Rotary Club of Belfast

Rotaract

Rotaract

Rotaract is a unique international service organisation bringing together people aged 18 and older to exchange ideas with leaders in the community, develop leadership and professional skills and have fun through service.

 Members are primarily composed of undergraduate and postgraduate students and young professionals from a wide range of disciplines, professions and continents. Rotaract members decide how to organize and run their clubs, manage their own funds, and plan and carry out activities and service projects. Rotary club sponsors offer guidance and support.

Originally founded in the United States in 1968, Rotaract came to the UK and Ireland in the early 1970s. There are just currently over more than 200,000 Rotaractors and 10,000 clubs across 180 countries worldwide. Rotary and Rotaract members work side by side to take action through service.

It has been a great pleasure to see The Rotary Club of Belfast and Rotaract coming together in common endeavours Council is pleased to support the Belfast Rotaract Club with guidance and seed funding and is committed to continue to provide it.

Rotaract Club History

The Rotaract Club of Belfast was originally founded in the autumn of 2006 receiving its Charter from Rotary Ireland District Governor Howard Caskie on 8th May 2007 and the Club flourished under the guidance of the hard working founder member, Laura Garland (a TABU team member 2004) and subsequently Andrew Smith as President.

It was dormant from 2014 but was reconstituted in 2019. The achievements of the Clubs are detailed below and it has been a great pleasure to see Rotary and Rotaract coming together in common endeavours.

  • The Club had planned a collaboration with a QUB Clean UP in March which would have included a Rotaract promo pizza event. Unfortunately due to the Covid 19 restrictions this had to be postponed but members kept in touch by social media and 2 weekly get togethers via Zoom.

    carehomes1They decided to try to help during the lockdown and offered to call someone and chat or simply just send an email to anyone who needed a friend. They are also offered help with grocery shopping and picking up prescriptions. The groceries or prescriptions being delivered in front of the house/flat so there was no contact between the people and the safe distance kept as recommended.

    During the summer they delivered boxes of chocolates and other snacks to several Belfast care homes as a thanks to all the carers and staff for all their hard work and dedication during the difficult COVID-19 pandemic.

    carehomes2This sector throughout this crisis has been lacking in support and the care homes were delighted with this small gesture and hugely grateful for the recognition. All of the boxes were carefully packed and delivered by the Rotaractors and they Veya noted: “it was beautiful to talk to the staff of these care homes while delivering the boxes and even though it is just a box of snacks it is the gesture that counts so much and they really appreciated it”.
  • Former Rotaractor in Aberdeen Veja Toth and former TABU 2018 student and Interactor Theo Burton initiated the reconstituting of a Belfast Rotaract Club att QUB in September.

    They actively sought out new members hoping to achieve the minimum target of 15 set by both RIBI and QUB as soon as possible and appointed provisional Office Bears with Theo Burton installed as President. QUB have been very supportive and have made available a venue for meetings and a certain amount of funding.

    IMG 6534As a first venture Veja Toth and Jack McKinney joined Rotary Club members at the Mitchell House Christmas Party in December and greatly helped with present and juice disbursement. 
  • Throughout the year, the Rotaract Club of Belfast maintained a close relationship with the team at YouthAction NI, who kindly hosted their meetings - a venue which provided a hub around which the society was able to orient itself. Some of the members participated in the GetSet day.

    marathon relay group 2013marathon2013
    A team of Rotaractors, which included Belfast Rotary Club member Claire Savage (centre left), completed the Belfast Relay Marathon for their chosen charities.


     

    ChequeForRotoractThe Belfast Rotary Club presented them with a £100 cheque for their Marathon Fund. It was handed over by President Ken Morrison to Laura Garland who gratefully received it.
  • SavageTrophy11The Rotary Club of Belfast presented the Rotaract Club with the John A Savage Trophy for 2010. Inaugurated in 2009, the Trophy is awarded by The Rotary Club of Belfast to the individual or group selected as giving great service to the Community.

    Presenting the award, President Brian Clements stated he was personally delighted to present this award given his long-standing association with the late John Savage and the Club's connection with the Rotaract Club and their great work.

