The Poundbury club is new, formed in 2014, largely from professional people in a range of occupations and businesses. Almost all centred on Dorchester, including some living and based on Poundbury, the urban development of the county town. In simple terms, we use our combined capabilities to help those people round our world to live a better life. How do we do this? We run events which raise money - race nights, quizzes, cream teas, and events designed for the public (and the members) to have fun and enjoy - which we then use in a number of ways. We can increase the monetary value by boosting the funds from the Rotary Foundation, our global charity, one of the world’s top three charities. Then we choose projects, and the past year or so we have: Locally and internationally we have supported many organisations, from providing water in the mountains of Nepal, to helping the homelss locally.
Funds for the Rotary pledge to end polio in our world. This was pledge made by Rotary in 1985 to eliminate polio from the planet, and we were joined by WHO (World Health Organisation), UNICEF, US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. When Rotary started on this in 1985 there were 350,000 cases per annum, and just 20 – in total worldwide. And we have raised a billion or two, plus used our advocacy to encourage governments, and major donors to get involved, and many billions has been spent, and between the partners we have saved millions of the world population from death or being crippled.
But the emphasis is that this is all done with enjoyment and fun for all, without anyone having to do any more than they are willing to do – it is enhancing their desires to help, enjoy and use their skills to benefit others. We also sometimes help other clubs and organisations when they need manpower for events. That can be great fun too, even if it rains. Members have helped marshal fun runs, the Race for Life (Cancer research), Car parking, marshal a marathon, marshal and enter floats for the Dorchester Carnival (with our own noisy scratch band - The Banned).
We are one of 34,000 clubs in over 200 countries, and our members are part of 1.25 million like-minded people. Members have a right to attend any club meeting in the world and when travelling on holiday, or work, many just drop in for breakfast, or just a meeting – mostly held weekly. There is no discrimination. And no politics! Our club of about 20 or so members is almost half female members - and as of 2017 the president, secretary and treasurer are ladies who all work at their jobs on Poundbury, and one lives here as well.
We are very informal, meeting at breakfast time on Friday every week at 7.30, a simple croissant, toast, orange juice and coffee or tea. Just £5. Members welcome guests at any meeting, we have speakers on a wide range of topics (from cheese making to world speed records and sometimes a charity seeking help). We have social events, not necessarily for fund raising, just for fun – dinners (and, so far one black tie event), skittles playing against other clubs, attending Rotary conferences and conventions.
more The club adds Edd Moore and Joan Cullington