October 2018 Newsletter for SVPACT Volunteers
Congratulations to Bob Greeney!
On Wednesday October 24, 2018, a special presentation was made as part of the Children’s Week Awards. Bob Greeney received recognition as an Exceptional Older Person, who has shown outstanding commitment and generosity to the development of children.
Bob is the key figure in our team who recruits, trains and support the volunteers in the Meccano program. He is also a long serving committee member and is currently the Vice President. Over the many years of his involvement, Bob has supported and encouraged hundreds of our mentors, working to increase the fine motor skills and confidence of students through their work on Meccano projects.
The Meccano Project Continues To Grow 2019-05-20 14:00:00Z 0
Tamil Association Canberra
Through a special program, RRR (Recover, Rehabilitate, Re-use), the Rotary Club of Belconnen was able to donate a collection of "Wheelie Walkers"and canes to the Tamil Assciation of Canberra, for use in their community.
Recover, Re-habilitate, Re-Use 2019-05-19 14:00:00Z 0
In Support of The Shepherd Centre
The Canberra Rotaract trivia night in support of the Shepherd Centre was a very successful night. Held on Friday night at the Hellenic Club in the City, we had over 100 participants take part and raised over $3500 for the Canberra Chapter of The Shepherd Centre.
The funds raised at the trivia night will go directly towards the Canberra chapter of The Shepherd Centre (TSC). TSC provides speech, hearing, language, and counselling services to local families with children born deaf or hard of hearing, services are crucial in allowing children to develop the skills they need to be successful in life, no matter their circumstances. TSC has a policy that no child in need of assistance will go without, the money raised will ensure that this continues to be possible.
Canberra Rotaract Trivia Outcome 2019-05-19 14:00:00Z 0
A RAWCS Disaster Relief Appeal has been set up, in relation to the Townsville flooding. The details on how to make a donation are mentioned below.
My intention is to place our District’s budgeted disaster funding into the Appeal.
Could you all please let clubs in your Districts know about the Appeal.
Much appreciated
The Rotary Club of Townsville South West registered the following Rotary Australia Benevolent Society Disaster Appeal.  74-2018-19: D9550 North Queensland Disaster Relief Appeal (RABS)
To make a tax deductible donation go to the RAWCS website. http://rawcs.org.au/project-search/   Click on the Project Number and then the donate button and follow the prompts.  Every little bit helps as there will be a massive recovery effort once the rain and floods dissipate and people’s needs become more apparent.  PDG Rob Tardiani is Project Manager and will keep us advised on a regular basis.
Townsville Disaster Relief 2019-02-06 13:00:00Z 0
Our Test Cure Live awareness campaign will run from February 2019 until September 2020. The campaign will be rolled out in different states in 3 month intervals.
We are rolling out the campaign in ACT and South Australia in collaboration with our member organisations Hepatitis ACT and Hepatitis South Australia during February 2019 - April 2019. We will then focus our campaign on different states during the next cycles  eg. QLD, Victoria, NT etc.
[A link to an article appears in the right hand column - under "Flyers & Newsletters" - it is a download jpg.]
We (Hepatitis Australia) hope to reach as many people as possible in our target group, this will only be possible with the help of organisations, like the Rotary Club, that are willing to participate in the campaign through advertising in their newsletters, posting /sharing our FaceBook posts or having education sessions.
Hepatitis C Can Be Cured 2019-01-28 13:00:00Z 0

A great turnout of members, friends, families and guests helped us celebrate the installation of Rosemary Ganly as President for 2018-2019.  

Rosemary introduced her Board which is a great mix of new faces and experience.  Alongside Rosemary are:

Treasurer Tony Trumble, Vice President Bob Greeney, President Elect Jon Mercer, Director Revenue Peter Oldham, Director Projects Wayne Goodman

We all wish Rosemary and her Board the very best for the 2018-2019 Rotary year.

Changeover 2018 2018-07-01 14:00:00Z 0

D9710 Rotarian of the Year - Fred Fawke

Our Fred Fawke was named D9710 Rotarian of the Year at the district changeover on Sunday at the Hellenic Club.

This is the second time Fred has earned the Rotarian of the Year accolade having previously won the award in 2010.

Fred's accomplishments are legendary.

Member of Belconnen Rotary for 30 years; Club President 2006-2007; Regional Shelter Box chair since 2010.

Hands-on Community Service in Belconnen, assisting those disadvantaged and disabled people, who fall outside the scope of government assistance, with replacement household equipment, wheelie-walkers, electric scooters, wheelchairs and a range of medical aids such as respiratory machines and electric hospital beds; coordinating club members to construct garden beds and pergolas and personally delivering mulch and removing rubbish to the tip or recycling centre.

A typical day for Fred is receiving a call from individuals and organisations with serviceable surplus hospital-grade equipment such as beds, wheelchairs and scooters that would otherwise be destined for scrap.  Fred is also contacted by community support agencies on behalf of those who cannot access government support and he will personally deliver a bed or a wheelchair or whatever is needed.  

Fred inspires other Rotarian, members of the public and organisations, such as Storage King, Bunnings and others, to assist where they can.

For the past 10 years Fred has been a regular mentor with the School Volunteer Program managing and coordinating the Meccano program in Belconnen primary schools.  As well Fred worked with principals of the schools to set up a Partnership program between the schools and the Rotary club and the assistance he arranges provides for breakfast programs and financial assistance for children who can't join in excursions and similar extra curricular activities.

Fred's community commitment is not just a Rotary responsibility but a genuine response from a truly caring man who will not need anyone in need go without.   Fred is true leader-at-large in our community.  

Fred Fawke D9710 Rotarian of the Year 2018-07-01 14:00:00Z 0

Wayne Goodman has joined Len Glare to represent Belconnen on the Floriade planning committee. 

The Rotary submission to become the Floriade Charity Partner for 2018 was successful and the planning committee is now moving on with detailed planning and organisation for the event. The theme of Floriade this year is “pop culture”.

Rotary’s broad objective at Floriade is to encourage visitors to become involved in volunteering and giving back to their community in a meaningful way.  From an organisation standpoint, this drills down further to: 

Raising Rotary’s Profile.  Rotarians tend to be quiet achievers who do phenomenal things for the world’s communities. It is one of only a few organisations that is trusted to deliver aid any country in the world. Positive news about the spirit of cooperation and achievement is something worth promoting.  

Membership Recruitment, The target audience for growing Rotary’s membership is 12 - 70+ years, across all genders, nationalities and backgrounds.  Visitors to Floriade are therefore viewed as an ideal market in which to attract volunteers to the organisation.  


Pop-In Birthday Marquee. The focal point of Rotary’s presence during Floriade 2018 will be a ‘Pop-In’ marquee featuring a variety of attractions in line with its 90th Birthday theme as well as promotions and educational material about Rotary’s many charitable activities.  

Artificial Monster Birthday Cake. A  2m wide x 2.5m high weatherproof artificial birthday cake will be secured next to the marquee decorated in a pop culture style, lending itself to host of interactive camera-ready moments.  

