Getting out into the community is easy – it’s harder to execute.

people holding hands

“It’s a popular adage grounded in truth that talking is easier than doing”. And that holds true now.

As Rotarians, we all recognise that we want and need to get out and do stuff within our communities. Why? Because being out there has so many benefits including helping to raise our profile.

So where to start?

In Swindon, there is an amazing number of volunteering opportunities.  An emergency call to help at the local Vaccination Centre last Sunday plunged me into this world of volunteers.  Did you know this? They need 40 people at every clinic to enable them to vaccinate up to 1500 people a day.  During my coffee break complete with homemade cakes brought along by some of the volunteers, I met so many different people. People who were community volunteers and Red Cross volunteers and also volunteers from Brighter Futures a hospital-based charity.  There were first responders for the ambulance service. There were members of the public who had just stepped up to help out. And Rotary, notably RC Swindon have been much in evidence from the off. 

View of the Vaccination Centre with people waiting for their jabs
Steam Vaccination Centre

We now learn that the clinic may become a permanent feature in Swindon. The clinic will provide regular boosters and Flu vaccinations and maybe others thereby taking pressure off local surgeries.  This will be a permanent way for us to work in our community.

Working with established locals

There is another route to serve that has made sense in Swindon by other Rotary Clubs in District. And that is to get involved with our local Councillors, of all political persuasions.

These dedicated volunteers look after so much that matters in their patch RC Old Town was able to persuade South Swindon Parish Council chair Neil Hopkins to become a Rotarian.

Neil leads the way in all matters environmental. He’s responsible for improvements in several parks and wild spaces within South Swindon.  Now we are looking forward to planting crocuses in the company of the many local volunteers to improve our surroundings.  South Swindon organise the litter picks and we provide the volunteers resplendent in our yellow Rotary tabards.

Within our membership, we have Councillors, Abdul Amin and Junab Ali. They have introduced us to the Bangladesh Association which is entirely run by volunteers.  As a result, we can work with and learn more from different cultures and communities within our historical town.

Building a Green Trail

And for those in desperate need

Food banks and the Food Collective rely on volunteers in the community to get involved. They do this by both collecting food and taking a turn at the distribution centres.  Regular volunteer slots in such initiatives will help people recognise Rotary’s contribution to our community.

The next challenge for Swindon Rotarians is our Afghan refugees. They have mostly arrived at Swindon, City of Sanctuary, with whatever little they could carry.  They need access to food; reasonable accommodation, and they need school places – above all they need our friendship and respect. Who better to give that than a Rotarian?

Getting out there and listening to what is required and responding to the need is the new Rotary for 2021.  And won’t it be great to share our varying experiences in our community at the next club meeting?  

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