Jim outlines plans and aims for his year as leader of town’s Rotary club

President Jim Dunn puzzling over how to make the Rotary national handbook for presidents relevant for Morpeth.
President Jim Dunn puzzling over how to make the Rotary national handbook for presidents relevant for Morpeth.

Morpeth Rotary Club

CLUB President for 2013/14, Jim Dunn, used a recent meeting to set out his plans for the year ahead.

He had puzzled over a very thick handbook for presidents he had been given by the head office of the Rotary Club of Britain and Ireland (RIBI).

It recommended planning for one, three and five years ahead and talked of mission statements, risk assessments, by-laws and constitution.

He thought that instead, he would work out his own approach to support the Rotary theme for the year of ‘Engage Rotary – Change Lives’ but in a way that would work better for Morpeth.

He aims to increase membership by 10 per cent and improve on the amount of money raised for charity. There has just been a fund-raising barbecue in aid of Save the Children at the home of Michael Duffy. It was the first for many years where it did not rain.

At the recent RIBI conference in Harrogate, attended by 12 members of Morpeth Rotary, Mr Dunn had been inspired by what was being done by Rotary International’s own charity, the Rotary Foundation. He would like to increase the £1,000 raised for it last year by Morpeth to £1,300.

He plans to look at some new developments and events to support local, regional and international charities. TV publicity could help Morpeth Rotary to try new and previously successful activities, starting in the town square, possibly linking it to Rotary Day on February 23.

The club could support events like Book Day and Children in Need and increase the number of social events that are also fund-raisers. Last year, there were two Rotary Chinese meal fund-raisers and a shared Indian meal with the Lions that could become an annual event.

Another target is for members to visit every other Rotary club in the area during the year.

Mr Dunn will lead a group of members to the North East Rotary District Conference in Scarborough on September 20 in the search for new ideas and approaches. Then there is the RIBI national conference, which is in Birmingham in April 2014.

He would like to work on projects with other clubs, such as the Alnwick Rotary project to support education in Sri Lanka following the tsunami.

It is to help with school buildings, resources, services and teacher support.

A total of £12,000 is enough to build a school and Alnwick Rotary has already raised £6,000.

Rotary Club service committees help to run club projects and activities during the year. Club chairmen were invited to comment.

Andrew Hamnett for Club Service said his committee was there to help the President and members to run the weekly meetings.

Rhona Dunn said the Community Service Committee would be helping with the Morrisons charity collection, stewards for Morpeth Gathering and Fair Day, collecting for Age UK, supporting the talking newspaper and the food warehouse, starting a school photography contest and considering applications from young people needing financial support.

Gordon Bolton of the Membership Committee will find out why Rotarians are pleased to be members and identify unique selling points.

International Committee chairman Alan Clark said that the Rotary Foundation charity was growing in importance and going through many changes.

It provides scholarships, district grants, world grants and project grants. Michael Gaunt will lead on fund-raising for the Foundation.

Sports officer Peter Scott will make arrangements for a variety of sports competitions and will bring in additional activities.

The Vocational Committee will arrange visits to interesting places of employment.

It helped with the Hexham Rotary Young Engineer Design and Technology Competition in July at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle.

Ponteland High School won the Rotary Shield and King Edward VI School in Morpeth won best entry judged by fellow competitors. It will aim to support next year’s event.

Mr Dunn commended the year ahead and wants it to be full of fellowship, enjoyment and hard work for all in support of the local community.