RYA's impact in Community and Youth projects

Team players wanted to join us in our many York community-based projects - with local, national and international benefits. Find out more below.

 What Rotary York Ainsty does ...

At Rotary York Ainsty you will find people of action who care about both local community and disadvantaged people wherever they live. Care and support is either through fund-raising / charitable collections or the investment of skills, time and talent in specific projects and activities.

Some of the many projects at home in the York area supported by Rotary York Ainsty and its volunteer network are listed here. The list is not exhaustive.

Click the initial title in each case to link to further infirmation.


Rotary York Ainsty in its Youth Programme seeks to support numerous youth initiatives in York and the surrounding area paying due regard to disadvantaged youth.

It aims to achieve this in cooperation with the other two York Rotary Clubs - Rotary Club of York and York Vikings Rotary Club - and Rotary district initiatives where practical.

> Door 84 Centre for Youth: The centre offers young people a welcoming and stimulating environment for personal and social development, while providing a range of exciting, fun and interactive activities to suit all tastes and abilities. The centre also offers support and advice and offers positive opportunities for young people to engage with their local communities.

> Grand Day Out - the D1040 Governor Hand-Over: THIS EVENT WAS CANCELLED DUE TO THE COVID PANDEMIC REGULATIONS - Banish the blues of 2020 with this splendid event - the induction of the District 1040 Governor 2021/2022 Stephen Ellis (Rotary York Ainsty) - to be held at The Principal Hotel, in the centre of the fabulous and historic capital of Yorkshire - the City of York. 

> Sow, Grow and Show: Grow healthy, fresh food on your windowsill using a kit from Rotary York Ainsty, provided in partnership with Edible York … Lettuce leaves, spring onions, radishes, carrots and more. Just follow the instructions, supply water and some tender, loving care.

> RYA Covid Citations: Charities and individuals in York who partnered with Rotary York Ainsty (RYA) members in mitigating the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in the city through a number of initiatives have been rewarded with the presentation of a special Citation of Merit.

> Polio Eradication Tulip Bulbs Planted: More than 10,000 purple crocuses are blooming in York Cemetery, recognising Rotary International’s 35-year campaign to rid the world of poliomyelitis. The bulbs bring a colourful reminder of the on-going threat of the killer disease.

Youth Mock Interview: Rotarians are able to provide practice interviews for 5th & 6th form students at local York schools. Prior to the practice interview, candidates prepare a CV and personal statement and take part in a 30 minute interview by two interviewees, which concludes with a brief assessment of their performance and suggestions for points to be borne in mind to help the student to prepare for an authentic interview.

> Yorkits: Yorkits makes washable, reusable feminine hygiene kits for girls in developing nations to help keep them in education. Each brightly patterned cotton  kit lasts a girl up to three years. Thousands of kits have already been given to girls in parts of Africa, India, and Asia.  Self-help community groups are also given seed funds to start making their own kits out of local materials. A team of dedicated volunteers, supported by RYA, participate in weekly or monthly workshops in various York locations to make the kits. Annually in March, hundreds of participants attend a Yorkits workshop held in York Minster.

> Eco Angels: Eco Angels is a Rotary York Ainsty initiative that aims to transform waste plastic into attractive Angels. For a voluntary donation to the Yorkits project (which helps to change lives) Rotary York Ainsty is providing basic armature shaped kits.

> York Hospital Cancer Care and Bereavement Gardens: A small group of York Ainsty Rotarians, together with members of the public, maintain the cancer and bereavement gardens at York District Hospital. Working with a garden designer, the group regularly review progress in the Cancer Care Gargen and change as required. The small group are assisted in their work by RYA Rotarians John Niklaus and Alan Stow (RIP).

> SpecSort: From Yorkshire, SpecSort provides and dispenses thousands of pairs of free spectacles to those in need in rural parts of Africa, enabling clarity of sight. There are collection sites for used spectacles acroiss Yorkshire which are collected by RYA volunteers. Rotarians meet once a month to sort, wash and measure / calibrate the donated spectacles.  At this session, they also package the spectacles prior to be taken to Africa. Ruth Perrott (seen above) was honoured with an MBE in the 2021 New Year's Honours list

> York Community Face Mask Project: Rotary York Ainsty has been putting its experience and sewing skills to the test since April by making and distributing 4,500+ non-medical face masks for the use of the public in the city and surrounding areas and continuing during the current Covid-19 pandemic, thus following UK Government guidelines. These masks have been distributed via sixteen York district charities.

> The Wilberforce Trust: Delivering person-centred sensory services and activities across the city of York, North Yorkshire and surrounding areas. Rotary York Ainsty supports Wilberforce Trust works by way of financial grant aid and working in partnership with TWT volunteers - assisting with some of the trust's fund-raising activities.

