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Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation is Rotary’s own charity, supported by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision for a better world. The Foundation started out as an endowment on 1917 and was renamed Foundation in 1928.

Oxford Spires has been involved in many Foundation activities since our club was founded in 2003. We have been awarded grants for local and international projects, we have hosted Rotary scholars studying at Oxford University, we have raised funds for the End Polio Now campaign and we have supported Group Study Exchange and Vocational Training Teams. It’s all been great fun and a fantastic way for club members to see Rotary on a bigger scale.

District and Global Grants

Clubs are able to apply to our Rotary District for small grants for community and humanitarian projects, and to Rotary International for larger projects supported by the District. Oxford Spires has supported a few local clubs in their grant applications, and we have applied for a few in our own right.

Our current grant-funded project is with Aspire Oxford and the Nasio Trust. We have a grant, matched by club funds to help Aspire trainees run a fundraising campaign to enable them to go to Kenya in April or May 2015 as volunteers with the Nasio Trust. read about the project and the fundraising efforts.

In Lesley’s presidential year, July 2012 – June 2013, we were awarded a grant to buy a specialist chair and develop the gardens for Vale House, an Oxford nursing home for people with dementia. Read about the gardening activities.

We supported Wallingford, Sinodun and District Rotary Club (previously Sinodun) in their grant application for a project in Uganda to provide equipment for nurseries and schools.

We supported the Rotary Club of Haddenam & District in its work with a group of schools in Moshi, Tanzania. We contributed to the Haddenham project and then a District Grant was added to this. Two of our club’s members went to Nkwasangara Primary School in June 2009 and they helped with work to refurbish the school kitchen and to decorate some of the classrooms. Read more about the Tanzania projects.

One of our first club projects was in 2004 when club members planted a garden at Sobell House Hospice at the Churchill Hospital site using money from a district grant.

Rotary (previously Ambassadorial) Scholars

The Rotary Scholarship programme is one of the biggest scholarship programmes. Our District funds outgoing scholars most years and has sometimes funded an international student to come to our district to study. Our district also hosts international scholars each year, generally between 10 and 15 scholars, many of whom study at Oxford University. Each scholar has a host club and a host counsellor, and the club’s role is to support the scholar, help them settle into to live in our district and to get to know Rotary.

In 2010 Katy was responsible for organising the Link Weekend for the new scholars. This is the start of the scholars’ visit to the UK and was hosted by our District and was based in Oxford.

In 2011/12 Katy hosted a scholar from the USA. Rakhi Voria studied for a Master’s degree in Comparative Social Policy at the University of Oxford.

In 2013/14 we hosted Jonathan Millard, a graduate student at Linacre College, Oxford, doing African Studies. He was one of thirteen scholars for the academic year, 10 of whom were studying in Oxford. Jonathan gave his ‘official’ club presentation to us in November and since then Karen, his host counsellor has taken him to present at Elthorne-Hillingdon club and he will have other club speaking engagements during his year here. He joined our club members at the district conference and went on a few visits with the other scholars.

In 2014/15 and 2015/16 we are hosting Joana Clemens, a graduate student at Wolfson College, Oxford, studying for an MSc in International Development. Joana is funded by her home club and district in Germany.

We previously sponsored a graduate to undertake language training in Costa Rica. He also participated in local community projects during his 6 months training.

Group Study Exchange (GSE)

One of our club members, Karen, was chair of the district’s Group Study Exchange Committee from July 2012 to June 2013. In March 2012 clubs in the district hosted five visitors from Argentina. In 2012/13 the Exchange was be with District 9670 in Australia. The incoming group were in our district in February and March 2012 and the outgoing group visited Australia in March and April 2012.

One of our members, Jon Yeadon, travelled to Australia under this scheme, before he became a Rotarian.

The GSE scheme has now been superseded by Vocational Training Teams. These are teams of Rotarians and non-Rotarians who may be from a mix of professions or the same profession and who travel overseas to give or receive training. They are funded by a Rotary Foundation Global Grant and so the activity will fit under the heading of one or more of Foundation’s Six Areas of Focus. Read more about our District’s first Vocational Training Team on the District website.

End Polio Now

One of the campaign images for the End Polio Now initiative

Oxford Spires has given donations to the End Polio Now campaign. We also planted crocus bulbs in 2010/11 as part of the Focus on the Crocus initiative across Rotary in Britain and Ireland.

During the Rotary year 2011/12, the Rotary Tomato Sauce (End Polio Now) initiative was conceived. Rotarians make a donation of £1, in return for a special bottle of tomato ketchup. When the bottle was empty, it was cleaned and filled up with loose change. Over 50,000 bottles of tomato ketchup were sent around to all Rotary districts in the UK, thanks to the generosity of Wilkin & Sons in Tiptree, Essex, which partnered RIBI in this innovative fundraiser.