The unknown work of the Rotary Club


Shaftesbury Rotary Club are a well known local name – but how much do you know about what the organisation actually does? Laura Hitchcock reports

Shaftesbury Rotary Club was established on 8th March 1963, and will be celebrating a happy 60th birthday in 2023. The club makes donations of between £20,000 to 30,000 each year from the money they raise, with three main events leading their year-long fundraising campaign.

North Dorset Cycle Ride
The North Dorset Cycle Ride was started a few years ago to raise awareness of prostate cancer; the popular ride that takes in the amazing natural beauty of the towns and villages around the Blackmore Vale, is Shaftesbury Rotary Club’s biggest fundraising event of the year; few people are aware that Shaftesbury Rotary Club is one of the biggest donators to Prostate Cancer UK. The next North Dorset Cycle Ride is on 14th May 2023, and will once again include three routes: the six mile family fun ride, plus the more strenuous 25 and 50 mile routes (registration is now open here). No matter which route you choose, all rides end one way – up Gold Hill to the finish line at the top!

Gold Hill Festival
The Gold Hill Festival (previously Gold Hill Fair) has now been running for more than 30 years – the popular one day festival enjoys an eclectic line-up of local music acts as well as local producer stalls, food and drink.

Wide Donations
The third big event in Shaftesbury Rotary Club’s calendar is the annual charity golf day at Rushmore Golf Club – last year a record number of 27 teams entered.
From the funds raised throughout the year, the club has given donations to local causes such as Westminster Memorial Hospital, Somerset & Dorset Air Ambulance and Mosaic; as well as national charities CLIC Sargent, ShelterBox (Disaster Relief Charity), Sight Savers and the Ukraine Crisis Appeal. Shaftesbury Rotary Club also makes an annual donation to the Rotary International project PolioPlus, which aims to eradicate polio on a worldwide basis.
In addition, the club supports KidsOut, an organisation working with women’s refuges across the UK to provide toys and games to children who have witnessed or experienced domestic violence. It also organises the local support for the Shoebox Appeal, which gives support to less fortunate people at Christmas, as well as many other projects.

Youth projects
The club has also launched a couple of projects with local young people. Youth Speaks is a new debating competition for secondary school students, and in 2023 the second area competition will be hosted in partnership with Shaftesbury School. Shaftesbury School will also be the venue for the Young Chef competition in 2023.
A local RotaKids club was launched this year at Abbey Primary School; with the club members’ support, a number of activities and projects aimed at supporting the local community are being planned.

If you are interested in meeting new people, forging new friendships and making a real contribution to the local and wider community, then the Rotarians would love to hear from you!
In addition to supporting community events they meet fortnightly, and are keen to welcome new members.

A Chicago attorney called Paul P. Harris formed the Rotary Club of Chicago (one of the world’s first service organizations) on 23rd February 1905.
In 2022 The Rotary Foundation has 1.4 million members in 35,000 Rotary clubs across 200 countries. It spends $1,000,000 a day on community projects and charitable causes throughout the world.


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