> York schools' Technology Tournament - A Rotary in York initiative organised in conjunction with other two York Rotary clubs. The Technology Tournament is an event for secondary school students to demonstrate their practical and team building skills and their design and technology knowledge.  Students work in teams of four and compete in three age sectors. They are given a brief on the day to design and build a ‘construction’ in a set time (usually about four hours) and afterwards, to demonstrate their construction to the judges. See photographs and reports from a recent 'tournament' HERE

Purple4Polio crocus planting initiative in aid of the Rotary International eradicate polio campaign. In this case, cash given by Yearsley Grove primary school pupils, as part of their support for the Rotary York Ainsty Polio Eradication project should ensure that more than 3,000 children will have a future free of the crippling disease – poliomyelitis. The young pupils planted special purple crocus bulbs in the school grounds in October. Now, they have collected and donated £220 to the initiative.

> RYLA - Rotary Youth Leadership Awards: Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is an intensive leadership experience organised by Rotary clubs and districts where teenagers develop skills as a leader while having fun and making connections. York Ainsty Rotary Club 'sponsors' local children on this much sought-adter course.

> PhysioNet: PhysioNet was established in 2005 with the aim of providing refurbished physiotherapy and mobility equipment, collected throughout the UK, to the disabled and others in developing countries around the world. Equipment is checked and listed at the PhysioNet depot in North Yorkshire. Items are then sent to destinations around the world. RYA Rotarian Christine True represents RYA in the York-based section. Rotarians meet on a regular basis to service and repair the collected equipment, thus meaning that this scheme saves much equipment going to waste in landfill.

> Reengage (formerly Contact the Elderly): Founded in 1965 to tackle social isolation among older people through regular Sunday afternoon tea parties, the charity plans to create a wider range of trips out and social activities to support people over the age of 75. Rotary York Ainsty members, working with others, assist by connecting with older people who appreciate their friendship. 

> Defibrillator installations in local villages: Rotarians raise essential funds which provide vital life-saving Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) placed in public places around the City of York, most recent installations have been in Acomb and Copmanthorpe.

> Assisting with 'manpower' at York events: Many charities depend on volunteers to steward and provide support for their fund-raising activities, whether a large scale event (York 10K / York Marathon) or more modest activities involving streetside donation collecting. Rotarians assist with stewarding and other tasks. Charities helped include:  St Leonard's Hospice, York Mind, The Wilberforce Trust, ASDA Foundation York 10K Run / Marathon and Marie Curie collections.

Santa Sleigh float collectionUnder normal circumstances - and for the past 40 years - RYA members would be out and about in the city and many surrounding communities throughout December with their Santa's Sleigh. As it travels, a door-to-door collection is taken. Additionally, the sleigh is also 'parked' outside major supermarkets in and around York. The Santa sleigh is RYA's major fund-raiser and annually close to £10,000 has been collected and donated, in the main, to local community charities. Almost every club member takes part with support from volunteers from the local charities, whom Rotary York Ainsty supports. DUE TO THE ON-GOING COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND THE DIFFICULTIES OF GUARANTEEING THE SAFELY OF THE PUBLIC AND COLLECTORS - A HALT WAS CALLED AND, SADLY, THE RYA SANTA WITH HIS SLEIGH DID NOT COLLECT IN 2020. A LIMITED COLLECTION ROUTE WAS TAKEN IN 2021. IF THE PUBLIC WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A DONATION, THEY SHOULD ACCESS THE JUST GIVING PORTAL AT justgiving.com/Rotary-Ainsty. ALL DONATIONS WILL BE USED TO SUPPORT RYA'S LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL CHARITABLE GIVING. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE. WE HOPE TO BE BACK ON THE ROAD IN 2022 WITH A REVISED 'OFFERING'.


> York Mind: Through grants exceeding £1,000, RYA has supported York Mind, a leading local charity supporting people experiencing mental ill-health in York. York Mind provides a range of therapeutic one-to-one and group activities for people aged 8+ in York, which can be accessed via self-referral. Through the wide range of services on offer, York Mind aim to equip people with the skills, tools and confidence they need to manage their own mental wellbeing needs, in order to continue a fulfilling life.

> Salvation Army’s EIP Team: Locally The Salvation Army’s Homelessness Services are an integral part in the City of York scheme 'No Second Night Out' (NOSNO).  The Early Intervention and Prevention (EIP) Team operates a Drop in Centre.  An initial client-led assessment identifies actions which can be taken immediately, including accommodation and any health needs.  The Prevention Team conduct early morning street walks and make potential clients aware of the services.  Through a grant of £400 and face masks to the EIP Team, RYA has continued to support homeless people in York.

