|What is Rotary?
Rotary is short for Rotary International a worldwide association of local clubs for men and women in business or the professions who: provide humanitarian service to the community at local, national and international level; encourage high ethical standards in all vocations; and work for goodwill and peace in the world.
Rotary was founded by Paul Harris in 1905 and now has over 1.2 million members in more than 29,000 clubs in 159 countries and 35 geographical regions. There are 1,800 clubs in Great Britain and Ireland with over 61,000 members.
Who are we?
The Rotary Club of Maidstone Riverside was founded in 1991. We meet every Tuesday evening at Oakwood House in Maidstone. This allows people who live locally but work elsewhere to become members as well as those who work in Maidstone.
We are a mixed group with members living all over the Maidstone area and beyond. Our members represent a wide range of trades, professions, business activities and industries but we all have two things in common - wanting to provide help to those less fortunate than ourselves and - having fun whilst doing so.
What do we do?
We are an active group of like minded people who like to get involved in fundraising events and community activities whilst having fun and fellowship. The funds we raise are used to support local, national and international charities as well as not-for-profit groups.
Since 1991 the club has raised in excess of £350,000 which has largely benefited local charities and organisations, but has also provided help nationally and internationally. Currently, among others, we are providing funds locally to Kent Prostate Cancer Support group, West Kent Crossroads Carers, “chYps” children’s hospice at home and Maidstone Day Care Centre to assist in their programmes. Nationally we are supporting Breast Cancer Breakthrough and McMillan Cancer. Internationally we are working with the Gulu Mission Initiative in Northern Uganda where over £5,000 has been raised and donated to help build new classrooms for the local children. A similar project is now also underway with a school for orphaned children whose parents died of AIDS in Copperbelt region of Northern Zambia. This project is called “Hands of Compassion” and monies raised are going towards the building of new classroom facilities.
Rotary is not just about raising money. We also have a direct involvement in the local community where we use our business and professional expertise in helping with mentoring programmes for teenagers and young adults who are setting out on their careers. We give other physical help when called on by a number of local charities such as helping take blood pressures of the general public as part of our support of Stroke Awareness Day.
Internationally we are involved in the “End Polio Now” campaign where club members have been to India to help administer the polio vaccine to young children in support of the global programme to eradicate this disease and also make up ‘Emergency Supply Boxes’ which could be sent anywhere in the world where a disaster strikes.
Where does the money come from?
All these activities have, of course, to be financed. But Rotary does not expect its members to fund charitable activities exclusively out of their own pockets. Instead we ask our members to channel their ideas, expertise and energy into fund raising events.
Over the years we have organised Dragon Boat Racing days, Charity Auctions, Go-Karting, Quiz Nights and Dances. We have been responsible for manning the gates at the Kent County Show, washed cars, sold raffle tickets, rattled tins and manned Christmas car-parks. We even held an activity day on the M20 between Maidstone and Ashford just prior to the formal opening. All of these events were well supported and many will be repeated in the future.
So next time you notice the Rotary emblem at a charity event or in the lapel of someone holding a collecting tin you will we hope, having read this information, have a better idea of what we are doing and why we are doing it.
For more information please visit www.riversiderotary.co.uk.