Mega-Birthday Card Signing. As part of an attempt to record more than the Guinness World Record of 5,400 signatures, visitors will be encouraged to sign a giant birthday card. Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, will invited to be the first to sign.   

Hometown Pinboard. A large printed Map of the World will be mounted on a lightweight substrate such as corflute and positioned within the marquee to encourage visitors to mark their hometown with a pin.  This will form an interesting snapshot of visitor origin and the data will be shared with Events ACT. Supplementary data collection may be captured electronically; visitors may choose to enter their hometown via our laptop. 

Charitable Focus Days. It is envisaged that throughout the month, the marquee will host a series of special days showcasing different aspects of Rotary’s charitable work. A  ShelterBox will be erected and disaster relief experts will be on site to talk about it.  Visitors will be able to enter the tent and be challenged to repack equipment into the box. 

Rotary Branded Merchandise. A range of small promotional collateral such as badges, balloons, pens, recyclable water bottles etc will be given out as a part of the visitor interaction.  Lucky dips may be used to facilitate data collection. 

Nightfest will have an orientation towards the younger and Rotaract is involved in the planning committee.

Staffing of the Rotary site will be by volunteers drawn from all participating Clubs. 

The Planning Committee is identifying leaders for each activity as only a little more than 70 days remain to get everything in place.


Floriade Charity Partner 2018 - Rotary 2018-07-01 14:00:00Z 0
Happy Birthday, Frank Williams JP PHF
Frank recently celebrated his 80th birthday and the T&T team and his friend at the market joined in wishing him all the best.
Frank's 80th 2018-07-01 14:00:00Z 0

Richard Griffiths and David Marshall.  Richard and David spoke about the need for an Emergency Shelter in Canberra.  The ACT government is in denial about the homelessness and the need for a crisis shelter in Canberra. Social housing is being closed. Rents are high. Domestic violence is a serious issue. Migrant women also need a shelter. Companion pets are an important consideration.

The aim is to provide 'Safe, secure shelter immediately' this win crisis situations.  In a shelter there would be a case worker to help clients in the morning.  The shelter would provide emergency assistance for between 1 and 21 days.

The ACT government doesn't believe in emergency shelters. According to the last census there are only 54 sleeping rough but this single statistic doesn't reflect any understanding of the extent of the problem in our city.  There will be about 600,000 people in the ACT by 2030.  The unmet need for crisis shelter accommodation is greater than 35%.  Those most in need include both male and female youth 12-15yo, young people 16-25yo, students, single men and women, families, people with companion pets, victims of domestic violence, people with visa issues, and more.  40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT+ and have been rejected by their families.

The Rotary Emergency Shelter Project envisages a facility about 200 beds.  Safety + security are paramount.  The project team are seeking support and developing their requirements through a series of sector meetings and the development of design concepts.  Then a site must be chosen site chosen and support obtained from the private sector.  Then there will be the need for fit-out, support services, and running costs.  The support of the wider Rotary community will be sought.

Homelessness in ACT. 2018-07-01 14:00:00Z 0
On Saturday 2/6/18 the Club joined with RC Ginninderra to plant trees at the Ginninderry Village development.  
Ginninderry Tree Planting Leo Farrelly 2018-06-04 14:00:00Z 0

Through the financial support of Rotary Clubs, Australian Rotary Health has been able to fund successful research to help people live full and productive lives.  The current emphasis on Mental Health research is to help the 20% of Australians who will face a Mental Health issue at some time during their lives.  People in our Emergency Services, people we work with, people in our Clubs and Communities - our friends.

Through research grants your donation can help reduce the stigma these people face every day and importantly help them return to productive work and family life.

The following points briefly describing a few of the achievements of medical research in Australia funded by Australian Rotary Health.

  • SIDS - The incidence of SIDS (cot death) was reduced by 80%

  • Mental Health First Aid – a program now used in 22 countries to teach members of the public to recognise symptoms of mental health problems and how to give initial help.  

  • Cool Kids Program – 2 in 10 children experience anxieties, this world renowned program helps children and parents manage their children’s fears and worries.

  • Motor Neurone Disease - A simple urine test has been developed to detect and monitor the progression of motor neurone disease in patients.

  • Lung Transplant Program – patients are achieving a 95% survival rate after 2 years and the number of deaths while on the waiting list has reduced from 29% to 3%.

  • Youth Depression - A study has revealed that sleep problems precede depression episodes in adolescents therefore allowing early detection and intervention. 

  • Pancreatic Cancer - A current study has shown significant progress in reducing the growth and spread of pancreatic cancer. 

  • Diet - A recent study showed a link between ‘western style’ diets and depression.  Foods including processed meats, pizza, chips, hamburgers, white bread, sugar, flavoured milk and beer were associated with depression and anxiety.

Your donation not only helps us get closer to effective mental illness treatment and prevention strategies, but as you approach the end of the Rotary Year you can recognise your Club members; board or Community Members who have made significant contributions in your town.

A Certificate and a pin will be sent to the club for each person named a level of Friend and Companions receive a framed certificate and a pin with either a ruby, emerald or diamond chip to recognise their contribution.  For example, if your club donates $1,000 to Australian Rotary Health, you may choose to nominate 2 members as a “Bronze Friend”.  Contributions are cumulative and the following recognition levels are available:


Friend - $100
Bronze Friend - $500
Silver Friend - $1,000
Platinum - $2,000
Diamond Friend - $2,500


Companion - $5,000
Gold Companion - $10,000
Ruby Companion - $20,000
Emerald Companion - $50,000
Diamond Companion - $100,000


Making the world a better place is what Rotarians do best, make a donation and  become a Friend or Companion today.  To help you arrange the donation, please contact the team at Australian Rotary Health office on (02) 8837 1900 or admin@arh.org.au.  If you would like to know more about how your donations are used  or arrange for a Club guest speaker feel free to give the Director for your District Graeme Davies a call on 0416 275 363 or gradav@ozemail.com.au

Australian Rotary Health 2018-04-01 14:00:00Z 0
On the 90th anniversary of the Rotary Club of Canberra, keynote speaker at the District Conference Maj Gen Michael Jeffries noted that the new Rotarians of 1928 had to break down barriers of reserve from early Canberra residents about this initiative from the US.  He highlighted some of the amazing achievements of Australian Rotary including the 1985 Polio Plus initiative and support of the Diamond Jubilee Trust of Australia project to eradicate blindness across the Commonwealth.  The Australia Trachoma Alliance was joined by Rotary in the  Nourish our Communities project.  Visit the End Trachoma 2020 website and learn about how Rotary is building healthy communities.  He urged us to get behind the Soils for Life program that is providing farmer-to-farmer mentoring on regenerative land management.  It has financial, social, and scientific aspects.  Improving soils requires carbon in the soil from green vegetation.  Water, food and soil security is the next global train smash.  There is a need to reconnect urban Australians to their rural communities in order to provide food and economic security.   We should have Rotary projects to establish gardens in every primary and secondary school together with a mandated curriculum across Australia.
Maj Gen Jeffries District Conference 2017-2018 2018-03-28 13:00:00Z 0


The District Conference held March 24th and 25th was awesome.  The District Conference is where we go to learn about the tremendous impact that Rotary has on the lives of people in our communities both here and abroad.  




