Many still keep asking the question ‘What is Rotary Social Innovation?’. Formed in March 2018 with mostly new people to Rotary but, “What is Rotary Social Innovation?” – do you know what, we are still working that out! At this time of year the annual review takes place where we reflect and in our case it is a very exciting time, because we are still developing our ideas and engaging people in their passions. So here is our reflection, review and where we might going in the new year, just keep watching this space as innovation takes us in all different directions.
Our Associate Membership scheme has proved a real advantage, people getting connected, engaged and finding where there skills may help. Associate Member Trevor said can we meet, we met, we talked about his skills and passions and Trevor became a Rotarian and our webmaster, we now have a website which is continuing to develop with new ideas.
In Trevor’s own words he says “thanks to Rotary for giving me renewed interest in my internet business, I had become very despondent with my business, a lack of interest and enthusiasm, but since being involved with Rotary it has given me that proverbial kick up the backside and given me renewed interest and enthusiasm, really enjoying my work now. I would like to think that rotary can be brought into the 21st century and I would like to be part of the revolution to affect that change. Looking forward to working towards social enterprise and promoting it and forging the way to help Rotary change.”
During 2018 we made tremendous strides in meeting lots of different people, talking about Rotary and what it had achieved over the last 112 years, inviting them to help build on that legacy in new ways. Exploring different avenues e.g. hidden disabilities, peace, diversity & inclusion, environmental issues, to name but a few. Another Associate Member Bianca decided she was ready to become a Rotarian as our Wellbeing Champion.
Associate Member Charlene now also a Rotarian, who is making a tremendous difference in helping us to build Rotary Social Innovation in East Hampshire, takes up the story: “On Saturday 8th December 2018 Rotary Social Innovation hosted their monthly Face2Face meeting, which was held at the fabulous Lily & Lime Café situated in Portsmouth City Library. Fellow Rotarians welcomed and inducted new Rotarian Bianca, who will be the lead for Wellbeing. Bianca has an exciting new Social Enterprise called Bee Released which will offer a counselling service to carers of disabled children and their families.”
Charlene sais “As a young girl I used to watch comic relief on TV, my dream was to fly to Africa and help those in need of food, shelter and safety. I wanted to take their pain away, feed them, hug them…. Rotary? Who What? Where? In 2018, a special year, I was introduced to Rotary and I’m looking forward to being part of this organisation which will help me realise my aspirations and dreams. Rotary Social Innovation is about collaboration, meeting new friends like founder member Lisa and her Hearing Dog Inca, working close with organisations so we can be people of action. A world full of peace.”
In 2019 we hope to build on this idea of a world full of peace, as we continue to grow our satellite groups across Wessex and share the different activities to build on our ideas, e.g. building inclusion of Families in our activities that is being spearheaded by our members in Amesbury with an Easter Bunny Hunt in Stonehenge. Founder Rotarian Lisa being our champion for Peace, as she works with Rotarian Wendy who is keen to develop our International relationships through her Motorbike travels across India and Sri Lanka. In 2019 we want to put much emphasis on developing our own Diversity, Equality & Inclusion strategy led by Founder Rotarian Dianna and a new working group to share this learning with other Rotarians in District 1110.
We want to build on initiatives already started in 2018, showing how Social Enterprises in our communities can contribute to building sustainable communities, with our successful Unpacking Social Enterprise events to be shared and replicated across the UK. Members of Rotary Social Innovation want to share and collaborate with Rotarians already involved in their communities, but we want to show them that change can be positive, exciting and attractive to all generations in our communities. Hence our achievements in showing new ways of working e.g. directly supporting charities, such as Alabaré‘s Skydive, Dementia Friendly Hampshire. In 2019 we want to build on the need to promote Rotary’s own charity The Rotary Foundation, to help both local and international enterprise.
So from Cooking Up Solutions to Unpacking Social Enterprise and to the Magic of Rotary for Families, Rotary Social Innovation is about the passions of our members and how we might explore new ways collaboratively to help make things happen. From a world that doesn’t recognise borders or boundaries, we want to show that volunteering using Social Media Skills can make a significant contribution through eCampaigns. Yes, Rotary Social Innovation is a network for busy people and is making action possible through mini coffee meet ups, online meet ups using Zoom, Face2Face meet ups, workshops, involvement in activities, online activities on Social Media. We are People of Action making a difference towards a world of peace, understanding and practical action in 2019.
Finally Rotarian Janice says “What an extraordinary year 2018 has been, as President of Rotary Social Innovation I have had contact with over 100 new friends, learning about their passions, amazing enterprises and being part of innovative ideas of all sizes. It is the friendships formed that I believe are an essential part of social innovation, members have told me how that through Rotary Social Innovation they have met people they would not normally have met, it has opened doors to personal friendships, business support, new customers, shared views on community needs and energised collaboration. There is excitement at any meeting, be it two members meeting for coffee or twenty members at a Face2Face, an excitement that engenders ideas and breeds activity. Yes, 2018 has truly been an extraordinary year in which we have watched Rotary Social Innovation form and start to develop in under a year, I can’t wait to see where we continue to grow in 2019.”