Looking in from the Outside……..

As Rotarian’s we meet regularly and I often wonder what non Rotarian’s see when they walk past a Rotary meeting?

I wonder if they see all the good work that Rotary achieve both locally or overseas, the benefit it brings to all aspects of the community and the opportunities that Rotary make available to them as individuals or families.

So at our last meeting, I stood outside and looked at our meeting set up from a Non- Rotarian point of view and thought, would I feel comfortable and welcome and would it work for me.

Well, I could see Rotary Pull Ups, promoting our areas of focus including, The Rotary Family, End Polio Now, Youth Competitions, Our Programmes and details of our forthcoming Carnival.

Looking past the Pull ups, I could see a group of individuals aged between 25-80 in T- Shirts with the Rotary logo on the front and ‘Rotarian at work’ on the back. They were in a relaxed environment in lively conversation while drinking coffee or tea, appearing, to the outsider to be having fun at the same time a couple of children were playing in the corner.

Looking through the window, I could see an open, friendly and welcoming environment allowing potential Rotarian’s the confidence to start the conversation that I hope will turn out to be the start of their Rotary journey.

On reflection I was happy, but as we know there is always an opportunity to improve. There was a number of gaps:

  1. Our leaflets were not accessible to passers by
  2. We don’t have a welcome ‘come and join us’ message
  3. We don’t have a ‘call to action’ for our projects.

One for our PR Team, I think…..

So if your a member of a Rotary Club, take a look from the outside and see what you think. Does the signage you use give the correct message? Does that bell, and table top lectern, with a person at the front wearing a chain around their neck, talking to a group sitting at dining tables provide the welcome you are looking for?…..

7 Habits of a Highly Effective Rotarian…..

Over a number of years I have used “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey as a reference guide. I have dipped in and out to allow me to refocus my plans and goals. On reflection I feel that the the 7 Habits fit perfectly within a Rotary environment

Here are the key insights from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:-

  1. Be proactive. Change starts from within. As Rotarian’s we have made the decision to improve the world around us. We take charge  of our events and assume responsibility for our project whatever they maybe.
  2. Begin with an end in mind. We have a vision for the future and align your actions accordingly to make it into a reality
  3. Put first things first. We prioritise our work,  we focus on what’s important, bringing our vision of the future into out today.
  4. Think win-win. When  we look at our relationships we aim to create a solution or project that works for all parties, this allows us to build strong long lasting positive relationships.
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. When we are presented with a problem, we first take time to really listen to all parties and only then create solutions that not only work for today but are sustainable for the future.
  6. Synergise Eg 1+1 = 3. We adopt the guiding principle that in a group, the contributions of many will far exceed those of any individual.  This allows us to achieve goals, we are a TEAM and we know Together Everyone Achieve More.
  7. Sharpen the saw. We take time out to create a sustainable lifestyle that affords us time to recuperate, recharge and re-educate, allowing us to be effective in the long-term. Think Family, Work, then Rotary.

7th-13th October is the Time to Reconnect…


7th-13th October is Rotary Reconnect Week! During this celebration, Rotary invites former Rotaractors, Interactors, Rotary Peace Fellows, Rotary Scholars, Youth Exchange students, and other Rotary program attendees to renew their connection to Rotary.

Past program participants who have lost their active connection to Rotary can refresh their ties by visiting club meetings, helping with projects, and engaging online. By doing so, they can experience again how Rotary reshapes lives locally and globally.

So how can we re-engage

  • Invite past Youth competition and RYLA attendees, to a social event.
  • Organise a project during Reconnect Week or during October.
  • Don’t forget to invite their family the more the merrier
  • Ask them to visit club and talk about their life experience since last attending

Paul Harris Fellowship… Well Done Bernard

Last night I had the honour and pleasure of presenting on behalf of the members of the Rotary Club of the Sussex Vale a Paul Harris Fellowship to Bernard O’Rourke.

