As my year and 4 months comes to a close (at the end of June) as President of Rotary Social Innovation I just hope to share some of the highlights and achievements as set out in our plan (https://rotarysocialinnovation.co.uk/rsi-plans-for-the-year/).
One of the most exciting things for me has been our constantly widening connections with Social Enterprise, meeting the Social Entrepreneurs, being inspired by their passion and vision. Also in connecting people with people generally, whatever their vocations, seeing ideas discussed and developed has enabled some amazing work not just in Rotary Social Innovation, but in the community generally.
Our endeavours with the Unpacking Social Enterprise events have made a start to build awareness of the value these enterprises have in the community. We have now delivered 3, in Winchester, Portsmouth and Stonehenge, with plans for more in the future. The engagement in wider Rotary with this initiative has led to it being adopted by Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland to be rolled out across these islands – now isn’t that exciting? We have also set up an online Social Enterprise Directory, which we encourage all Social Enterprises to enter their details in.
As a development of this work, we recently ran in Portsmouth our first Serving Coffee and Sandwiches Unwrapped, showing how Food can be used as a Social Change Tool, we have plans for more of these with an updated title of Serving Up Social Change. Above all we’ve continued to encourage to Buy Social to help create the Social Enterprise Market.
It has been a real joy to continue our Face2Face Meet Ups in Portsmouth each second Saturday at Lily & Lime LD Café. There is still much to do in this area of our Social Innovation, above all continue to support all those involved in these ventures who are helping to build sustainable communities.
I love flying, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would jump out of a perfectly serviceable plane. What an exhilarating moment it was and all to support Alabaré, a great cause who in turn, among other work, support homeless veterans. As we continue to build our network I hope that this significant way of working with charities to raise funds through their own activities, will be a successful model.
It has been fantastic to see us continue our efforts to support the creating of Dementia Friendly Communities across Portsmouth, South Wiltshire, Bordon & Whitehill, Fareham & Gosport, Havant, Hayling and through our posts on the website. Not forgetting now our support for Cage Cricket, which is not just about Dementia, but how we can encourage greater community engagement and intergenerational understanding. We are looking forward in the coming years to continue all this work of building caring and cohesive communities.
Although we started our endeavours to develop the project Let’s Hear in Portsmouth, I’m pleased to report that although our initial aspirations have not materalised, we are still working to help the Queen Alexander Hospital to become a champion Hearing Hospital. We also continue to collect stamps for Hearing Dogs, with our very own Hearing Dog member Inca encouraging us to be aware of the need to be involved in building awareness of Deafness in our community.
We have encouraged all our members to personally consider how much waste they create in their household and personally I have continued to ensure recycling in the Mason household is maintained and our trips to the recycling centres is an excursion not to be missed! Also pleased to notice that the amount we take is reducing as our purchasing choices improve.
Our work with Interact was quite successful initially, but as young people move on and the school changes direction this has been difficult to maintain. However we still have plans to get things going again and now have plans to launch the Rotaract Social Innovation before the end of my year. We see working with young people as a really important element to our work and ideas are bubbling away in regards to learning Maths through Music and Cage Cricket, some kind of Cooking event, a new listening service in partnership with a community advice organisation and we are involved in trying to get a young entrepreneurs programme off the ground.
Rotary Social Innovation has been very instrumental in developing a much larger network than just in South East Hampshire, we are now supporting new areas including South West Hampshire, South Wiltshire and East Hampshire. We also have various members in other areas connected through eRotary. We are pleased also to be developing partnerships with more traditional Rotary e.g. Rotary in Southampton Magna and Rotary in Hedge End.
So much has been achieved, from a Family East Egg Hunt to developing innovative theatre, we are now to be working on a number of wellbeing initiatives and continue to seek to encourage the Social Model of disability. In a report of this nature the true vastness of our achievements cannot be described, only a small window of our delight. I know I have been delighted to work with an amazing team, in a new way of doing Rotary which is still innovating, evolving and activating a creativity agenda that excites, stimulates and inspires me as I come to the end of my year. For me details about our year’s activities do look back over our News Updates on the website (https://rotarysocialinnovation.co.uk/rsi-plans-for-the-year/).
I wish our new President Joanne the very best when she takes over in July and I know Rotary Social Innovation will continue to grow and develop in the coming years.