Making a difference.

Bryn Styles, the RI President's Personal Representative to our conference stated that it is important to attend the District Conference to understand the breadth of activities in which Rotary is engaged.  Rotary is not RI - Rotary is us, Rotarian and Friends, and we're supported by Clubs, Districts, Zone, RI.  But without us the Clubs, Districts, Zones and RI wouldn't exist.  But we should remember to prioritise our commitment - Family comes first, then work, then Rotary.  Don't overcommit as you'll lose everything.

Rotary's vision is  "Together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change - across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves."  Rotarians are People of Action!  and we must be able, and prepared, to tell our personal stories in our local communities.  Membership has to be flexible.  Diversity - each club has to reflect the diversity of its local community . What is Belconnen's diversity profile and what is the diversity profile of our club?

Rotary Club Central and My Rotary are being updated to better support us as members.  Our websites are important to tell our story in our local communities so we - make sure they are up-to-date.  Our communities have to understand who we are so meaningful statistics in these tools are important.  Please update your data in My Rotary so that the statistical picture is meaningful.

Noel Trevaskis, an RI Board member from our District, stressed that new members leave Rotary because in their early years they didn't learn about Rotary, didn't make friends, didn't do community service.  He advised that our club has to focus on what we're doing in our community - international is less important.  Fund raising is not the focus, only a means to an end.  He urged us to publish "why did I become a Rotarian" stories - and tell them with passion and feeling.  And we need to continue to change how we operate our clubs.  He pointed out that in 15 years time 50% of Rotarians will come from India & SE Asia.  In western countries Rotary is in serious trouble.

Australian Initiatives

Rotary Fitness

Rotary Fitness is a initiative from District 9710 supporting Australian Rotary Health, spearheaded by City2Surf Legend and Australian Rotary Health Ambassador, Chris Edwards of the Rotary Club of Hall.  Have a look at the website rotary.fitness.   Clubs are encouraged to organise Rotary Fitness events that could be just a regular fitness activity for our club members.  As a PR exercise focussing on Health + Wellbeing it will give our local communities a completely different picture of Rotary and Rotarians.

“Rotary Fitness is as much about physical and mental health as it is about the health of Rotary and well-being of community.”

Rotary Fitness' aim is to support Rotary club and community fitness activities and in the process, raise funding for new medical research, scholarships, health education and awareness. Please join us and be one of the first to get involved.  The worst that can happen is you’ll get fitter, make new friends and help to improve the lives of thousands as you exercise.

Australian Rotary Health

ARH is providing $300k pa of funding for research into the mental health of children. ARH concentrating on research to gain better knowledge of the causes of mental health in children and to propose strategies to deal with it. 

Zone 8 Digital Communications solution.

Our Rotary story isn't getting though.  Our Club website and FB page are where we have to tell our stories as these are where people look for information in this day and age.  Paul Harris said in the 1930s that  "this is a changing world; and we must be prepared to change with it."

The Zone 8 Digital Communications solution is a platform for consistent branding across autonomous club websites all  connected to District.  It will provide for a database capability, a membership management capability and an event management capability.

Maj Gen Michael Jeffries noted that, on the 90th anniversary of the Rotary Club of Canberra, the new Rotarians of 1928 had to break down barriers of reserve from early Canberra residents about this initiative from the US.  He highlighted some of the amazing achievements of Australian Rotary including the 1985 Polio Plus initiative and the  Diamond Jubilee Trust of Australia project to eradicate blindness across the Commonwealth.  The Australia Trachoma Alliance was joined by Rotary in the  Nourish our Communities project.  Visit the End Trachoma 2020 website and learn about how Rotary is building healthy communities.  He urged us to get behind the Soils for Life program that is providing farmer-to-farmer mentoring on regenerative land management.  It has financial, social, and scientific aspects.  Improving soils requires carbon in the soil from green vegetation.  Water, food and soil security is the next global train smash.  There is a need to reconnect urban Australians to their rural communities in order to provide food and economic security.   We could have Rotary projects to establish gardens in every primary and secondary school together with a mandated curriculum across Australia.

What is Probus?

Probus was a community service profit of Rotary International.  Probus is an association for retired and semi-retired people. Aim to keep minds active, expand interests, and build community through fun, fellowship, friendship.  Probus began in England 1965, NZ in 1974, and Australia in 1976.  The 1st Australian club was at Bateman's Bay in 1980.  We were encouraged them for volunteers, to help advertise our youth projects, and invite them to join Rotary.

Rotary Youth Exchange.  Monique went of RYE to Austria.  She spoke about the immense value she got from being part of a new small family for a year, not just her host families but also the RYE family.  Why go on exchange? To make her own world picture.  In Australia you can drive for an hour and perhaps change postcode. In Europe you be in another country, if not two.  She learned to be a responsible traveller and developed amazing friendships, especially with her host families.  

4 Way Test speaking competition.   Phoebe, a year 12 student from Bowral, won the Southland Highlands Four Way Test speaking competition competition this year and her topic was that "Politicians don't utilize an ethical framework to guide their decisions" as it is ethical principles that underpin decency.  In particular she questioned whether holding Australia Day on the 26 January would stand up to the Four Way test. To summarise her points:

  • Is it to truth ? No. We have only celebrated Australia Day on 26 January since 1988.   Prior to 1988 26 January was NSW Proclamation Day.  Our true national day is 1st January.
  • Is it fair? No, not to our indigenous Australians as it is simply the date of colonisation, and then only of NSW.
  • Does holding the event on the 26 January build goodwill and friendships.  No, because it is a devisive date it has been used by some to generate hatred and division and foment conflict in our multi-racial society.
  • Is it beneficial to all concerned?  No. The date only appeals to a small segment of our society and ignores that fact that our true National day is 1 January, the date on which the Commonwealth of Australia came into existence.

Her conclusion was that the decision to hold Australia Day on the 26th January fails the Four Way test and as such should reconsidered.

PCYC  Formerly known a Police Boys Club, PCYC is an 80 year old partnership between Rotary and the Police established in 1937 by Rotary and Commissioner William Mackay to counter gangs roaming Wooloomooloo.  PCYC now has 110,000 members but only a small proportion are children at risk.  The objective is to instil in kids from all backgrounds value of respect, commitment, resilience, integrity and citizenship.  They operate across NSW and are very conscious of their relationship with Rotary.  PCYC people are encouraged to join their local Rotary Club and Rotarians to become actively involved in there PCYC club.

