Week 46 – What is Rotary doing in 2019-20

The new Rotary year starts on 1st July and this weekend I have attended the Rotary District 1200 Assembly.

This is the opportunity for clubs to find out what plans Rotary International, and our district, have for the year 2019-20.

The Rotary International Mission:
Together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

“We can achieve this because Rotarians are people of action, we have access to a global network of people, we would otherwise never know, giving us the ability to turn inspiration into real and lasting change. We have that ability because of who we are and because of what Rotary allows us to do.”


The process of change in Rotary has gained momentum in the past few years and is now well established with the formation of new, family friendly clubs.  So what can we expect in 2019-20?

In the coming Rotary year our Rotary District will be focusing on some very real issues of our time, issues which we are all touched by wherever we are.

  • Environment
  • Mental Health
  • Loneliness

Rotary District are there to support clubs in their own activities, and these are some of the initiatives which i heard about which Rotary in Sherborne might like to embrace.

  1.  Youth – Rotakids.  Our club is already engaged with the RYLA and Breakthrough projects, but what about Rotakids in primary schools?  These clubs introduce humanitarian activity to kids aged 7 – 12 providing opportunities for active citizenship at a very young age.  Here are some comments from youngsters in a Rotakids club in our district.
    • “We listen more to teachers and show more respect and we gain respect from others”
    • “The pledge changed everything, we are more respectful’
    • “This is exciting as we have the chance to help other people to have a better life”
    • “I like that we get to choose which charities to support. Last year I really enjoyed hosting the cake sale which raised lots of money for End Polio Now

2.   Shelterbox, which is a Rotary initiative is now being introduced to secondary school children who are taking their GCSEs.  A great initiative which will help them to apply their learning to the realities of the world we live in.    Support for introducing Shelterbox in our schools is available from Hugh Deed ( I call him Mr Shelterbox) in our district to help clubs promote this in their local schools.

3.  Loneliness.   Support for clubs looking to address this issue in their communities, is available from the District Humanitarian support lead Rupert Cox who has been specifically focused on this subject.

4.  Yeovil Hospital Breast Cancer Unit appeal.  Last year our district raised £60K, with the help of Rotary grants, to provide equipment for the new cancer care unit at Dorchester.  This year we are supporting  Yeovil hospital to provide a new breast cancer unit.  They have received a legacy of £1m to start the project but they need to raise another £1m.   Clubs in our district is being asked to help raise £25-£30K.  The district team will then work their magic to turn this into £100K with the help of Rotary grants.

5. New membership.  To support new membership initiatives, every club in district 1200 is invited to apply to district for funding of up to £500.

Also at the Assembly, two awards were made to two very special Rotarians in our district, both of whom are great examples of “turning inspiration into real and lasting change”.

  • Past District Governor Keith Barnard-Jones (I always call him Mr Polio) received the Rotary Foundation Regional and International Award for Polio Eradication Services.  Four such awards have been presented worldwide to very special individuals who are committed to the total eradication of polio.
  • Hugo Pike who started the amazingly successful Water Survival Box project in our district, received the a Paul Harris Fellow – Sapphire pin.

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