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To mark International Women’s Day, Issy Sanderson, a member of the Rotary Club of York Ainsty has organised a life changing workshop  in partnership with Days for Girls.

The project, which encourages the manufacture and distribution of washable, reusable hygiene kits for girls and women in developing countries.

Issy and over 300 volunteers, including members of the public, school groups and the Lord Mayor of York, have taken to the iconic setting of York Minster to host Great Britain and Ireland’s largest ever Days for Girls workshop, where they will make hundreds of kits.

Not only will the kits provide sustainable sanitation, but they will also provide a number of other benefits to the women who receive them. The kits give girls and women the confidence to attend school and markets during menstruation, allowing them to carry on with their lives.

In addition, thanks to the design of a Teacher’s Pack showing women overseas how they can recreate the kits in their communities both by hand and machine, using local, accessible materials, women are now able to start their own income-generating projects.

This is something with which Issy is very familiar: “Having spent most of my working life in developing countries initiating self-help and income-generating projects, I am only too aware of how easily people can be discouraged from continuing with a project if they think that they cannot make things because they don’t have the same ‘fancy’ materials that we have.”

The emphasis of this project really is to empower women, and Issy added: “I want a girl who receives one of our kits to be able to say ‘I can make more of these myself.’”

There are now small groups of women making kits in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Ghana, with the kits being made at York Minister travelling as far as Nepal and Pakistan for distribution later this month.

Issy was interviewed live on BBC Radio York and discussed the project with host Georgey Spanswick. You can listen to the interview here (from approximately 38 minutes in), which is available until Thursday 7th April.


First Published By RotaryGBI: Tuesday 8th March 2016

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We are pleased to announce that Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland has been accredited as a Living Wage Employer.

The Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at the Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland Support Centre, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors, receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.25. This is significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £6.70 and the new minimum wage premium for over 25s of £7.20 per hour set to be introduced this April.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK. Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public, it is a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet.

Living Wage Foundation Director, Sarah Vero, said: “We are delighted to welcome Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland to the Living Wage movement as an accredited employer.

“The best employers are voluntarily signing up to pay the Living Wage now and are a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.

“We have accredited over 2,000 leading employers, including Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland. These businesses recognise that clinging to the national minimum wage is not good for business. Customers expect better than that.”

To work for Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland visit our vacancies page.


First Published by RotaryGBI: Tuesday 1st March 2016

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Picture3*#WhatNext?: Theme of Rotaract GBI Conference. 

This year RotaractGBI will be holding our annual conference adjacent to the RotaryGBI Conference.  Conveniently being held within the Bournemouth International Centre on Saturday 2nd April 2016, Rotaractors will still have the chance to enjoy all of the many RIBI Conference functions and entertainment, have the opportunity to attend the inspiring plenaries on Friday and Sunday; but also attend our very own conference session on Saturday 2nd April 2016 in the Bay Suite of the BIC.

For Rotaractors it is £40 for the whole weekend.

Rotaractors don’t need to do anything different, just register in the usual way here!

#RotaractCon16 #RGBICon16  #RotaractGBI


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Eleven Rotarians, hitherto unsung heroes are this year’s Champions of Change following nominations being made by their District Governors. They epitomise efforts made in one of the two categories for International or Domestic projects.

The four Rotarians who will receive an award for their volunteer work, primarily focused on addressing humanitarian concerns within Great Britain and Ireland, are:

  • Grant Stephen of the Rotary Club of Duns, Berwickshire, Scotland worked to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s Scotland, with steps being made for Duns to be recognised as a dementia friendly town.
  • Therese Brook of the Rotary Club of Chichester, Harbour has played a key role in the Welcome Boxes project, which provides families who are relocated following instances of domestic violence with essential food items for their new accommodation.
  • Alison Sutherland of the Rotary Club of Cardiff Bay has worked with refugees and asylum seekers in the Welsh capital. Working with a local help centre, programmes are in place to help provide the centre’s residents with methods of integrating within their new communities.
  • Kevin Walsh of the Rotary Club of Brampton & Longtown, Cumbria organised a project to provide mountain rescue teams with updated equipment including an automatic chest compressor for climbers who had suffered heart attacks.

