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Markel UK, the specialist charity insurer and Small Charities Coalition, the support organisation for small charities, have come together to launch the Britain’s Best Volunteer award,  to reward those who volunteer their time to help small, and often local, charities, community groups and not-for-profit organisations.

The UK public will be given the opportunity to nominate a volunteer they know who they think best deserves the award. Nominations will be judged against a range of criteria including how long they have volunteered for; if they have overcome personal challenges; how their work has inspired others; and the impact their work has had on their charity.

The winner of the award will receive £1,250 for the charity or charities of their choice and a personal prize of a holiday voucher worth £1,000, while runners up will receive £250 for a charity of their choice and a personal prize of an iPad…

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Has your Rotaract club worked on an amazing service project? Or have you twinned with another club to organise a great joint project? If yes, apply for the Best Rotaract European Service Project (BESP) and Twin Club Award?!

All the details, including the application forms and judging process can be found here: http://rotaracteurope.org/2014/01/besp-and-tca-20132014-applications-are-opened/

Good luck!

The New Herald Online

By A. Martin

A lot of people may have heard these names being talked about: the Interact Club of the school or the events that the Rotary or Rotaract clubs organise for different fundraisers, but what is the Interact Club [A.A.] exactly and why are we a part of it?

It is an opportunity to meet people from any nationality, religion or race – but all wanting one common thing: to socialise together and to help the community by fundraising, organising events and helping our communities to be a better places.

Being part of the Interact Club gives you so many opportunities and experiences without you even realising. First of all, meeting fellow Rotaract and Rotary members who have been through the exact same situations as you and can guide you and advise you; meeting people that have come from different backgrounds can give you a different, more versatile view…

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Wow. 6 months into the Rotaract year and I can honestly say that I’ve been thoroughly exhausted by the demands of the position as Chairman. Some incredible highs have been followed by some steep “learning curves”. As far as a leadership journey, I’ve learnt far more than I could’ve ever imagined, and I know exactly what I would do differently if I have a similar chance again. Luckily within these last 6-12 months some significant forward strides have been taken but being ambitious, we’ve still got a lot to do with the remaining 6 months and beyond too!

From the point I first got actively involved with Rotaract in Great Britain & Ireland (RGBI), I said to myself (and a few close friends) that I’ll treat it as a 3 year project, and if I didn’t see us turning around the corner, growing, and supported by Rotary, then I’d walk away. That was August 2011 and the scale of the challenge was daunting. We decided to be honest when looking at the challenges knowing otherwise we’d never overcome them. We are certainly now moving in the right direction and that was highlighted with our recent national conference. I’d still like to see a more pragmatic approach, but I think that is a mind-set that is being overcome with time. Importantly the desire is there and I see it happening now throughout Rotary from all of its members.

I remember the 28th April 2012 very clearly for a number of reasons as it was at a Rotary district assembly where I first heard (now Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland (RIBI) President Nominee) Peter Davey talk about the need to put the right foundations in place today for the growth of future years. A proactive approach. We’ve recently seen massive growth in our youth programmes and competitions so much so we now know we have to get it right in RGBI to benefit from when these individuals become young adults at 18. We’ve learnt that many don’t want to leave us, but jumping to Rotary membership can be impractical. We might then keep some for the next 12 years, some might only need 6, but the second part of the challenge is to make sure they join Rotary when they feel ready for it, partially by lowering some of the barriers that make it hard to do so currently.

So now we’re working on getting RGBI right. We’ve had our first national conference in 4 years and we’ve got support from Rotary in a way that I’ve never seen it before. A positive way! The challenge is always firstly to balance the commitments against the day job, but secondly to make it easier to create the clubs where they don’t currently exist. To do this, we need to take down some of our own barriers. We need to work together and we need to understand the end game. Those will be part of our foundations and 2014 offers us a fresh start to do this.

