which was a very professional event, deliberately set out to be outward-facing – just as our own conference was. In terms of value for money, I passionately believe that we should be using conference to showcase to non-Rotarians the work that we carry out.              


Through your generosity Stan Jones was able to submit the Yeovil District Hospital Breast Cancer Unit application. That is two Global Grants approved in this year, in our district.

Dorset County Hospital Chemotherapy Department, medical equipment £46,342

Yeovil District Hospital Breast Cancer Unit, Ultra-Sound Scanner £70,310

Once again this is testament to the work of Rotarians across our district – and two very worthy causes.

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