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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