Name: Kimberly Devlin-Neil
Rotary Club: Limavady Rotary Club, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Occupation: Retired police officer
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When did you join Rotary and why?
I joined Rotary after being asked by my friend Hazel Simpson. I have known Hazel for almost 50 years, and we started our friendship at Brownies. I admire Hazel and have supported her in her Rotary journey over the years. I had been to at least six president night functions as a guest and then I was delighted to be asked to join the club myself. I joined Limavady Rotary around 10 years ago. However, the last two have been a total blur of Covid and lockdowns. I served as president during lockdown, so I know how hard it has been for all the ‘lockdown presidents’. Had we have known; we’d all have bought shares in Zoom!
What do you enjoy most about being a Rotarian?
Personally, I enjoy meeting and talking to my fellow Rotarians. I now have dear friends in Rotary who I would never have had the opportunity to meet in my daily life. I enjoy the fun and fellowship of our club and sitting with different members each week. Catching up on our personal and family life and coordinating our business and voluntary work. I enjoy telling people that I am a Rotarian and sharing the work we do in our community and internationally.
During my presidential year in 2020/21, I am proud of our club securing a Global Grant along with Coleraine and Londonderry clubs. We were granted $88,000 to drill a well in Nepal, to supply clean drinking water to 173 houses that had no clean drinking water or sanitation. We have also since sponsored 20 ‘water ambassadors’ to teach locals how to wash their hands and stay safe using sanitation.
What are some of the activities you and your club do in the community?
Our club activities in the community are the annual Tree of Remembrance at Christmas. We collect in the two weeks running up to Christmas and then we give our community the money after Christmas. It is an enjoyable experience, and we know the money is going to the local people who are really in need.
We have also adopted a local car park in an area of town which is often forgotten. We litter pick quite often and make sure we have it ‘splashed’ over social media to get a good response from the community. We do not mind getting our hands dirty to make sure our town is well kept and tidy. Quite often we have more than 20 full bin bags.
What can Rotary to do drive membership?
This is the million-dollar question! We must be visible, and we must be active in our community. I feel that Rotary needs to reach a wider audience, be that via social media or by the old ‘word of mouth’. Our clubs must be worth joining. We must be value for money, but also focus on the fun part. Our meetings should have interesting speakers and be held at a time that is not restrictive to working people or young people. In our ever-changing world, we need to focus on diversity.