International Initiatives 

AIDS orphanage Kwazulu Natal.   Libby Weir has been working in this very poor community for 15 years. There is 75% unemployment and it is an AIDS epicentre.  There are 96 in the orphanage.  There are many child-led families dependent mostly on the charity of their neighbours.  On her first assignment she was to help establish a preschool in a neighbouring valley - in a commercial abattoir.  Her work has developed to build housing, vegetable gardens, sewing clothes. This helps lift the people out of poverty. Local schools have class sizes 60-80!. She has helped build libraries in schools and  provided the children with school shoes,  She established a village soccer team to build community spirit.   She has established woodworking and welding courses for men and women but receives no government support. School holiday programs and emergency food parcels help support the child headed households.  Five months has turned into15 years simply because the job needed doing and she was there.

Papua New Guinea, refugees, and Limpopo South Africa.  Sr Dane Inglis has had 50 years of  contact with Rotary since joining Australian Volunteers Abroad 1968 - sponsored by Rotary.  In 1972, now a nun, she returned returned to PNG and walked in a mission school supported by QLD rotarians.  By 1987 she was in Europe working with refugees headed for Italy, and ran a soup kitchen in the basement of the Baroque church of Jesu.  She monitored the war in Liberia and reported to government and other agencies on refugee issue.  In Dakar she worked on program of Africans helping Africans.  From 2001 to 2009 she was in South Africa working with an AIDS team in Limpopo .  Rotary helped establish and refurbish an old school.  In 2009 she moved to Senegal building an infants school in Burkina Faso with more help from Canberra Rotary.  A truly remarkable women who now lives in a convent  the Southern Highland she highlighted how Rotary helps people like her working on the front line of poverty and disease in some of the most disadvantaged places on earth.

Rotarians Against Malaria.  Steve and Dorene Carroll gave a most entertaining address on how they became passionate about RAM.  The story starts with Steven some old Army mates from the Vietnam War days deciding to do something about the huge numbers of land mines still scattered over Laos.  Having trained locals to do the mine clearance they turned their attention to establishing schools and water and sanitation projects in local villages.  

Malaria was a constant threat and kills 725,000 per year.  To put that in perspective, the atom bombs dropped on Japan killed 80,000.   In WW2 Japan lost 160,000 to malaria.There are 2,500 species of mosquito but Plasmodium Falaiparom is the killer parasite. Death occurs in 24 hrs if no antidote is given.  P v........ is the more common parasite but doesn't kill, at least not a quickly.  They helped develop the Healthy Villages Program that works on the removal of stagnant water and also provides anti malarial nets and test kits.

To put all this in perspective Steve and Dorene lost they 19 year old daughter to malaria after she contacted the disease in Malaysia.  They are using this intently personal motivation to vigorously promote RAM and are great advocate for the project.

Tanzania.  St Jude school.   Seb Cox is a UC Rotaractor who got involved in this RAWCS project.  St Judes was established in 2003 - and now has 1300 students.  He was asked to go to Tanzania to help set up an Interact club in St Jude's.   On subsequent trips he has established an Earlyact club in St Jude's primary school.  Many D9710 clubs have supported the St Jude's project and the results are outstanding.  Seb was also an outstanding example of Rotaract and Rotaractors.

Rotaractors from the Yass Rotaract Club reported on their Bali project.  With no prior skills they built a house and a piggery for a family living in abject poverty in a village in the north of Bali. Included in their team were two RYE exchange students who couldn't believe their good fortune in being involved in such an endeavour. It is truly amazing what a group of teenagers can achieve.  

Siera Leone - Aminata Conteh-Biger.  This was perhaps the most touching, sad and motivational of all the keynote talks.  Aminata has now been in Australia for 18 years but in January 1999 she was one of the many girls kidnapped by rebels from their school in Freetown and used as a sex slave for 7 months.  She said that the child-soldier rebels were the scariest.  Among other dreadful experiences she learned to hide under dead bodies to stay hidden.  Her bible a great strength.  Released in a truce she got help from the UNHCR and was accepted as a refugee to Australia.  She thought she was going to Austria!  She told the conference that  being a refugee is hard - integration, language, culture all present huge challenges. She started volunteering with UNHCR and has started a foundation to build a maternity hospital and clinics in Sierra Leone.  Sierra Leone needs lots of doctors and maternal health support.   The Ebola epidemic was a setback as lots of ebola was spread through hospitals and people were scared to go for treatment.  Fistula is a particular problem.  Recommended viewing is the SBS doco "Daughter of Sierra Leone".

If you didn't go to District Conference you missed out - big time! 2018-03-25 13:00:00Z 0

The District Conference held last weekend was awesome.  The District Conference is where we go to learn about the tremendous impact that Rotary has on the lives of people in our communities both here and abroad.  

Making a difference.

Bryn Styles, the RI President's Personal Representative to our conference stated that it is important to attend the District Conference to understand the breadth of activities in which Rotary is engaged.  Rotary is not RI - Rotary is us, Rotarian and Friends, and we're supported by Clubs, Districts, Zone, RI.  But without us the Clubs, Districts, Zones and RI wouldn't exist.  But we should remember to prioritise our commitment - Family comes first, then work, then Rotary.  Don't overcommit as you'll lose everything.

Rotary's vision is  "Together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change - across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves."  Rotarians are People of Action!  and we must be able, and prepared, to tell our personal stories in our local communities.  Membership has to be flexible.  Diversity - each club has to reflect the diversity of its local community . What is Belconnen's diversity profile and what is the diversity profile of our club?

Making a Difference - Bryn Styles 2018-03-24 13:00:00Z 0

The Rotary Club of Belconnen established the Rotary Collection of Art by young emerging Australian artists, with the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in 1986 and the collection has since grown to some 84 items due, in part, to an annual donation that we make to the NGA, and very occasionally from donations made by other Clubs.  The brainchild of this innovative idea was that of Belconnen Rotarians Phil McElligott and Hans Milton (both now deceased) and was launched at the NGA with a donation of $7,500 by then Club President Bob Greeney and the Director of the NGA, James Mollison, on the 23 April 1986.  This was the first time a non-government organisation had made such a donation to the NGA.  In 1990 the Club was advised by the NGA that the collection was to go on a tour around Australia, an obvious great advertisement for Rotary.  And in 1993, during the Rotary International Conference in Melbourne, the display was set up in the gallery shop at David Jones in Melbourne.

The first purchase was an untitled work by a young Sydney artist, Tim Maguir, and this item along with the other items is available for viewing in the Gallery.  This year our contact at the NGA, Sarina Noordhuis-Fairfax (Curator Australian Prints and Drawings) advised that she was going to acquire print works by Wollongong artist Teo Treloar and local emerging artist Nicci Hayes.  Having their work purchased by the NGA is obviously a great honour for young artists.  Teo Treloar, for example, indicated that he “was over the moon at the thought of having his work in the NGA Rotary Collection of Art”.

As part of our continuing relationship with the NGA, our Club is provided with four annual complimentary passes to the Gallery and these are available to members from our NGA Liaison person for short periods.  Each pass admits two persons to the Gallery at membership rates, admittance to the member’s lounge, and attracts discounts at the NGA shop.

