As another year and comes to a close (at the end of June 2020) as President, Treasurer & Secretary of Rotary Social Innovation we just hope to share some of the highlights and achievements as set out in our plan.
One of the most exciting things for us has been our constantly widening connections with Social Enterprises, 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. It was exciting to be involved, having now delivered another 3 in Southampton, Redditch and Winchester Online in 2019-20, with plans for more in the future.
The engagement with this initiative in wider Rotary 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 much more to do as COVID 19 has hit how these Social Enterprises have been operating, but we remain committed to continue this work.
As a development of this work, we ran in Portsmouth our first Serving Coffee and Sandwiches Unwrapped last year 2018-19, showing how Food can be used as a Social Change Tool. With an updated title of Serving Up Social Change we rang one during the past year in Southampton at Board in the City and one in Winchester at Action Hampshire. We have plans for more of these. We are now working with others to help build the Hampshire Sustainable Food Partnership Network. We also enjoyed our first Soup Evening at Board in the City, where people presented their social enterprise development ideas and we voted on one to receive the evening’s proceeds to carry out their idea, a brilliant fun evening which we hope to repeat.
It has been a real joy to continue our Face2Face Meet Ups in Portsmouth each second Saturday at Lily & Lime LD Café and develop on the third Saturday Meet Ups in Southampton now basing ourselves at Board in the City. Just before lockdown with COVID 19, we had tried having some other mid week meetings at the Wicor Mill Pub and The Spring Art Centre in Havant. These have continued by using Zoom, although we are very much looking forward to getting back to our Café meetings as well as using Zoom. We also enjoyed having a Rotary team in the Board in the City Quiz evening and in September it was great to be part of the International Peace Day, which we are hoping to continue in 2020.
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.
It has been fantastic to see us continue our efforts to support the creating of Dementia Friendly Communities across Hampshire with Dementia Friendly Hampshire, and in particular in, Bordon & Whitehill, Fareham & Gosport, Havant, Hayling, starting a new networking group this year in Waterlooville and through our posts on the website. During lockdown we have experimented with Dementia Friends Havant Borough Get Togethers during the week using Zoom to put on music, quizzes and general chit chat to keep people engaged during this difficult time on our Dementia Friendly Havant Facebook Page. During the summer we helped make an Isle of Wight Rock Festival Dementia Friendly, we have now encouraged other events to do likewise. We have continued 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.
We have encouraged all our members to personally consider how much waste they create in their household and personally we 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. During the year we helped to promote the Plastic Free Larder which is going to open in Portsmouth in July, really exciting too. We will encourage next year Families to get involved in environmental projects.
We have been developing our plans to launch Rotaract Social Innovation in early July 2020. In this respect we have a number of our Rotarians and Associate Members supporting the 20 Rotaractors we’ve recruited, with two Presidents and a Secretary. We are very much looking forward to the partnership work with Rotaractors and with the wider District Rotaract initiative.
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, Dragon Boat Racing, 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, which we hope to develop with Rotaract & Rotary in Portugal.
Rotary Social Innovation has been very instrumental in developing a much larger network than just in South East Hampshire, so in July 2020 we will apply to change our name to just Rotary Social Innovation. 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 an initiative to get Accountants talking to Social Enterprises so they understand each other, to developing innovative arts, 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. We know we 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 us as we come to the end of another year. Details about our year’s activities do look back over our News Updates on the website
We look forward to another great year as we seek to build on this year still coping with COVID 19 and the restrictions it brings, whilst supporting Tim Mason in his year as District Governor for Rotary in Wessex.