Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland

Rotary going PURPLE for a polio-free world!

We are very close to fulfilling Rotary’s promise when we started our campaign to rid the world of polio in 1985 and we all need to work together to be able to cross the finishing line. This stage is absolutely critical in the fight against polio and makes it ever more important that all Rotarians renew and strengthen their advocacy and fundraising efforts to eradicate this disease and fulfill our promise to the world.


Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland is delighted to introduce our latest campaign to support and encourage Rotarians to play a real part in the making of history; Purple4Polio.

As The Rotary Foundation moves towards its centenary year and with the chance to eradicate polio now closer than ever before thanks to the efforts of Rotarians across the world, it is important we keep fighting and finish the job. This means continuing our support now and for at least three years after the last case of polio is reported, in order for the world to officially be declared polio free. Purple4Polio will provide Rotarians, clubs and districts with a host of ideas, resources and initiatives to help them with their activities to raise funds and awareness for polio eradication.

Purple4Polio Menu is being developed with a variety of ways you can get involved with the campaign. Relevant information and electronic resources will be accessible behind each Menu item by the end of May. The items in the Purple4Polio menu and the related resources will be further developed in the months ahead with the first item available now being a simple Purple4Polio leaflet to which clubs can add their own contact details and event information. Your ideas and contributions to its further enhancement are welcome at any time by contacting Rotarian Jannine Birtwistle who is leading this initiative.

The first major programme now sitting within the Purple4Polio campaign is the enhancement of the mass crocus corm planting for November 2016 and the exciting development of links with the Royal Horticultural Society.


Rotary Partners with RHS

It’s time to get your green fingers at the ready because one strand of the Purple4Polio campaign is an exciting partnership between Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). The purple crocus is a symbol of Rotary’s worldwide campaign to eradicate polio, with its colour representing the purple dye used to mark the finger of a child who has been immunised.

The partnership will allow Rotary clubs to join forces with the RHS's community-based Bloom Groups and work in tandem to bring people together, transform public spaces to brighten up the local area and promote health and wellbeing. This community ethos is a value shared by both Rotary and the RHS, and, with the purple crocus planting also helping the RHS's Greening Grey Britain campaign, we will together be adding a purple splash of colour and vibrancy to areas up and down the country.

Rotary clubs now have another fantastic platform from which to maximise the visibility of the polio campaign, build new and strengthen existing relationships with other community groups, as well as providing a chance to engage with the public and welcome potential new members.

Rotary clubs should refer to the brand new Rotary Club Crocus Corm BriefingPurple4Polio Planting Guide and order form for full instructions on how to take part in a mass purple crocus planting activity. 

An RHS partnership / Purple4Polio crocus leaflet is available to which clubs can add their own contact details and event information. We're looking forward to sharing more with you over the coming months, including success stories, photo galleries, draft media releases and other materials to support your participation in this particular initiative.


Available Resources

A selection of new resources have been produced as part of the Purple4Polio campaign for clubs and districts to access. We will be making even more available to you over the coming months which can be tailored with your own information, include press release templates.

Resources can be accessed through the Purple4Polio section of the website. Please note that some resources will only be available in the members’ area. Resources available now:

• Rotary Club Crocus Corm Briefing

• Purple4Polio Planting Guide

• Crocus order form

• Polio information leaflet

• RHS Planting Partnership leaflet

• Polio vaccination and crocus image library and campaign logos for use on club websites, social media and other materials

We have also created a Purple4Polio Menu, with some top tips, information and resources behind each of these Menu items to give you ideas on how to get involved following shortly. Watch this space!


Polio Ambassador

As part of the Purple4Polio campaign, we are looking for one or more celebrity Rotary Polio Ambassadors who will be the face, or faces, of the campaign. As many clubs have established relationships with local celebrities, we want to hear from you as to who you think could become one of our Rotary Polio Ambassadors.

This role will involve having their image on promotional materials, being present at the public launch of Purple4Polio and generally helping Rotary engage the public with this campaign. If you have a suggestion, please get in touch at the following address:

Polio Bear Facebook

Going Social

To tie in with both the Purple4Polio campaign and the centenary of The Rotary Foundation, Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland President 2016/17 Eve Conway is taking a Rotary Polio Bear on all her travels. There is just one problem – it needs a name!

Follow the Rotary Polio Bear on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and comment on any of the accounts’ posts with your name suggestion by 31st July to be in with a chance of winning. The winning entry will be chosen at random and the winner will also win a Rotary Polio Bear of their own, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Guernsey.


About this newsletter

This newsletter is sent to over 40,000 members, honorary members and Rotaract Club Presidents within Great Britain and Ireland who have a valid email address on the Rotary International (RI) database. If Club Secretaries are aware of members with an email address who are not on the RI database, please add their details.