Today, the Belconnen Rotary Club, occasionally visits the NGA as part of its regular Vocational meetings, and NGA staff provide excellent commentaries on recently acquired items.

Peter Oldham
NGA Liaison
THE ROTARY COLLECTION OF ART 2018-03-18 13:00:00Z 0

click here to see the sort of research Georgia is undertaking at Oxford 



Georgia's Rotary Global Grant Scholarship Journal

January & February 2018

It’s been a busy start to 2018 which has been great. My DPhil project is well underway (I will attach my Gantt chart to reflect this and what’s in store for the next 10 months), I’m currently working on a systematic review for publication and a retail database study on over-the-counter analgesic medicines (including codeine products which have recently become prescription-only in Australia).

  • 15-19th Jan: I completed the Practice of Evidence-Based Medicine course which included a week of lectures, tutorials and assessments to compliment by research (this course is usually taken by the students carrying out an MSc in Evidence-Based Healthcare)

  • 17th Jan: there was a public lecture by Sir Iain Charmers followed by a dinner a Rewley House for all students on the Practice of Evidence-Based Medicine course which was a fantastic night of networking and learning

  • 18th Jan: I attended the Oxford University Australian and New Zealand Society dinner which is always a great social night

  • 19th Jan: I attended the Welcome Back event put on by my college, Kellogg

  • 25th Jan: I started the ‘Learn to Code: Introduction to Python’ course put on by the Oxford Coding Society in the Department of Computer Science. This will continue for the next 6 weeks.

  • 26th Jan: I was invited to attend Oxford Medical School’s Finalist Dinner celebrating the end of exams for final year students. This was held at Cherwell Boathouse in Oxford.

  • 28th Jan: Douglas (my Rotary host) and his wife, Patricia, invited myself and his past scholar Rick, over to his home for a Sunday lunch which was a lovely afternoon. Great to get out of Oxford and see some of the Oxfordshire country-side.

  • 29th Jan: I participated in the Oxford IT course for Thesis Documents which provided skills on working with large documents in preparation for the writing of my thesis

  • 29th Jan: I attended a Formal Dinner at Merton College, an incredible hall, great food and a beautiful cathedral

  • 31st Jan: District 1090 organised a meeting with the Vice Chancellor of Oxford, Prof Louise Richardson. Here we got to speak personally with Prof Richardson and hear more about her career.

  • 2nd Feb: I started the Medical Statistics workshop which will continue for the next 5 weeks

  • 4th Feb: I ran with a friend from Kellogg in the London Winter 10km Run to raise funds for Cancer Research UK

  • 7th Feb: we had our monthly Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine team meeting to get an update on everyone’s research and plans for the next month

  • 8th Feb: I attended the Guest Night Dinner at Kellogg where we were having an exchange dinner with students from New College

  • 10th Feb: I went on the day trip to Blenheim Palace organised by District 1090 – so much history! and we received a talk by the current Duke’s sister, Lady Henrietta.

  • 10th Feb: later that evening I attended the Oxford University Australian and New Zealand Society celebration for Australia Day held at St John’s College

  • 14th Feb: I attended the Oxford IT Statistical programming course for STATA - I have a series of these to attend over the next few weeks, so todays was the introductory session

  • 17th Feb: I took the train to Bristol for the day to explore some more of the UK – a vibrant city!

  • 19th Feb: I visited the Houses of Parliament in Westminster which was organised by our current Bynum Tudor Fellow at Kellogg College, Lord Bilimoria. We were escorted around the Houses of Parliament by his colleagues then we got to meet Lord Bilimoria and spent the afternoon learning more about his role and career.

  • 24th Feb: I attended the 7th annual OxFEST (Oxford females in Engineering, Science and Technology) Conference which was an insightful day of keynote speakers and workshops

  • 27th Feb: I attended a Formal Dinner organised by a rotary Scholar at Balliol College 

More from Georgia Richards 2018-03-18 13:00:00Z 0

As in last report Brian Goldstraw, my grandson Kyle and I took a truck load of goods to DIK in Sydney. We did in fact take desks donated by Burgmann School not Amaroo. The number of people assisting at both ends, for which we are most grateful, made our task much easier physically and the ground based hydraulic lifter at DIK made it possible to lift the desks off in stacks.

During the last week we were able to once again carry out another transfer of goods including some four hundred assorted chairs donated in this case by Mawson School, Moruya High and Raiders Club, Kippax. We would all agree the sterling efforts of Leo, Glenn, our Cornish next door visitor; and Wayne Goodman in cramming the items into the truck made the task somewhat easier.

Today, Wednesday 21st, we have collected more chairs from Amaroo school and they are on their way to Sydney.

Although we had hoped to complete all outstanding transfers of goods; in this multi truck load exercise, other commitments of the receiving parties have slowed the process. This is now critical and may well require the hire of a Hertz truck to reduce the workload of the current team and enable us to meet an April projected container loading.

This week in DiK RRR 15-21 March 2018-03-18 13:00:00Z 0

School Uniform Project


10 tea chest sized boxes of School Uniforms sourced through the Rotary Club of Belconnen (provided by Lowes and Bergman School Gungahlin) were distributed at the Gibitngil Island Integrated School, the Philippines, in the second week of November 2017.  School children from Kindergarten to Year 11 were provided for.  The students were pleased to receive the uniforms.

Sanitation Project

102 Outhouses have now been built for the Gibitngil Island community in the Philippines completing Stage 2 of this project.  Our focus has been on families with 3 children (all larger families have been provided for earlier).  Stage 2 funding has now been exhausted.  Further funding for Stage 3 is expected from our sponsor Partner Housing Australasia (PHA) next financial year.  This continues to be a popular project with a growing list of people seeking our assistance.

The Rotary Club of Belconnen assisted with an initial donation of $5,000 to this project.

Text Books Project

$2,871.75 in funds were raised at a birthday party fundraiser last November 2017.  Attendees included members and partners from the Rotary Club of Belconnen.

With these funds 256 school text books were purchased for the Gibitngil Island Integrated School in the Philippines.  This is to enhance the educational outcomes of the school children as they have a shortage of such text books.  The mix of books was determined in consultation with the teachers and the Principal of the school.  These books were delivered to the school in the third week of January 2018.  These books will be made available to the children via the school library.  This initiative was greatly appreciated by the Principal and school teachers as it has placed the school ahead of schools on the Cebu mainland as they now have the latest text books. 

There is a shortage of library shelving for such books (the books are still sitting in boxes).  The cost of providing such shelving will soon be investigated, in consultation with the school, as a possible future activity.

Written by:  Jason Spurr
President SGIA
Assistant Director Community Services, Rotary Club of Belconnen
Save Gilbitngil Island Association (SGIA) Report: 2 Feb 2018 2018-02-19 13:00:00Z 0

The metal beam of the gazebo development for Canberra City Care at Charnwood is being engineered by the Viet Vets at Page.

Technical Aid ACT (TADACT) and Carers ACT are joining forces. Carers ACT has in the past been the recipient of Christmas hampers from Belconnen.

