From every corner of Great Britain & Ireland, Rotary clubs continue to go out of their way to raise funds for those affected by the conflict in Ukraine.
One place where spectators would have seen this commitment to fundraising taking place was at the recent Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, attended by nearly 70,000 people over the course of four days, where the Rotarians of the West of England District banded together to collect money in support of affected Ukrainians.
As crowds left the racecourse over the course of the afternoon, a team of 27 Rotarians were waiting with their buckets around the ground and managed to collect a staggering £26,000.
It isn’t just in the south where these fundraising efforts are flourishing, as Rotary clubs in the North East continue to pull out all the stops.
Whether it be street collections, appeals or loading goods and medical supplies, the ‘swift and generous’ response from Rotary in the North East doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon.
District Governor Alan Cartwright said: “The response from clubs and members across the North East has been as swift and generous as you would expect. It has been amazing to see so much commitment and effort.”
By the middle of March, Middlesbrough Erimus club had collected more than £26,000 from clubs, which is going directly to their partner Rotary club in Zamosc in Poland, which is just 50 km from the Ukraine border and is seeing many of the effects of the war and the burgeoning refugee crisis. €10,000 has already been sent.
Many clubs have contributed to alleviating the crisis already, some sending money to Middlesbrough Erimus, others direct to other agencies, with more coming in all the time.
Help has been coming in in other ways – for example, the South Tyneside Rotary club Cleadon and District Rotary donated £250 to an ex-Rotarian who is driving across to Ukraine to take supplies and to volunteer.
The response from clubs and members across the North East has been as swift and generous as you would expect. It has been amazing to see so much commitment and effort.”
Derwentside and Consett worked with the Consett Covid and volunteers group. There was an unprecedented response to an appeal and they filled three lorries going to Poland, with another one to go, with much needed supplies. Derwentside raised £1,700 towards the project.
Alan said: “It is expected that all these totals will continue to rise as Rotarians do what they do best – step up in a crisis and do whatever they can to help.”
Over in Wales there is an equally strong commitment to fundraising from Rotary clubs, with Crickhowell Rotary in South Wales and Denbigh Rotary of North Wales collecting thousands of pounds for the Disasters Emergency Committee and the British Red Cross
Up in Scotland, the Rotary Club of Alloa promising that the funds of their upcoming ‘Tour de Clacks’ will go towards humanitarian aid in Ukraine as part of a partnership with the Rotary Club of Warsaw, Poland.
Towards the east of England, the Rotarians of West Norfolk took to their town squares and supermarkets to raise a massive £10,000 in aid of Ukraine.
A spokesperson told Lynn News: “The public clearly want to support any efforts to help people being badly affected by the invasion of Ukraine, to relieve their suffering, and assist countries bordering Ukraine such as Poland and Romania to give them resources to provide for their needs.
“Rotary efforts are being coordinated and the funds raised are being paid into the UK Rotary Foundation Disaster Response Fund so that Government gift aid can be claimed.”
Rotary clubs all over the country were stunned by the generosity of the general public, with the Cumbrian club of Lunesdale Rotary and Elgin Rotary up in Scotland commending the willingness of those who came to their collections to find out how they can best help Ukraine.
The fundraising efforts have also been a story of collaboration of Rotary clubs with different communities and organisations, such as that between the Rotary Club of Rochford, Essex and Shelterbox – the international disaster relief charity who delivers emergency shelter and life-saving essentials to families all around the world who have been left without a home.
“The public clearly want to support any efforts to help people being badly affected by the invasion of Ukraine.”
The club has supported the charity for some time and has now donated £1,180 to provide two boxes of essential supplies such as tools, kitchenware and toiletries to Ukraine.
Rochford Rotary Club President, Brian Hunt, said, “We were pleased to act quickly to support those in need in Ukraine.”
As fundraising efforts continue, we would love to hear what your Rotary club has done or what they are planning to do in aid of Ukraine. Please send any pictures and short summaries of your club’s efforts to PR@rotarygbi.org