Rotary club asked to consider its future

From left, district governor James Onions, Littlehampton Rotary Club president Keith Green and secretary Mick Young
From left, district governor James Onions, Littlehampton Rotary Club president Keith Green and secretary Mick Young

District governor James Onions gave Littlehampton Rotary Club food for thought when he visited recently.

As the leader of Rotary South, Mr Onions will be visiting each of the 105 clubs in the district during his year in office.

He is a member of Kew Gardens Rotary Club and was the guest speaker at Littlehampton’s meeting on August 22 at The Vardar Restaurant.

Geoff Watts, press officer for Littlehampton Rotary Club, said: “Well, the district governor has certainly given us food for thought.

“He expressed the views of the district committee chairman, in saying how concerned Rotary International are regarding membership.

“There has been a net loss of 130 members in his district in the past year, so much so that it is a concern that Rotary could be finished within ten years.

“Local communities would really miss Rotary for all that they do within their own localities.”

Mr Onions said Rotary clubs must be more accommodating in attracting younger members. He also pointed out that in his district, only 18 per cent of members were women, although it was noted that females made up 20 per cent of membership at the Littlehampton club.

He said Rotary should perhaps be more adaptable, with breakfast meetings, later starts in evenings and a change in the frequency of meetings, noting the Littlehampton club had a meal but attendance was not compulsory.

Mr Onion told members: “Your club has a great tradition formed in 1923; a club of innovation with the Voice of Progress, Arun Young Musicians, donations to re-roof several schools in the Philippines blighted by typhoons, Sand Dams and donations to improve health and hygiene in schools in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa - plus Children in Need each November.

“Also, you had a very successful charity shop in Rustington for almost five years, which is still sadly missed, according to members of the public.”

He asked members to consider where Rotary South was going as a district. He suggested more people would join the Littlehampton club if it had a later start time. Alternatively, a second section of the club could be formed, or even a new club.

President Keith Green gave the club’s vote of thanks to the district governor for sparing time in his busy schedule to go along to speak to the Littlehampton members.

Anyone interested in joining Littlehampton Rotary Club should contact membership secretary Mike Findlay, email on telephone 01903 732574.

Meetings are held on Tuesdays at 6pm at The Vardar Restaurant, Selborne Place, Selborne Road, Littlehampton. Members gather at 6pm for a drink and a chat before a two-course meal at 6.30pm.

The format varies each week and may include a guest speaker or a theme. Every two months, there is a business meeting to discuss the work the club is doing to help local and international charities, or worthwhile causes. If there is a fifth Tuesday in the month, partners are invited to that meeting.