RC Belconnen has, for a number of years, been a major supplier of goods received to TADACT at Holder where Graham Waite from RC Woden Daybreak works and is the major contact. The photo below was of goods picked from a donor at Florey and other donors went to TADACT last week.

An automated bed was supplied to a family in Garran with the bed having been donated by a family with a member a resident at Hartley House in Warramanga. Carers ACT at Holt are the support agency and they are arranging for the purchase and delivery of the mattress.

Just last week the pneumatic mattress of a client of Carers failed. We borrowed and later returned a replacement supplied to us by Calvary Retirement Home.

Some weeks back we received a mower from a refugee who is now receiving garden assistance from another source and we gave it to Acco Mower Repairs at Higgins with whom we have developed a long term relationship. Just last week the repaired mower was donated to Uniting Church Mower Service.

Just some of the many facilitative projects ongoing within our community.

This week in DiK (Donations-in-Kind) and RRR (Recover, Rehabilitate and Re-Use) 2018-01-28 13:00:00Z 0

Karinya House need your help please.
Can you join their Friend's circle. After last week’s response, they now only need 992 new Friends - join them for $5 per week, $20 a month. You will ensure their services continue.

Karinya report that "We fell short of our annual funding requirements last financial year. At this stage we are $220,000 short of our required target at this time of the current financial year.

Every Friend makes a difference. We are certain we can find 992 new Friends, investing a contribution of only $20 a month. All donations are fully tax deductible.

Sign up today and share our purpose of supporting vulnerable and at risk pregnant and parenting women in our community.  And if you haven’t already, please do like our FB page.

Visit Friends of Karinya today.

Karinya House is seeking more Friends 2018-01-22 13:00:00Z 0

ACTEWAGL is undergoing a rebadging process to EvoEnergy and a good sized consignment of their redundant work clothing is coming into the Club's RRR (Recover, Rehabilitate, Re-Use) project.  The Tuggeranong Rotary Club and Sri Lankan community are joining with Belconnen Rotary to enable the recovery of the goods, divert them from the waste stream, and give them a second life in other communities.

DiK/RRR Update 2018-01-17 13:00:00Z 0

A big thank you to everyone who supported the sales of the Rotary cakes and puddings for Christmas, everyone who purchased them and enjoyed eating them, and to members and non-members who came to keep me company for the many days at Cooleman Court while selling the products. Lots of people came back for more!

This year was the first year of Cooleman Court sales after Christmas and before the New year.  Some Cakes are still available and our Bulletin and website have details on where they can be purchased. 

I felt like a goose selling cakes after Christmas, considering that I had no expectations of whether I would sell any at all. Surprisingly, only one customer asked if they were discounted! Many people are getting to know the products and even said they missed me last year, and were glad they caught me this year. We also had the new Molonglo shoppers for the 2017 year as the Coomb’s shopping centre is not yet open.    

Most days flew by quickly as so many people come to have coffee with me, a chat, a look at my pictures of Singapore and Nepal, a hello and/or a wave, and more importantly, a comfort break occasionally. I thank Charlie, the young manager of Michel’s and Minas from Sakeena’s who looked after my nutritional requirements. I rescued a bank card from the floor one day and was able to facilitate its return to a very grateful owner who came back in the afternoon to thank me. 

The cloth puddings had sold by Christmas, and the 11 boxed puddings I still had over were sold by New Year. Two orders were placed for and there are only some 275 cakes remaining, but that gives me stock for the Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) meeting in February, and also the District Conference in March this year. However, the use-by-date of the new order is May 2019, so plenty of time to keep them – BUT who wants to keep them!  They are too nice to keep! 

The total provided for our RAWCS project following the sales of the two orders will be $2,734.80. There are still 275 cakes for sale. Overall, sales were up on 2016 and this can be attributed to more sale days, an earlier start before Christmas, a second order in December to have sufficient stocks up to and post-Christmas to sell, sale days post-Christmas, staying longer than the contract hours, being inside the Centre, more customers from the Molonglo suburbs, and most importantly, the increasing popularity of the products.   

The Rotary Club of Melton in Victoria coordinate the sale of the products and they donate the proceeds to The Rotary Foundation. The products are made near Melbourne with Australian ingredients. The cake tins promote  the six focuses of Rotary around the side. Our RAWCS project is registered under Maternal and Child Health and also Disease Prevention, one of the six areas of focus, and we are very close to having sufficient funds now for a second Rotary Global Grant from The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. This time, the Rotary Global Grant will be for the Hospital to purchase a C-Arm X-Ray machine for use in orthopaedic surgery. 

“Making a Difference” is this year’s theme for Rotary. One huge side benefit of selling the cakes over many days was the promotion of Rotary. Some parents provide coins to their children to donate  in order to teach them the concept of giving. The cake tins themselves explain and create a lot of interest in the six focuses of Rotary. One lady asked how she could become a Rotary volunteer!    

The exciting times selling Rotary cakes & puddings for the 2017 Christmas and New Year season  2018-01-17 13:00:00Z 0

DiK - Action and school uniforms project busy over the holiday period

The project finally got underway on 15 December with the recovery of a trailer load of bags containing Action uniforms, both new and used, which were taken to Storage King. These were then consolidated with the school uniforms already held into the one discreet storage area. On 16 December members of the Australian Tamil Association assisted with packing the school uniforms into cartons.  On 19-22 December at various times the "Fawke' team sorted and packed Action uniforms and as previously arranged transferred non suitable items to Koomarri for processing as rags. At 8pm on 22nd December a total of 25 cartons were collected and transferred for onwards dispatch via Sydney to Sri Lanka.  

This is an activity of RC Belconnen Rotary's community service team.


Belconnen Rotary's DiK team active over the Christmas break 2018-01-08 13:00:00Z 0

Bano Menten from Vanuatu arrived in Canberra on Thursday 2nd. He is staying with Katy and Tony. Bano met some of our members on Saturday night. Since his arrival, he has visited the National Museum and Aquarium, the Arboretum, Cotter Dam, Tidbindilla Deep Space Research Centre, the Reptile Park in Gold Creek, Questacon, National Gallery and the War Memorial. He is now at the National Teacher Summer School until Friday afternoon. He will be going home on Monday 15th. If members are interested in showing Bano a bit more of Canberra, contact Tony on 0411 394525 and something will be arranged.

  Been at Tidbinbilla    

Rotary helps Bano Menten from Vanuatu attend the National Science Teachers Summer School 2018-01-08 13:00:00Z 0

Val Bland is still selling Rotary traditional rum and brandy fruit cakes

They are also available at the following outlets: 

1.    Kaleen Family Practice: 4/37 Georgina Cres, KALEEN  ACT 2617. 

2.    Indian Affair Restaurant:  64 Colbee Ct, PHILLIP ACT 2606. Open evenings (except Sunday), plus Thursday 12md – 2pm.  

If further information is required, please call: 0419 461 712.

Thank you for supporting Rotary.