The following seven Rotarians will receive an award for their work internationally:

  • Ian Dow, of the Rotary Club of Aberdeen St. Nicholas, had hands on involvement with the club’s Education in The Gambia project, which has provided teacher training and educational equipment for a fishing village in the country.
  • Robin Hamilton of the Rotary Club of Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland whose involvement with the Kalimpong Project has helped tackle the problem of human trafficking in North East India by providing shelter homes and Vocational Training Centres.
  • Joy Palmer-Cooper of the Rotary Club of Alnwick has been involved with Project Sri Lanka, whose initiatives provide long-term community development for areas hit by the 2004 tsunami.
  • Barry Pollard of the Rotary Club of Harrogate Brigantes has developed and led a project, which improves education in rural Nepal, with a particular focus on IT.
  • Roger Neuberg of the Rotary Club of Oadby organised a project, which provided 32 motorcycle ambulances to eastern Uganda, to reduce instances of women losing their life during labour, as well as responding to other emergency calls.
  • Himansu Basu of the Rotary Club of Northfleet with Ebsfleet led a team of Rotary members who travelled to India as part of the Collaborative Action in Lowering of Maternity Encountered Deaths (CALMED) project.
  • Peter Bradley of the Rotary Club of Edgware & Stanmore has helped to raise over £1 million following the Ebola outbreak. As a result of Peter’s contribution, Liberia has become Ebola-free with schemes in place to train new medical professionals.

This year’s awards are taking place at the House of Lords, on Wednesday 20th April and will be hosted by Baron Inglewood of Hutton in the Forest in the County of Cumberland.

Minister for Civil Society and MP for Reading East Rob Wilson will be presenting the awards. Mr Wilson has a keen personal and professional interest in encouraging people to engage in social action, volunteering and the Big Society Initiative, a key principle of Rotary.

It’s never too early to be on the look out for a fellow Rotarian who deserved to be recognised in next year’s Champions of Change. Talk to your Assistant Governor or District Governor and tell them about your nominee and their great work. You could be sitting next to one.

News article from RotaryGBI


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Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland will be attending the Big Bang Fair, which will be held at the NEC in Birmingham from 16th-19th March 2016.

The four-day event is the biggest event of its kind for young people to get involved with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), with nearly 70,000 people attending last year.

Rotary will be in attendance to showcase our Technology Tournaments, which have been specifically designed to offer young people the chance to get involved with STEM, alongside other Rotary youth competitions.

A tournament consists of teams of four students undertaking an unseen challenge of a design, build and test nature, against the clock. The task is consistent with the requirements of the national curriculum, with its execution developing team building, communication, planning and time management skills whilst solving the design and technology problem in question.

In previous years, Rotary’s exhibition stand at the Big Bang has provided its visitors with fiendish puzzle to conquer, and this year will be no different.

Donna Wallbank, member of the Rotary Membership Committee said: “The event has proven to be a great success in the past. We are confident that as a result of attending the fair once more, that more young people will want to take part in the activities we offer and that all we do will be of interest to those who visit the Big Bang Fair.”


First Published by RotaryGBI: Wednesday 17th February 2016


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A very special occasion took place at Bourne End and Cookham Rotary Club recently. DRR of 1090, Rachel Gerrish was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship (PHF).

Paul Harris was the founder of Rotary International and periodically awards are made to Rotarians, members of the Rotary family or members of the public who have made a significant contribution to their community, internationally or for humanitarian work.

Rachel 23, is currently the District Rotaract Representative for 1090. Previously she has been a Rotaract President and a member of Interact. In 6 short years she has worked in schools and orphanages in Zambia on 6 separate occasions where she also set up Rotakids Clubs for the youngest students with her friend and fellow Interactor Josie. She has attended an International Rotary Youth leadership Awards in India and then went on to work in a slum school where she helped fund equipment by completing a sky dive!

She has also spoken to delegates at Rotary Conferences about her humanitarian work and only recently has returned form the Youth Conference at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta where she amongst other things contributed to the youth debate, raising matters that were then considered by Commonwealth leaders. She with our current Chair Lou Moss were of only 2 representatives from the UK. Whilst there she also met the Rotary International President.

When she is not doing all these things she runs her own business teaching cookery skills to primary aged children in local schools , where she also finds time to help with Rotakids

Well done Rachel a great example of what young people can achieve!


Article adapted from Rotaract District 1090


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Rotary GBI are pleased to announce that Debbie Hodge of the Rotary Club of Ware, has been elected President of Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland for Rotary year 2018/19.

Commenting on her election, Debbie said: “I am delighted and honoured to have the opportunity to serve as President in 2018/19, and will seek to share my enthusiasm for Rotary Service with our members and the wider community as we continue to put Service above Self.”

In addition, we can also announce that Brian Stoyel (pictured above right) of the Rotary Club of Saltash, has been elected as the Rotary International Director (Zone 18a) for 2017-19.

On his election, Brian said: “It is a great pleasure and privilege to have been elected for 2017-19. My lasting interest and joy in Rotary stems from seeing at first hand the wonderful work the organisation contributes to across the globe, and the role of Director will afford me a wider opportunity to meet and listen to the thoughts and ideas of people for the continued well-being of Rotary.”

I look forward to meeting you and sincerely thank you for the opportunity.

Debbie and Brian first joined Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland in 2001 and 1981 respectively, and have been involved with the organisation in a wide variety of capacities throughout their time as members.