After a long career in construction, which took him all over Africa, Bernard eventually returned to the UK and worked on several major rail projects.  with retirement looming he looked around for something to keep him occupied.  Rotary was an obvious choice.

in 2015 Bernard joined the Rotary Club Of The Sussex Vale and since then has proved to be an exceptional Rotarian,  always going the extra mile and willing to take on any project thrown at him.

In 2017 he was elected vice chairman and in 2018 he became the club president.  So successful was his year that the club asked him to stay on for a 2nd term in office for the year 2019 to 2020. Since taking office, and with his encouragement, the club have fully supported the rotary foundation and the end polio now campaign.

in his first year, he took part in the Purple For Polio Round Britain Car Tour, raising funds for End Polio. His tireless work for the club and Rotary make him a well deserving recipient of a Paul Harris Fellowship award.

Once again congratulations Bernard

Avoiding the Cliff Edge

Ever since I joined Rotary, the age profile of Rotary has been a worry. If we look at the basic figures we are doing well, we are increasing the numbers within the Rotary Family. But and its a Big BUT……… We need to do more, and sooner rather than later in fact starting NOW.

Why you ask… Well if we look at the life expectancy statistics for the UK from the Office of National Statistics for the period 2015-2017( latest figure next due Sept 19) Life expectancy is 79.2 Male 82.9 Female . Rotary South D1145 current average age is 71.1 which is just under 3 years younger than the RIBI average.

But here is the sting in the tail 64.7 % are 75 or over and if we look at everyone over retirement age its 85.3%. So how do we avoid the cliff edge?

So what can we do….. With all the support available from the District and RIBI it has never been easier to start new Clubs.

So firstly lets look at increasing the number of RotaKids, Interactors and Rotaractors and alternate club meetings within the district. with the aim of lowering the barriers to potential Rotarians while creating a pipeline of unique individuals.

So why not see if there are a small group within your club willing to look into the following

  1. Starting and alternate meeting time suitable for the potential Rotarian that cannot make current meeting type of style.
  2. Contact local Schools and look at supporting them, with the aim of starting a RotaKids or Interact Club
  3. Contact the individuals that you have sent to Rotary Youth Leadership Awards or entered into the youth Competition or have supported in the past and ask them to help start a Rotaract Club.

Dont forget to keep them involved with your activities and listen to their ideas.
Remember we are a Rotary Family

Rotary4All – A Scouters perspective.

Few days Rotary free while i was on the 7th Littlehampton Air Scouts Group Camp. The time spent on camp reminded me how much Rotary and Scouts have in common but how differently they approach growth and creating a family.

Having been within Scouting for over 20 years followed by a number of years as a Rotarian, it has never ceased to amaze me how easier it is to move through the Scouting family.

Looking at a Rotary through Scouting eyes looking at how we can take the lessons learnt within the scouting Association into Rotary

Looking at the following their are some quick wins

The Family,                  Structure,
Programmes              Linking & Reducing the Barriers within Rotary
The Way Forward    Quick wins for Rotary (Reduce Barriers while widening its appeal).

The Family – Both organisations state they are a family. The Scout Family age range is from 6 onwards while, The Rotary Family start at 7.  But that’s where the similarity begins to stop. Starting with Scouts. All members in all sections are Scouts whatever sections they are in Beavers, Cubs, Scout Explorer or Network they are Scouts. Scouts learnt long ago that the leaders of the future come from inside the organisation and work hard to ensure that Beavers at the age of 6 remain in scouting, with the aim of eventually becoming Adult Leaders. Keeping the Pipelinge of future leaders. All leaderis my group that are under 35 all started at the age of 6 in our beaver colony.

In Rotary RotaKids and Interact sit within the Youth Committee, Rotaract sits within Membership and although they are partners there is still a disconnect and a lack of a joined-up plan or programme to move them through the sections.