> York City of Sanctuary: YCofS is an initiative that  is seeking to create a culture of human rights in York and acts as a catalyst for York people, organisations and business to champion a vibrant, diverse, fair and safe city.  RYA supported this work through a grant of £400.

> Tang Hall Community Centre: The Tang Hall Community Centre provides a vital focal point for community activities and support for the residents of Tang Hall, on the outskirts of York.  Having provided face masks through its Community Face Mask Project, a recent £400 grant from RYA will allow the Centre to provide either Christmas Food Hampers or a Christmas lunch to local families in need. 


> Groves Groceries: St Thomas' Church is in the heart of the Groves area of York.  As part of its commitment to reaching out into the local community, a small team provided food packs to families during the first Covid-19 lockdown period. During this period, RYA provided face masks to the Church’s team. Reaching out again to local families in need, the Groves Groceries Christmas hamper project received a timely and welcome boost of a £400 grant from RYA. Website: https://www.stthomaswithstmaurice.org.uk/

> Changing Lives – Union Terrace, York - Formed in 1970, Changing Lives has around 100 projects in England staffed by 600 dedicated staff. The charity helps people experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, addiction and long-term unemployment , to make positive change – for good. Through a grant of £400 and face masks to the charity’s Union Terrace project, RYA has supported single homeless people in York.

> SASH Nightstop: Through a £400 grant and providing face masks, RYA supported Safe and Sound Homes (SASH) in their aim to prevent homelessness in young people aged 16 to 25.  The charity gives vulnerable young people, in York, North & East Yorkshire, a safe and stable place to stay, when they have nowhere else to go.  When young people are facing homelessness, they can offer a spare room in the home of a trained volunteer and support to move forward.

York Foodbank: In the current climate York Foodbank's ethos that nobody in the community should have to face going hungry, is as important as ever. Through grants exceeding £1,400, RYA has supported the foodbank and thus helped provide three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people. The most recent grant has helped fund a food scheme for Christmas 2020.

> Acomb Primary School foodbank:  Through a £500 grant RYA supported Acomb Primary School, who were running a foodbank during Covid-19 lockdown.  The school is part of Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust and seeks to be a place where everyone aims high, achievements are celebrated and everyone is valued.

> Independent Domestic Abuse Services (IDAS):  By offering non-judgmental, practical and emotional support to anyone affected by domestic abuse, sexual violence or sexual abuse in York and North Yorkshire, IDAS keep people safe and support them to make their own decisions. RYA has supported this work with a grant of £550 and free of charge face masks to help with Covid.

> Carecent: Carecent is a breakfast centre for homeless, unemployed or otherwise socially excluded members of our York community.  Through  a grant of £500, RYA has helped provide food, clothing and fellowship in a friendly and non-judgemental environment. Carecent works with other agencies in order to move people forward to an improved lifestyle.

> Brunswick Organic Garden: A York-based organic nursery and craft workshop is providing a safe and secure community working environment for those with learning difficulties. The   charity, provides a facility for both education and vocational opportunities for the attendees and also a contract gardening service for the local community, to support their financial needs.

> St Leonard's Hospice:  The Hospice provides specialist palliative care and support for local people with life limiting illnesses. The hospice operates an In-patient Unit, Sunflower Centre and Hospice@Home service, where every patient is recognised and treated as an individual. Rotarians provide volunteers to support fundraising and also grants each year of in excess of £500.

> York Masters Boxing Club: Rotary York Ainsty is getting its gloves on to assist a community boxing club in the city. The York Masters Boxing Club, based in premises in Redeness Street, were faced with a funding shortfall following the withdrawal of their main sponsor. The club provides opportunities for fitness training, boxing technique and develops discipline, focus and social skills amongst its members.

> ToyLikeMe: ToyLikeMe is a York-based community-interest company which encourages and influences toy manufacturers to consider disability when designing their products. Founded in the city some years ago, it has encouraged industry awareness of the need to represent disability.

 Rotarians are PEOPLE OF ACTION

At Rotary York Ainsty you will find people who care about disadvantaged people at home, in York and district, or further afield. Care and support is either through fund-raising / charitable collections or the investment of time and talent in specific projects and activities.

Maybe you have a community project you care about passionately?

Why not talk to us about it? Maybe we can help with advice, effort or even some modest funding?

INTERESTED in learning more about Rotary? Contact us at:

e-mail: rcyorkainsty@gmail.com

Telephone: 07870 544 448

'What We Do' Main Pages:

Rotary York Ainsty Rotarians embark on a purple crocus planting campaign to mark World Polio Day on October 24 at the Folk Hall, New Earswick, York.