ROTARY Traditional Fruit Cakes  Leo 2017-11-14 13:00:00Z 0
The ABC reported

The head of a renal dialysis service in Central Australia has been named Australia's top nurse at a ceremony in Brisbane.

Chief executive of Western Desert Dialysis Sarah Brown was the only Northern Territory entrant in the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Awards.

She works at the Purple House, which provides dialysis services to remote patients in the NT and Western Australia.

"The services we provide mean that people can live in their remote communities and receive dialysis treatment on-country," Ms Brown told ABC Alice Springs local radio.

Western Desert Dialysis CEO Sarah Brown with her awardShe did not prepare an acceptance speech ahead of winning the title, saying being the centre of attention at a national awards ceremony was her worst nightmare.

"I don't drink, I don't like fuss, I don't wear makeup or dress in high-heel shoes, I can't dance," Ms Brown said.

"But to win this award and bring it back to the Territory is fantastic."

Ms Brown is a qualified nurse but is not a trained dialysis nurse, but said she still loved working with patients.

"I do spend quite a bit of time in Alice at the Purple House and get to use my assessment skills and pop a few boils and cut some toenails and pluck some chins and generally be a nursey type," she said.

"I guess the role of nursing is pretty broad these days, isn't it?"

PHOTO: Western Desert Dialysis CEO Sarah Brown (centre) has been named Australia's top nurse. (Supplied: Sarah Brown)

Sarah Brown named Australia's top Nurse 2017-05-10 14:00:00Z 0

Our guest speaker this week was Ms Aoifa Berenger from the ACT Gambling Counseling & Support Service.

Service (AGCSS) exists to provide support and raise awareness to address gambling harm.  Gambling harm is defined as “any kind of harm or distress arising from, caused or exacerbated by, a person’s gambling”.  AGCSS was established in 2011 and is managed by Relationships Australia in partnership with Care Inc. and funded by the ACT Problem Gambling Assistance Fund.  The are not a gambling regulator or anti-gambling.  The AGCSS philosophy is to provide a public health framework, harm minimisation, education and to reduce stigma.  Services are FREE and available to those who have concerns either about their own gambling or that of a family member or friend. 

There definite correlations between gambling and other societal problems areas.  There is a 58% correlation with substance abuse, 38% correlation with mood and abuse disorders, 52% correlation with family violence, 37% correlation with anxiety disorders, and an 80% correlation with suicidal ideation.

Australians spend over $18 billion per annum on all forms of gambling or $1500 per capita. This amount is considerably higher compared to other countries such as New Zealand ($495 per capita), Canada ($393 per capita) and USA ($325 per capita).  People who engage in harmful gambling lose an average of $21,000 a year (that’s a third of the average annual salary).  5-10 people are significantly impacted by one person’s gambling meaning that up to 5 million Australians could be affected by gambling harm each year (including friends, family, employers).  The estimated social cost of problem gambling is around $4.7 billion.  In the ACT 14,998 people (5.4%) report symptoms of experiencing harm associated with their gambling.   People experiencing gambling typically do not seek help until the consequences of their gambling are serious.

AGCSS services are available 24/7 to people who have concerns about their own gambling OR their families and friends

Relationships Australia Canberra & Region - www.racr.relationships.org.au / 02 6122 7100
Care Financial Counselling Service - www.carefcs.org / 02 62571788
1800 858 858 – (Gambling Helpline)
1800 007 007 - (Financial Counselling Helpline)
ACT Gambling Counseling & Support Service 2017-05-07 14:00:00Z 0

Cycling is about Fellowship/ Community/ Fitness.

"Cycling without Age" originated in Denmark and has caught on around the world.  Pedal Power have brought the franchise to Canberra and has two units at IRT in Belconnen.  The special trishaws are adapted from a standard Danish cargo bike and are electric assist types.  They carry two passengers on trips to the shopping malls, or around the lake or just for coffee.  

There are some 3000 pilots around the world and in Canberra the pilots are UC Occupational Therapy and Health students.  Each bike costs about $6K- $10K.

"Cycling without Age" 2017-03-31 13:00:00Z 0
SOAP AID 2017-01-02 13:00:00Z 0


Imagine you were homeless and lived on the street.  

What would be your priority for spending what little money you might have?

It certainly would not be on a laundromat.

Nick and Alex are two young Brisbane men who had the bright idea to put a washing machine in a van and do some loads of washing for the homeless.  And so Orange Sky Laundry was born.  There are now 11 vans operating around Australia fully staffed by volunteers. 

They are supported by a paid staff in Brisbane who look after all the normal corporate stuff.

But the most important part of each $110,000 van are the six orange folding chairs that are set out while the washing and drying is being done.

The two volunteers chat with their "friends on the street"  while the wash run is in progress and this is the true value of this exceptional grass roots social activity.

There are, of course, other measurable benefits by way of improvements in health and sanitation but it is in the outreach that the service is being truly effective.

$6    one wash and dry
$60  the cost of washes at one stop
$120 the cost of one day's washes
$600 one whole week of washes!
Orange Sky Laundry Leo 2016-11-11 13:00:00Z 0

Susan Healy gave us an address on Sharing Places which is an organisation that provides support for severely handicapped adults once they are too old to be cared for by special schools.

The care for these young adults falls back on their parents many of whom are over 70 and who have spent their entire lives caring for their children.  

Carmel (a member) knew of Susan's work and decided that her "new member's" project  would be to provide Sharing Places with two social ramps they needed to assist with wheelchair and other special access needs. Carmel presented Susan with a cheque for $1183 to purchase the new ramps.

Well done Carmel.  That's a great project.

Sharing Places 2016-11-06 13:00:00Z 0

Trash and Treasure - A Teenager's Perspective


As a teenage high school student enjoying the much needed holidays before my last term at high school, I did not want to spend my last day of the beloved break working at this Rotary thing my mother kept mentioning. I agreed after my mother told me it would be a new experience and went on about how lazy teenagers are. Which she really didn’t need to point out, us teenagers know we’re lazy, and  we’re proud. That Sunday began with my mom waking me up at the ungodly hour of 5:00 am, when the outside world through my window looked dark and desolate. I was in a dazed stupor as we drove there (late of course, because I fell asleep in the shower) and arrived there at 5:45 am. Many Rotarians were already there setting things up, putting up fences and banners and signs for traffic. They were doing this with no complaints and in the cold dark place that was early morning Canberra. I admired these people as I helped my own mother set up some road signs, wondering how they managed it during winter.


We kept working until the sun finally decided to poke out it’s sleepy head. I felt relief as the warm rays of sunshine hit, and the world was no longer an old black and white film. People had started to arrive when I had my back turned and were setting up stalls. A group of us stood around the once lonely looking yellow Rotary trailer-that was no longer lonely but still yellow. With the rising sun came people and energy. My eyes were finally open and the tiredness gone. As if in an instant Jamison Plaza car park had been turned into a busy marketplace. Colours of different fruit and fresh flower blossomed around, there were people dropping generous donations into the bucket up the front, and trading goods at the stalls. There were a range of different stalls, from vegetation, to tools, to books, to jewellery, to antiques-this place had it all.


