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Rotary News

Hampshire Rotarians overcome lockdown adversity with community activities

Hampshire Rotarians overcome lockdown adversity with community activities

Lockdown has not been easy for many Rotary clubs, but in Hampshire, Romsey Test Rotary has been creative in keeping its activities and fund-raising going during the pandemic.

Romsey Test Rotary’s forward planning calendar does not look as inspiring as 2019, but in practical terms the club has been just as active in other ways.

The result of the lockdown has helped highlight the importance of contact between members, according to communications chair, Keith Cameron.

“Zoom skills have improved, business has continued through Zoom meetings, and we have now introduced a monthly speaker slot with an additional Zoom meeting,” he said.

“The impact of COVID-19 has made the club look into the future and, in particular, the needs within our community.”

The Hampshire club, situated near Southampton, had to cancel some of their key an afternoon tea and entertainment for the elderly known as ‘Reminiscences of Romsey’, and the Rotary Mayor’s Picnic.

One of the club’s big fund-raisers, the annual ‘Walk the Test Way’, which raises funds for over 100 charities each year could not take place.

Instead, team members adapted the event so that individuals could still raise funds in other ways. ‘Walk the Test Another Way’ was launched and has proved to be very successful, raising over £26,000.

Participation took many forms, including club Rotarian clocking up miles around his garden on his tram to support the youth in Romsey.

This was matched by celebrity chef Rick Stein walking around Sydney harbour, where he was isolated.

Romsey Test Rotary has continued its international support including Dentaid, providing a portable dental surgery in a wheely bin to Uganda and also the refurbishment of a school in Mulpani, Nepal.

“As members have not been able to meet up for club meals, the funds of a meal each month have been donated to our local foodbank, which has seen already seen a 25% increase in need,” added Keith.

“The club has provided a ‘Dictionary for Life’ to all Year 4 children in the Romsey area.  A total of 313 dictionaries were delivered to nine schools.

“It was a very different experience this year.  Instead of an individual presentation by Rotarians to each child, socially- distanced and masked deliveries were made to the schools together with a written explanation of the project and the role of Rotary.

Romsey Test Rotary has continued its international support including Dentaid, providing a portable dental surgery in a wheely bin to Uganda and also the refurbishment of a school in Mulpani, Nepal.”

“A global Rotary priority is the encouragement of literacy in every country and we very much look forward to returning to our usual and more personal presentation next year.”

To help extend the reach, Romsey Test has linked up with their mother club, Romsey Rotary to publicise and promote the organisation in the Hampshire town.

This is benefiting both clubs, admitted Keith Cameron. A new  web page has been designed for ‘Rotary in Romsey’ which links to the two clubs’ websites, as well as to the Inner Wheel web page.

“This is already helping to increase the profile and the image of Rotary in Romsey,” added Keith.

“The future is challenging, but it is giving us a chance to consider and enhance our input into the community and our support for international issues.

“Key events being planned for now including Peace Jam and Polio support through our Crocus Show at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and our main event, Walk The Test Way on September 26th, 2021, when we plan to pass the total of £1 million raised for charities.”