Join me and our team in making this happen. Be a part of the change, and maybe consider throwing some of the old ways of doing things out the window. My one key goal for the next 6 months is to create a long term strategy for Rotaract, linking us with others throughout Rotary. It’s not my strategy though, and that’s where I need you! In the next 3 weeks a clear timetable will be set out and I’ll be asking again for you to get involved through webinars, online discussions or any means suitable. In the meantime I’m always contactable through james@rotaract.org.uk.

The ultimate goal? Let’s increase awareness and make the public understand that Rotaract (and Rotary) is a fantastic organisation, with a modern outlook, which creates so much positive community change that the question is “why aren’t you a part of it?”

2014. A fresh start. Happy New Year!

James Lovatt
2013/14 RGBI Chairman

If you are one proud Rotaractor and the growth of Rotaract is important to you, please read further!

The RGBI Chairman is looking for the following team members to join the Executive team to coordinate Rotaract in Great Britain and Ireland in 2014/15:

Chair Nominee. We are looking for a Rotaractor who could inspire and lead the RGBI Executive team in 2015/16. If you are confident and could be professional and responsive to move the program further, be willing to travel and represent Rotaractors across the Isles, please get in touch.

Treasurer. If you have a background in accountancy including budgeting/forecasting and have attention to detail, please apply for the Treasurer’s position.

Administrator. This is a great role if you are still new to Rotaract and want to learn more about the RGBI and how it operates. Key responsibility is to take minutes in RGBI Council meetings and circulate information across the teams.

Publicity Officer. Since PR and media is key to Rotaract, this role is for someone who is keen in writing articles, can approach the press and promote Rotaract online, including blogs and social media.

Internet Officer. Key role is to maintain RGBI website.

International Officer. Candidate will be expected to travel overseas and attend ERIC (European Rotaract Information Centre) meetings; have an interest in networking and building professional relationships across the borders and bringing international projects to Great Britain & Ireland. Preferably native English speaker as a regular contribution towards the ERIC Newsletter and proof-reading will be needed.

Community Officer. Candidate would be expected to organise World Rotaract Week, encourage clubs to organise Community service projects and share their activities with other clubs. Also promote entries to the Annual RGBI awards.

Membership (and New Generations) Officer. Candidate will be expected to promote membership into Rotaract clubs, help Rotary form new clubs and provide support to the clubs on how to attract and maintain membership levels. It also includes liaising with RYLA, RotaKids, Interact and the RIBI (Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland) Youth Services committee.

If you would like to apply for any of the above roles, please send a short profile about yourself (including your mobile number) to grazina@rotaract.org.uk by the 15th of January 2014.

If you would like to get involved in RGBI but without specifying a position, please email Grazina ASAP and depending on your skills we might find a role suitable for you!

About RGBI:
Rotaract in Great Britain and Ireland is a Multi-District Information Organisation that acts as a driving force in enhancing communication and promoting Rotaract awareness and growth across Great Britain, Ireland, the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

The key RGBI role is to disseminate Information around all 29-member Rotary districts (from 1010 to 1290).

The RGBI Executive committee is headed by a Chairman and comprised of Treasurer, Administrator, Community Officer, Membership Officer, Publicity, and International officer (also ERIC representative), Chairman elect & Past Chairman.

Being elected to the Executive board is a challenging and highly rewarding role, allowing you to meet other Rotaractors & Rotarians across the country and globally, realising the ideas you have and helping the growth of Rotaract in Great Britain and Ireland. The RGBI Executive & Council meet at least 4 times a year in different parts of the country.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported Rotaract this year, we really appreciate it!

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.  See you in 2014!

Rotary Voices

By Bruce Templeton, a member of the Rotary Club of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada (Editor’s note: this post first published 10 May, 2013.)

While I know that RI President Ron Burton’s theme is “Engage Rotary: Change Lives,” I would like to add the thought that we can multiply the dollars we raise engaging Rotary before we turn them over to those who change lives.

I live in St. John’s Newfoundland, Canada. I am a Rotarian but also a good friend of Santa Claus and he and I have travelled together for 34 years.

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