Len Glare, Rotary Team Leader, soon sent me off with Peter Kain, another Rotary member, because he wanted me to learn about how Trash and Treasure works. We both went to collect stall money and to make sure everything was in order. As we went around collecting money, I noticed Peter talking to most of the people as if they were all his pals he’s hung out with for years. Then, I found out some of these people had been coming to Trash and Treasure for decades, many before I was born. By the time we were finished, I realized something important. Trash and Treasure wasn’t just a grocery shop like Coles, neither was it just a second hand shop like Salvos. It was a community of people and memories, with lots of hard work. It was like a little community, no, it is a lifestyle. When I left, (after buying a bunch of stuff, including the most amazing Harry Potter necklace, sold by a teenage girl). I came to see that Rotary really did have an impact on the community, even if many people never noticed. Trash and Treasure is more than just a string of shops, it’s a ritual for a family of people who come together to share new experiences and bond with each other.


Thank you Rotary Club of Belconnen for this wonderful experience, I am sure to come again.

Trash and Treasure by Sachia 2015-11-12 13:00:00Z 0

The Club has embarked of a program of change to enable it to grow over the next 5 years and to continue to effectively serve the Belconnen community.  We conducted a Visioning Day that was led by the District Visioning Facilitation Team and have now collated all our ideas and embarked on producing our Strategic Plan.  

This an exciting time for the Club and a big step in securing our future.  We'll let you know from time to time how we're going.  

Belconnen Rotary - towards 2020 2015-09-16 14:00:00Z 0

For many years,  Rotarians in District 9800 have supported a program known as Violence Free Families. VFF works to reduce family violence in all its forms


Originally founded by the Rotary Club of Brighton, Victoria, Violence Free Families is now an independent national registered charity. It works in Research, Development and Education: improving existing behaviour change programs for violent men, developing new ones and supporting childhood education programs. VFF is led by a Board of Rotarians, community representatives and professionals.


Recently, the popular singer Colleen Hewett  has become an ambassador for Violence Free Families.  She gave a sensational performance at the recent District 9800 Conference  Gala dinner (see photos attached). It was an undoubted highlight of my conference. We were privileged to hear her powerful new song, Shut Up and Let Me Breathe, which is about domestic violence. It was accompanied by a moving video clip of well-known personalities and children saying no to family violence.  Colleen’s tremendous  performance had such an impact on the Rotarians present that she has been invited to perform at the Rotary Zone 8 Institute in November.


Prime Minister Tony Abbott  is supporting Colleen’s efforts with regard to domestic violence and last week filmed a message which has been added to the video clip of her song.  He acknowledges the work of Rotary in the message. Yesterday the Melbourne Herald-Sun also promoted Colleen’s involvement with VFF and Abbott’s endorsement.


I am asking the Rotary Clubs in District 9800 to purchase copies of Colleen’s new CD "Black & White"  which features the song " Shut Up and Let Me Breathe". The cost per CD is only $20 and $5 from every sale will be donated to Violence Free Families


VFF itself has bought 300 copies as a gesture of support for Colleen but  we are suggesting that a manageable number for a club might be 10 or 20.  Clubs could on sell them or use them as gifts for club visitors. 


You can read more about Violence Free Families and order copies of the CD by clicking here http://www.violencefreefamilies.org.au/cdorder . To see  Colleen’s video clip  and the PM's endorsement follow the link https://youtu.be/1-JvSKS4MbQ .  (There is also a DG Murray endorsement available but that is too painful, at least for me, to watch!)

Violence Free Families 2015-05-23 14:00:00Z 0

Jean Madden, a teacher from Brisbane, regularly saw street people on her way to work and was aware that many of them suffered health problems.  She determined to do something about it and came up with the idea of a 'Street Swag' that was warm and portable.  Many problems presented themselves.  How heavy should it be?  How would she distribute them?  Her research came up with a lighter canvas and a 2m x 2m swag the best size.  Her mother sewed the prototypes but Jean also believes that she has a responsibility to provide work to Australians.  The swags could be made cheaper overseas but she now gets them made in indigenous communities and jails thus providing more benefits all round.  The cost of a Street Swag is $80 and our guest speaker, Ian McWaters, raises money to keep her work going.

To personalise the value of the Street Swags to homeless people Ian painted a graphic picture of the crushing effects of homelessness on an individual.  Homelessness is more often than not associated with other problems including marriage breakdowns, suicide, molestation, and official indifference.  Homeless people are not accepted socially and become invisible in the community.  They live in fear of assault and mistreatment and getting a job is a dream way out their reach.

The story Ian has to tell is compelling.  The swags are effective and cheap.  Distribution is easy - drop them off a ute where people sleep rough.  Most of us live quite privileged lives and $80 is about what we earn in two hours - even less for lots of people in Canberra.  Street Swags deserves our support.

Street Swags to Help Homeless People 2015-04-18 14:00:00Z 0

Members of the Belconnen Rotary Club were jointly responsible, with the Rotary Club of Weston Creek, for setting up the primary schools’ student mentoring program using Meccano sets as a tool to get students communicating.  The program is part of the School Volunteer Program in the ACT (SVP ACT) was initiated by, and has been coordinated and managed by Bob Greeney since its inception thirteen years ago.  It now operates under the auspices of SVP ACT Inc., in numerous schools. The program has approximately 60 volunteers, men and women, nine of the current volunteers are members of the Belconnen Rotary Club.

The objective of the program is to provide adult mentors for senior students in primary schools, who have difficulty communicating with adults or other students, and who need some help finding their confidence around adults and who would benefit from one-on-one mentoring. The Meccano sets are used as a tool to generate students’ interest in their activities and to help them learn to communicate with adults and with peers as they progress with their models. Each student gets to build at least one working Meccano model during the school term, and is asked to demonstrate their completed model to a school or class assembly, explaining the difficulties they encountered along the way, and the benefit the modeling activity brought to them.

Each participating school tries to find its own volunteers, but has some difficulty finding enough; the Rotary Club of Belconnen works with the Melba Men’s Shed, and the Belconnen Bowling Club and the North Belconnen Uniting Church to find suitable regular volunteers in the Belconnen area. This is an ongoing task; it is also a task that occasionally succeeds in finding new members for our Rotary club, due to the interest shown in this program.

The Meccano sets, now numbering close to 60, are distributed to each participating school through SVP ACT Inc. The original sets were purchased with an ACT government grant; additional sets have been bought through grants from the Belconnen and Weston Creek Rotary Clubs, and in one case through funds provided by the school’s Parent’s & Citizen’s Association.

It is estimated that in the thirteen years since the program started, at least 1000 students have been mentored through the Meccano program.

For further information, or information on joining the program as a volunteer, contact Bob Greeney at greeneyb@iimetro.com.au

The Meccano Project 2015-03-21 13:00:00Z 0