Many Rotarians don’t see the opportunity and value and potential of the younger sections which leads to poor participation. both in forming clubs and working together

This has meant that over the years the progression from Rotaract to Rotary Club has been poor to say the least.

Programme – When it comes to what we do both organisations have a plan, it’s just the implementation method is different. The Scout Association work around its programme, this provides objectives and forms the foundations of a Balanced Programme, this sets out what a young person should get from Scouting.  The objectives cover several areas under the topics of:

  • Physical,
  • Intellectual,
  • Emotional,
  • Social
  • Spiritual/belief development.

The objectives are section specific, and are what a young person should be able to do by the time they leave a section. They are progressive, meaning that knowledge and skills is built up as young progress through the sections, working towards a final objective for each topic.

A simple example could be as follows: –

Beavers 6-8                            Draw an Aeroplane
Cubs 8-10                                Make a paper Aeroplane
Scouts 10-14                          Make a Model/ Remote Control Aeroplane
Explorers onwards 14+     Make a plane Fly Glider

In addition to this Groups and Districts hold regular cross section events to achieve a common aim example would be family camp activities camps, Fun Days where all mingle and recruitment opportunities arise. there is an official moving on event when they move from one part of family to next .

Within Rotary we are aware that every community has its own unique needs and concerns. We maximise our impact by focusing our efforts in six key areas. These areas encompass some of the world’s most critical and widespread humanitarian needs, and we have a proven record of success in addressing them:

  • Peace and conflict prevention/resolution
  • Disease prevention and treatment
  • Water and sanitation
  • Maternal and child health
  • Basic education and literacy
  • Economic and community development

This allows our Rotakids, Interacters to pick projects, but currently there is a minimal link between the groups and joint projects .

The Way Forward

So, where do we start, I would create a true family where all members of Rotary whatever section are called Rotarians.  Produce a strategy to create a membership plan to maximise benefits covering all areas and sections of membership. 

This has many benefits including the following: –

  • Instantly broadens the image of Rotary becomes a Family organisation.
  • Reduces the average age
  • Provides a Rotary with a path for membership with ease of movement between sections
  • Good new story promotes Rotary
  • Creates a broader stronger Rotary Team.

We all know we are better as a TEAM (Together We Achieve More)

With regards to the programme we have a base structure and programme in place, what appears to be missing is a method of linking the sections, creating content that appeals to all ages with the ability to link sections at all levels and making this visible externally. This could be achieved by investing time in the following: –

  • Family oriented social events
  • Joint club meeting
  • All section participation at fund raisers
  • Family friendly Community service projects
50+ Scouts aged from 6 -75 under the group Parachute

Volunteer Expo webinars –

Volunteer Expo webinars taking place this week.

These webinars will assist in the engagement of our district, club and community on Volunteer Expo. Both sessions are identical so please only register for one. The recording will be made available afterwards for those unable to attend.

Tuesday 6th August 2019 from 8am – 9am

Thursday 8th August 2019 from 6pm – 7pm

1145 Showcase speaker- Aldo Crisci founder of Clink receives recognition

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said “the Clink’s “unique opportunity to work in a professional restaurant” reduces the chance of re-offending. Aldo Crisci,

The Clink has several restaurants open to the public which are inside the prison and run by the prisoners. They encourage prisoners to take NVQ’s and then help them find jobs on their release.

The Clink project works with offenders before and after release and organises the transition into jobs, in a catering industry that faces a shortage of skilled staff. A high-quality restaurant in prison, where inmates can learn valuable skills in cooking and hospitality, is making a “significant” difference in cutting re-offending rates, say researchers.

Aldo Crisci, founder of the Clink Charity, a novel approach to prisoner rehabilitation. Success is evident by the low rate of re-offending post release.

We are fortunate to have Aldo Crisci as a speaker at our the 1145 showcase.

For more information see links below
BBC Prison restaurant serves up cut in re-offending.
District 1145 Showcase