    The award was collected, on behalf of the Rotaract Club, by Rotaract President Thomas Eisenhart and founder member Laura Garland.
  • Lagan Zip Line 2
    On Saturday 4th September 2010 a number of members of Belfast Rotaract Club and our own intrepid member Past President Marnette completed a sponsored Zip Line across the River Lagan for MacMillan Cancer support.
    Lagan Zip Line 1
    A Zip Line involves being raised by a crane to a height of 150 feet and crossing the River Lagan suspended from a wire. 


    Belfast Rotaract members included Laura Garland and Tony Mairs. Trudy Montgomery, a member of Belfast East Rotary Club and Rotary District 1160 Rotaract Chair arranged it all and did it as well!

    Many congratulations to all!

    Lagan Zip Line 4 Lagan Zip Line 7 Lagan Zip Line 6

    In addition, the Rotaract Club donated a number of needed items to the Simon Community Shelter; braved the snow in December to spend an hour carolling in the city centre raising over £100 for school children in Kenya; set up a ShelterBox outside of the QUB student's union raising over £250.


     
  • abseilgroup1
    5 Rotaractors, including founder Laura Garland, abseiled down the Europa Hotel in Belfast on 18th April 2010. They were well supported by other members of the Club.

    Contributions went to the Simon Community.


    abseilgroup2
     
  • mural1mural2
    In March 2010 they created a Peace Mural! Having been allocated a very uninspiring wall in Glengall St. Club Ambassadorial Scholar and Rotaract Member Borjan Zic designed the mural and it was painted by  Rotaract members: Donna Swanson (former USA Ambassadorial Scholar) Bri Symm, Michael Savage, Matt Birch, Graham Rainey, Wen Zhang, Ketao Feng and PP Laura Garland.


    mural4Borjan said: "I am particularly proud of the project the Belfast Rotaract Club carried out at my suggestion. The Club's Immediate Past President asked for ideas for a community service project that would also serve as an effective public relations promotion for Rotaract and Rotary. I suggested that we design our own peace and reconciliation mural in downtown Belfast. In this way, I thought we could advance Rotaract's visibility and values simultaneously.

    Moreover, I attended several events at Queen's which stressed the potential that art and images can have in reinforcing peace in post-conflict societies. Given that parts of Belfast unfortunately still display many sectarian murals with violent images, I was thus inspired to have Belfast Rotaract make its own contribution to the growing number of reconciliation murals springing up in the city centre.

    mural3Once we agreed to do the project, I contacted members of the Belfast Rotary Club as well as the Belfast City Council. Thankfully, one of the members of the Club, Brian Rowntree, put me in touch with Jennifer Hawthorne, an official at the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, who gladly offered the use of an empty wall across from the main bus station in downtown Belfast. In tandem with other members of the Rotaract Club, I helped conceive a mural design featuring the Rotaract logo in the centre surrounded by four cranes (birds symbolising peace) and the word "peace" written in English and the three languages most commonly spoken by immigrants here (Polish, Chinese, and Spanish). From that point, it was simply a matter of painting the wall. Overall, I am quite happy with the legacy to Belfast I helped provide during my time here."
  • Rotoract AwardThe Rotaract Club were star salesmen in the Rotary Club of Belfast car ballot for Polio Plus, raised money for the NeoNatal unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital, had a buskfest carolling for the Morning Star Homeless Centre and organised a pub quiz for Leukaemia Research.

    They hosted the District 1160 Rotaract Council Meeting in Belfast on Sunday 2nd March 2009. - to be allowed to host a District meeting so early in the Club's life is a huge tribute to the Club and the recognition it had already received within District 1160.

    Reflecting this in June 2009, Rotaract President Laura Garland was presented by Past District Governor Paul Hutchinson with a Rotary International Presidential Citation, signed by RI President DK Lee, for the Rotaract Club's outstanding efforts to make dreams real for the world's children.


  • Belfast Rotoract CharterThe Club was founded in the autumn of 2006 with 4 members and received its Charter from Rotary Ireland District Governor Howard Caskie on 8th May 2007. 2014 TABU team member was installed as President and the club flourished under her guidance.

    Fun Run 08During the year they ran in the Belfast Fun Run for NI Leukemia Research as well as providing paint teams for The Nomadic restoration.


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Membership of the Club is an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable experience and we are actively looking for new people to invite to join and breathe new vibrancy and ideas into the Club and take Rotary into its second century in Belfast.

If you think Rotary may be for you, or for further information, please contact us.

Getting involved with Rotary could be the most important thing you ever do.

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