August-September 2018 | Articles

A Welsh marriage made in Rotary

A Welsh marriage made in Rotary

Two Welsh Rotary clubs, both different in approach, have opted to merge to benefit their community.

Rotary Swansea will be the next club in Wales to celebrate its centenary, and in its near 100 years it has developed some outstanding initiatives, particularly ones which help young people to achieve their potential.

However, an increasing age profile, leading to a natural decline in membership, was placing a question mark over its future.

The four clubs which make up the Swansea Rotary Partnership took part in a workshop earlier this year looking at the way ahead for Rotary in the city.

Rotary Swansea Bay, the youngest of the four clubs, offered to merge their resources with Rotary Swansea.

And this came to fruition on June 29th, when Rotary Swansea Bay returned to its “Mother Ship”, handed in its charter and the two clubs became one.

Although the two clubs are very different in their approach, like all marriages starting out, there is hope for the future that they can work things through together.

The marriage will ensure continuity of such initiatives as the High 5 Awards, an idea that originated from Rotary Swansea and Swansea City Council.

It recognises the achievements of Swansea’s Young People who have overcome adversity to achieve something significant.

Rotary Swansea provides an independent input to the judging process and also facilitates several of the “rewards”- usually experiences that money can’t buy.

One recent winner Ashley Mansell, who runs a Kids Play initiative, was given the opportunity to shadow BBC Wales political correspondent, Nick Servini. The tables were turned when Ashley was filmed interviewing Nick.

Rotary Swansea has been providing memorable experiences for primary children for decades – usually part-funding and organising a trip to the pantomime in the local Grand Theatre, where the children also get to meet some of the cast.

This year, however, the club paid towards a trip to the Tate Gallery for local Clase Primary school where they had some stain glass exhibits on show.

A good working relationship has developed with many of the primary schools it has helped over the years. Impressed with the dedication of Sea View Community Primary School in a “challenging” area of the city, the club has also agreed to pay for awards that will be given out in a BAFTA type ceremony at the end of term.

Swansea Bay Rotary has also created its own niche in the city. Born out of a Rotaract Club in 1992 it was one of the earliest dual gender clubs formed in the UK and as Founding President, Marjory Taylor admitted: “Many Rotary clubs were not quite sure what to make of us.”

But, as attitudes to women in Rotary changed, so the club established itself particularly in its approach to fund-raising which is about placing the emphasis on fun.

For the past 21 years it has organised an annual boules/petanque championship in Swansea Marina which has raised thousands of pounds for the Lord Mayor’s charities.  It has also developed water projects in Kenya, more recently in Ndori, where the project benefited from a
global grant.

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