District Governor Stephen Lawes
The wheels of time have revolved endlessly and here we are just a few days away from the end of this Rotary Year. I have been honoured and delighted to have served you as District Governor for D1220 this past year.
I would like to start this last newsletter by saying how delighted I have been to see an overall positive growth in membership over the year as at the beginning of the month, we are about 28 more than when we started the year, sadly with our age demographics we have said a sad goodbye to around 15 members over the months as they have moved to higher service. We are still, however loosing too many members for reasons such as disinterest, no stimulation, energies not matched by club, dissatisfaction with club, and a number who fail to give a reason. We must continue to ask ourselves are we actually doing enough to keep these people within our clubs, if not then we must ask ourselves what are we going to do to change, for if we cannot keep our membership how can we be expected to attract new younger members. I have during the past twelve month advocated that we must change, if we are to survive as an organisation. I continue to urge you all to look at how you could make your clubs a more attractive proposition. We can do all this, and still keep many of our traditions. On a more positive note I am delighted that we will end the year not only in positive growth, but also we are looking forward to being joined by four new clubs, Buxton, from the old 1050 District, and Abbeydale, Sheffield and Doncaster St Leger from 1270. I know that these clubs will bring new projects for us to share. Please welcome them into the fold of D1220 and show them they are joining a great District.
I have also been extremely impressed with all the hard work and projects that are being undertaken, throughout the District. Many of these projects have been augmented with district grants and this brings me onto Foundation. If there is any one area that has saddened me this year, it is the amount of foundation giving, I was delighted to hear that 15 clubs had given the full amount that I had suggested at the start of this year, however, many clubs have not given so much and our total giving is down considerably, both to the general fund and to polio plus. All I will say is that foundation is our own Charity and I believe in the old adage that charity begins at home. It may not be the most popular charity with membership but it is our own and it is through Foundation that we are able to accomplish many of our fine achievements. I also know that many have been disappointed to learn that we are now being charged a levy, but this is only 5% or 5p in the pound to administer the fund. This is still one of the smallest amounts for administration costs for any charity throughout the world. I will end talking about foundation by reminding you all that it is not spiting foundation or the trustees if we do not give, it is those less fortunate than ourselves who will suffer. Less money equals less grants, an inability to fund students, and an inability to fund vocational training teams. I urge you all to reconsider your giving. Rotary only asks that you contribute 100 dollars a year per Rotarian, or approximately £60 a year at current exchange rates, just over £1.15 a week, less than a pint or glass of wine.
Moving onto International I have been moved in recent week to the response by all clubs to the recent disaster in Nepal, clubs undertook the challenge rapidly and through our contacts within Nepal we have been able to send aid and assistance direct to where it is needed. A very big thank you for all your efforts in this area. I can inform you that through your donations to Shelterbox, Aquabox, street collections and club donations we have sent as a District over £40,000. Well done to you all. That aside I have also been amazed at the work you are carrying out overseas, please keep up this excellent job, you have all certainly shined a light in many communities throughout the world.
I would also like to thank the members of the District Team for all their hard work, guidance and advice they have given me over the year, it has been greatly received. To those of the team who are leaving their posts this year I extend a special thank you on behalf of myself and my predecessors, for all the hard work you have given to District over the years. I wish you well for the future. At this point I will mention one in particular and that is Pauline Johnston who is handing over the reins of District Secretary, Pauline has been District Secretary for 5 years and has come to the end of her tenure in post, she has also dedicated 18 years to District in one capacity or another and her knowledge and experience will be sadly missed. Finally,
I thank you all for being such wonderful hosts when I and Jan have visited your clubs and attended your events. The warmth of welcome that has been shown to us both has been truly outstanding. We hope we have represented you well, as we have followed the theme of Light Up Rotary. I know that through your work you have lit many a flame, and the light of Rotary now shines brighter in many communities both at home and abroad. Please keep up the excellent work and keep those flames alight as to light the path for the new year. I look forward to seeing many of you at District Handover on the 28th June when we will induct the incoming DG, my friend Dr Roger Summers.
Again I thank you for giving me the honour of being your District Governor these past 12 months.
Yours in Rotary
Steve Lawes, District Governor 2014-2015