At the weekend I hosted my penultimate District Forum as DG (and the next one will be Michael Fernando’s Assembly) – strange to think that my year is coming to an end without being able to meet any of you face-to-face, but then we’ve all had that problem and I feel for your club presidents, too, in the same boat.
I was delighted with the virtual attendance, though, with over 100 people who managed to get on – a couple having to wait for some space, for which I apologise. If anyone tried to attend and couldn’t get in, we do have it recorded and can send that to you. The licence is capped at 100, and I think it will need to be increased for future meetings as I suspect on-line meetings may continue into the future, out of necessity or indeed choice.
A few key points arising – Penny Underwood gave a very useful and positive overview of the global hub.
Ric Canham highlighted the useful resources there are in My Rotary, when you are considering how to attract new members….
Vicki Davies of Bathavon raised the issue of joint presidents not being recognised by RIGB&I and the difficulties around, eg, posting photos of both post-holders on the club website, and President Tom Griffin advised that this was because a joint role is not recognised by RI. I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with Vickie – that this is such a mixed message, and that RI should acknowledge this as a positive step forward and modernise their thinking on it. Until I come to the end of my DG tenure I will lobby RIGB&I to address this with RI, and Michael Fernando, the next DG, has committed to do the same.
Suggestions around promoting the Rotary message included from Frome and Wellington clubs who have already/are going to host a pop-up shop jointly in their respective town, to showcase Rotary. Surely a useful idea especially with so many empty shops nowadays, and as lockdown eases. A Rotarian identified that his local leisure centre had a poly-pocket inside every locker door, and gained agreement to put in them a leaflet about Rotary and the opportunity for people to continue to volunteer in their communities.
A stimmy for the clubs (a new pandemic-coined word I have learned!)
And he also advised attendees that there is no planned increase in subscriptions this year and that a proposal to reduce grants to District was withdrawn. (which I confess I’m delighted to have successfully contributed to)
Michael Fernando invited vice-presidents and presidents elect to join his Whatsapp group in future, as it was highlighted this can help incoming post-holders discuss common issues.
As I write this, it is UNDER 2 weeks to the day until the District Conference. We’re on countdown and we have passed 300 registrations! I hope you’ve picked up on some of the marketing which is actively being pushed out, including several facebook and twitter posts. Again a reminder – please let us know if you see or hear any of the press coverage. Or if you have personal contacts in any of the media channels local to you, please feel free to send them the press release provided below. You can also use the photos on your own websites/facebook pages as they are royalty-free, having been taken by us during filming.
We are tracking the analytics of website visits and after each Facebook post or press release there has been a spike in interest.
Teenage gang culture
As you know, we’ve already done some filming with Eddie the Eagle, and last Sunday we also did filming (Covid and film-industry compliant of course with relevant permissions) with Simeon Moore up in Birmingham. He gave us a totally candid account of his life of serious crime, but is now passionate about mentoring young people including through his rap music and Youtube channel. I’m sure you will have some interesting questions to ask him at the live Q and A on March 27th. (And by the way, for admin reasons we are now promoting a cut-off point for registrations for the conference by lunchtime on Thursday 25th.) Once again, do encourage non-Rotarians to join in, as well as your colleagues in your club, and after the event there will be material released on the conference website https://district1200.co.uk for you to view at your leisure (though not Simeon’s or Eddie’s sessions), and to use as tools to help recruitment, or for interest at your own Rotary meetings.