Rotary Social Innovation Members Newsletter November 2018

News From around the groups To catch up with what’s going on don’t forget to visit our Facebook eCoffee Lounge, where there is a lot of information.


RSI South East Hampshire
Our next meeting is on Saturday 8th December at 10 – 12 Lily & Lime Café, 3rd Floor Central Library, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. Perhaps drop in before you get on with your Christmas Shopping.

We are currently working on: the Unpacking Social Enterprise Event on the 27th November, at Gunwharf Quays; developing a Diversity, Equality & Diversity Strategy; helping with Portsmouth Dementia Action Alliance; continued support for Social Enterprises.

Welcome to Rotarian Wendy who has just joined after being an Associate Member, she is going to lead our International work. Her plans include an Indian Meal to help a sanitation project in Indian, which she visited this summer and helping Rotarian Charlene plan a Bollywood Ball next spring.

RSI East Hampshire
We held our first meeting on Friday 2nd November and are currently still recruiting members and working in partnership locally to help develop a Dementia Friendly Community (DFC) Network in the Whitehill & Bordon area.

Welcome to Rotarian Leon who has just joined after being an Associate Member. Leon is the Chair of the DFC Network, he is also interested in help with the Dadz Club initiative.



RSI South West Hampshire
This is work in progress to develop something new, working in partnership with the Rotary Club of Southampton Magna, we hope to build an alternative to traditional Rotary or for that matter offer the best of both ways of meeting. Watch this space for developments to come. A joint project together is being planned is a Wellbeing Event in Southampton, we are already working together in Oasis Sholing School with an Interact Club and Mentoring and we hope in 2019 to run an Unpacking Social Enterprise Event.

Recently we have welcomed two new Associate Members who have just graduated from the School of Social Entrepreneurs, Switch It  and Solace Peer Support

RSI South Wiltshire
Being formed in Amesbury where the local Rotary closed a few years ago. Their next meeting is on Tuesday 20th November in Shrewton. 8 members have recently been involved in the Alabaré Care Homes Skydive for vulnerable and homeless veterans and also commemorating the 100th year of the end of World War One, see President Janice’s article about this event.

Welcome to Rotarians Laura and Graham who, after being Associate Members, wanted to be in the Rotary International network, both are helping to steer this new development. Projects include supporting Social Enterprise in the area, Dementia Friendly Communities in the Amesbury community, an Indian Meal is planned early next year and a Family Easter Hunt for everyone in Rotary Social Innovation to be involved with in the Stonehenge area.

We encourage everyone across our network to seek new people who may be interested in joining. Once you’ve excited them and shown them our new website (our shop window) at, do urge them to become an Associate Member by joining through our new online sign up facility

We would also like to help promote all our members’ Businesses, Social Enterprises or Charities. Please visit our Enterprise section of the website to see what is there and contact Rotarian Trevor to make changes or add content

We are creating a logo you can attach to your website if you are an Associate Member or a Rotarian, to use the Rotary International Brand which is a powerful well known brand throughout the world.

To keep up with everything that is going on, don’t forget occasionally to call into your respective eCoffee Lounge in Facebook. To help develop better connections within the whole network, Rotarian Trevor is exploring using WhatsApp and Rotarian Dianna is exploring using Zoom.

 Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
A working group led by Rotarian Dianna has just started, working on developing a strategy for Rotary Social Innovation. The hope is to also develop from these discussions how we can put on some workshops for Rotary Clubs across District 1110 to help them consider of they can be more inclusive in their membership recruitment and when connecting with their communities.

The Passion and Power of Social Enterprise

This month I was privileged to be invited to the School for Social Entrepreneurs graduation event for Social Entrepreneurs completing their year long training programme in Hampshire.  Sixteen impassioned people, who had seen or experienced a social need and, rather than complain, had taken the brave step of setting up a social business to meet the need.  I was absolutely blown away, such passion and focus on providing a service for others in the community.  This year’s graduates enterprises include:

  • therapeutic harp music to reduce pain and anxiety;
  • animal assisted interventions and nature therapy to improve young people’s mental health;
  • an online directory offering THE point of access to all kinds of things for special needs families;
  • workshops to increase cooking skills and self confidence for disadvantaged or socially excluded groups;
  • an ethical fashion brand, using waste fabrics to make fun clothing for kids;
  • accessible chair yoga;
  • enabling peer-based support for pregnant women experiencing social marginalisation.