Rotary York Ainsty Rotarians embark on a massive purple crocus planting campaign to mark World Polio Day on October 24 at the Folk Hall, New Earswick, York.

The remote and difficult to get to area of Fushë Arrëz in Albania

Rotary York Ainsty, working in cooperation with two other Rotary Clubs in different countries, is developing a project which will bring medical aid to a remote region of Albania - Fushë Arrëz.


Details of there highly successful Santa Sleigh in York and District, December 2022

Annie Arkwright hands over another batch of SpecSort glasses to the Navajeevana Centre, Sri Lanka.

The highly-regarded SpecSort initiative - a flagship project of Rotary York Ainsty - is expanding its sphere of operation by delivering sorted and graded pre-owned glasses to more countries across the globe.


The main projects supported by Rotary York Ainsty as at March 2023...


A 'Signature' project for Rotary York Ainsty. Members collect glasses from opticians then sort and grade them, before taking to Africa. RUTH PEROTT awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year's honours. Link: https://tinyurl.com/MBESpecSort


York optometrist Ruth Perrott was honoured with the award of an MBE in the Queen's New Year's 2021 list for her work in supporting visually impaired patients in Africa. She recently attended a ceremony where she received her award from Prince William.


Sow, Grow and Share is a project whereby Rotary York Ainsty provides growing kits to produce fresh food for participants in the York locale.

Calendar image

A varied series of meetings with guest speakers, activities and projects.


Rotary York Ainsty has honoured York-based charities and individuals who partnered with Rotary to mitigate the effects of the Covid-10 Pandemic on the communities in York and district


Rotary York Ainsty membership opportunities are listed and detailed here - click on the image to advance to the detail.


A joint initiative with local organisations and schools to plant crocuses, the purple crocus blooms reminding all of the on-going threat of poliomyelitis to the world's children.


Team players wanted to join us in our many York community-based projects - with local, national and international benefits. Find out more below.


Team players wanted to join us to assist us in our many community initiatives - with INTERNATIONAL benefits... Find out more here.

This photograph shows Kenyan girls proudly displaying their Yorkits hygiene kits. The image was supplied by the 'Educate the Kids' project in Mombassa, Kenya.

Yorkits - making and supplying washable feminine hygiene kits for girls in developing countries


Eco Angels is a Rotary York Ainsty (RYA) initiative that aims to transform waste plastic into attractive Angels. For a voluntary donation to the Yorkits project (which helps to change lives) RYA is providing basic armature shaped kits.


A York-based organic nursery and craft workshop is providing a safe and secure community working environment for those with learning difficulties.

Logo of the York Master Boxing Club taken from its web site landing page.

Rotary York Ainsty is getting its gloves on to assist a community boxing club in the city.


ToyLikeMe is a York-based community-interest company which encourages and influences toy manufacturers to consider disability when designing their products.


Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is an intensive leadership experience organised by Rotary clubs and districts where teenagers develop skills as a leader while having fun and making connections.


Rotary York Ainsty Associate Membership - What is involved - What is expected.


A photographic record of some visits (both ways) in recent years


Three examples of how you can assist those less fortunate via Rotary membership


How to show an interest in joining Rotary York Ainsty - A selection of membership application forms

Door 84 logo

Rotary York Ainsty supports Door 84 - a York city centre for youth


What is Rotary all about? Some interesting facts and figures

Santa on tour with Rotary York Ainsty Rotarian 'collection Elves' - Peter Kendall, John Merchant, Christine True and John Niklaus.

Follow the travels of Santa as he tours streets and villages of York bringing the Christmas message to local communities.


A thank-you letter and certificate from School in a Bag.


An archive of Press Releases circulated to the media of York - including cuttings and links to original documents and resources.


Yearsley Grove School in Huntington, York support Rotary York Ainsty's Polio Eradication project


York school pupils aimed for top marks in ingenuity as they swapped their classroom for a design and construction challenge - the RiY Technology Tournament, which was held at the international headquarters of Portakabin, in Huntington, York.

York Ainsty Rotarian Avtar Matharu is seen with another Marie Curie supporter at York central rail station.

Rotarians and volunteers have been out and about assisting with Marie Curie cancer care collections in York.


Six Rotary York Ainsty Rotarians tell the story of why they joined the association.


The heart defibrillator at Copmanthorpe is ready for use, installed courtesy of Rotary York Ainsty.


A photo-gallery featuring some images taken on the 2018 visit to RYA's 'twin' club in Münster, Germany - Münster St Mauritz.

Chechelele - the main attraction at RYA's Charter Night with a Difference - WOZA RYA

WOZA RYA - A Charter Night with a Difference - Rotary York Ainsty Charter Night 2018


Rotary York Ainsty Friends form a vital part of its community structure