Niall Blair (pictured bottom right), of the Rotary Club of Marlow, has also been elected as the Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland Hon. Treasurer for 2017/18 (unopposed).

First Published by RotaryGBI: Tuesday 2nd February 2016


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Article from The Rotaract Club of Colchester

Inspired by the Christmas spirit we decided to participate in Colchester Food Bank project at Tesco Superstore. The members of our club spare time, enthusiasm and efforts in the hope of collecting food for the people in need. And here are some photos and thoughts of our members who took part in the project.

It was exciting and a bit scary at first, but people would smile as they donated food for strangers in need in the spirit of the Christmas holiday. I really feel like we make a difference and help people in need just by sacrificing a bit of our time.” – Zornitsa Kofinova

Colchester Food Bank donates food to all poor people that belong to the Colchester community; basically it allows people to help others in their community. Colchester food bank was a gratifying experience for me because it showed me how charitable people can be.” – Stefani Pavlova (Membership Officer of Rotaract club in Colchester)

It was really nice seeing that people do care about those who are unfortunate and in need. Everyone who donated food or money had a broad smile on their face showing that they did it from their heart. I was happy to be part of this project which proved how kind people can be.” – Lili Gesheva (Social Officer of Rotaract club in Colchester)

The volunteering for Colchester food bank was a pleasure and mainly the fact knowing we have helped for the collection of someones warm dinner.” – Miroslava Ivandzhikova

“We would like to offer a big thank you to Simona Iribozova, President of the Colchester Rotaract Club for organising five students from Essex University to collect donations at Tesco Hythe on Saturday 5 December!” Colchester Foodbank 10/12/2015

To find out more about the Rotaract Club of Colchester please click here





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Report from The Rotaract Club of Colchester

The Rotary club of Colchester Centurion and Colchester International influenced our Rotaract Club in Colchester to organise a Personal Development & Leadership Conference for the professional benefit of the young people in UK who support local community. The event was held in a friendly manor at an Art Caffe specifically chosen for the purpose of contributing value to the disabled community who works there. Six very reputed and successful guest speakers in diverse business areas attended the meeting. Christine Beedle, Robert Kasozi, Robin Webb, Olga Igumnova Lawson shared their views and personal experience on the topic of Ambitions. Business & Leadership in the UK was introduced by Richard Evans. Ian Lawson covered the topic for Rotary International and Professional development Programmes.

Most of our members were fascinated by the speech of Christine Beedle who managed, on her own, to establish a house keeping company. The story tells that one can do business from anything if they know how to manage and sell it no matter what obstacles they are facing. Now we want to share the quotes of our members regarding this:

I had a great time during the conference.Christine Beedle inspired me a lot, for my future and also in education. She advised us not to panic and put all of our effort in things we do, consequently the outcome might surprise us.” – Cherry Wong (Publicity Officer of Rotaract club in Colchester)

Other thoughts regarding the conference:

I learnt a lot from the personal development conference because the speakers shared a lot of valuable working experiences and I also learnt to never underestimate yourself and keep trying new things in order to succeed where you never expected you could.” – Che Ying (Treasurer of Rotaract club in Colchester)

All the guest speakers showed us different life situations and advised us how to handle diverse problems. It was a pleasure to be part of the conference.” – Simona Iribozova (President of Rotaract club in Colchester)

Additionally there were some treats:

It was a nice talk with cake and a lot of good experience.” – Nutha Kerpittaya

To find out more about the Rotaract Club of Colchester please click here

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At the start of the year, people often set themselves targets to get active, but Colin Bell, a member of the Rotary Club of Bodmin has recently completed a year-long challenge of epic proportions.

Colin aimed to run 2015 km during 2015, and if that wasn’t ambitious enough, he completed lots of it with a Shelterbox strapped to his back, all to raise money for the charity.

The miles have been accumulated by taking part in fun runs, challenges and full length marathons right across the country, with Colin’s total distance equating to 48 marathons over the course of the year.

Despite being hampered by an injury as 2015 came to a close, leaving him just 50 km short of his target, Colin was far from deterred and completed the final stage of his challenge on 26th January 2016, after walking across Cornwall, from his home in Bodmin to ShelterBox HQ in Helston.

Colin commented: “The reception I’ve had has been wonderful. People know about the charity and the great work they do. If there are families in need of emergency shelter, ShelterBox does everything it can to help them rebuild their lives.”

ShelterBox is a disaster relief charity providing large plastic containers filled with essential items, such as tents thermal blankets and cooking equipment, for families who have been displaced following disasters. Colin’s fundraising total, currently amounting to over £1,200 is enough to provide two of these potentially lifesaving boxes.

Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland recently renewed the project partnership with ShelterBox to continue until at least 2019, and Colin’s efforts are further evidence of our members’ appetite to support this cause.


Frist Published by RotaryGBI: Thursday 28th January 2016