Updated: Sep 23
Why am I a member of Chesterfield Satellite Rotary Club? It’s so I can give a little back. For over 11 years I’ve created a living from local businesses and the community around me, being a member of Rotary gives me another way to support my local community and raise funds for some of the great causes I hear about through S40 Local – oh, and they run a classic car show, and I’m always up for that!
The group understands that I'll do what I can, and I won’t be able to attend every event and meeting. Like many others, I don’t have unlimited time and have other commitments – and that’s fine!
The Satellite Club was formed in 2016, as a way of attracting new members. Like many historical organisations times change and groups need to change with them. Members grow old, numbers drop and younger people don’t want to get involved.
The Chesterfield club decided to make a change, to attract a more youthful membership, a different way of operating to attract people that weren’t always retired and free to meet up. It’s been successful, today there are 20 members in the Satellite Club, the youngest being 23 and a fairly even split of women and men.
At my first meeting, held in Loundsley Green Community Centre, I was impressed by the funds the group had raised, presentations took place to Bluebell Wood, The Children’s Hospital charity and Helens Trust, £6000 given to thankful causes.
What struck me about the services the various charities provide was that I assumed their service was part of our National Health Service, but no, most of these charities exist to plug the gaps in statutory services. Air ambulance for example, is called out to major incidents across each county, but each county runs as a stand-alone charity, finding funds.
In the two years I’ve been attending club meetings the events we’ve covered include, the annual Classic Car Shows at Renishaw and Ashover, marshalling for the Chesterfield Half Marathon, helping marshal at the Scarcliffe Soapbox Derby, a Swishing event held early this year, two annual quizzes held at Loundsley Green Community Centre (great fun and always a sell-out), local school Art Exhibitions held at St Andrews Church on Newbold Road, inter school public speaking competitions, running a jumble sale at Ashgate Croft School, presently we’re saving 2 litre plastic bottles to make an Eco greenhouse for Walton & Holymoorside School and held the junior verse competition. This is just the stuff I can recall, every event is
about building the community or raising funds for local charities.
I have to admit to initially feeling a little out of my comfort zone. It takes me a while to feel comfortable as part of a new group, and to be able to feel that I can make a suitable contribution but everyone has different skills, experience, contacts and energy, and it’s the combined effort that enables the events to come together and the funds to be raised.
Due to COVID-19 the classic car show at Renishaw Hall was cancelled, this is the main fund-raiser for the club, so everyone was devastated. Not to be beaten though we developed an online event, entrants posting their classic vehicles on Instagram and making a small donation to do so, we also sought sponsors as usual. This saw £4000, donated to support Ashgate Hospicecare, Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice, The Elm Foundation and Weston Park Cancer Charity. An amazing achievement and demonstration of the club’s ability to adapt and commitment to supporting the charities.
Rotary was originally formed when a group of business owners got together to see how they could support each other and their community, each time they would meet at the next business owner’s location and thus the name was sorted. Today Rotary is a worldwide organisation with 2.3 million members, who all work to the moto of ‘Service Above Self and One Profits Most Who Serves Best’.
There is a minimal cost to being member, but it all goes into the funding pot, and the minimum level of involvement is to turn up to the monthly meetings (5:30 to 7pm) on the first Wednesday of the month at the Chesterfield Panthers Rugby Club.
There are social events, pub nights, BBQs, bowling, walks, axe throwing etc, but you’re not forced to go, and what I like about the club is you can contribute whatever skills you have. I do a bit of design work here and there, have towed the 1970s caravan around and am presently trying to figure out how we can get back to Rotary’s roots of supporting local businesses.
If, like me, you want to do your bit to support the local community, the Chesterfield Satellite Rotary club might be a good way to do it.
Paul Davies (T: 07753 605 272) deals with membership, so give him a call to arrange a visit to our next meeting.
Hopefully, I’ll see some of you there.
Words: Paul Chapman
Images: Rotary Chesterfield