Sue Dovey, CEO Action Hampshire, emphasised the economic benefit social enterprises are bringing to our community.  They create jobs, in particular for the most disadvantaged in the labour market and operate in many of the most economically disadvantaged areas of our communities.  In the UK there are more people employed by social enterprises than there are working in the agricultural sector.  They have a more diverse leadership than traditional businesses, bringing creativity to the business market and offering skill development to a diverse range of people.

Social entrepreneurs are people who speak up for the changes they would like to see, they shape the future of where they live and work.  The School for Social Entrepreneurs Hampshire provides an exciting, practical and challenging programme that brings together people who want to make a difference through social enterprise.  The organisers say that all that’s required is a good idea and the drive and commitment to make it happen.  And this is what I witnessed, drive and commitment in abundance.

Having worked together for a year, the power of the support the group had given each other was palpable. For me this really showed how much Rotary could offer entrepreneurs, sustainable collaborative networking for a diverse range of people passionate about their communities and how much richer Rotary would be to embrace the drive and commitment that are at the core of entrepreneurs.

Janice Mason

President, Rotary Social Innovation

Rotary District 1110 Council

It was great to have Rotarians Charlene, Leon and Wendy speaking with Membership Chair Tim in a workshop about helping other Clubs to see Rotary from an outside point of view when they are thinking about recruitment. Our three new Rotarians gave excellent accounts of their views and all present were inspired by what they heard.

Thank you to Charlene, Leon and Wendy who assisted with this session, it really helped to show that there are lots of people in our communities who would want to join if we a) told them more about what we do and b) invite them to join us on the basis of Try it before you Buy it as Associate Members.


Skydiving Spectacular in support of Alabaré

In November 2018 I jumped out of a plane at 10,000 feet for the 1st time, with 100 other people to commemorate 100 years since the end of WW1, in support of Alabaré’s vision that no veteran should be homeless.  A very easy sentence to real off, but I don’t do sport or anything remotely adventurous.  This really was a first. A huge, big first!

I could write reams about the challenge, but what you all really want to know is, “what is it like to skydive?”  So here it is in a nutshell.

There is a wonderful 7 minute airplane ride up, with a guided tour of the Salisbury landscape from the skydive instructor sat behind me, who, whilst he is talking, is strapping me to him very securely.  There are six diving pairs in the plane, all watching the scenery, carrying out safety checks and keeping an eye on the red light by the door.  The light changes to green and a professional skydiver disappears out of the door.  The pairs shuffle forward and the first pair disappear out of the door, two by two people just disappear and I have no control over what is happening, I continue to be shuffled forward until I am level with the door.

The instructor has to sit on the lip of the door and maneuver us both into the right position.  This means for a few seconds I am actually outside of the door with the wind whistling past and my feet in the correct position where I can touch the bottom of the plane with my ankles.

As the instructor lets go it is like a heavy weight has been lifted, there’s a couple of seconds of feeling weightless, then the sensation that I am in a wind tunnel.  My fingers feel the chill (it’s -29C as we leave the plane), but I don’t feel like I’m falling, just white mist and wind all around me (I’m actually plummeting to earth at 125mph).

Suddenly there was a jolt and the sound of cloth flapping around in the wind, then views of wondrous blue sky and vistas of the Salisbury landscape below. We twirled and spun round, taking in the scenery and enjoying floating. For a moment we caught a thermal and it felt like we were motionless, just hanging blissfully in the air.  As we approached the ground I was waiting for a bumpy landing, but we floated in gently and landed as softly as a feather.

An amazing experience and fantastic to share it with a team of incredible people, which is all totally at odds with the challenges the homeless veterans face every day.  Thank you to everyone who has sponsored Rotarians taking part in this event, your generous support will make the world of difference to provide life changing opportunities to veterans in need of the support.