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.