The name Rotary conveys to many people a sense of mystery and it is surprising that what Rotary actually does remains unknown in many quarters. This article is to set that straight as best I can.


But first, a little bit of history. The first Rotary Club was formed by Paul P. Harris in Chicago in 1905. In August 1912, the Rotary Club of London received its Charter. By 1925 Rotary had grown to 200 clubs with 20,000 members. Rotary now has more than 1.2 million members in over 32,000 clubs among 200 countries.


The key element underpinning all of this is the desire to provide humanitarian services and help build goodwill across the world. It is a secular, non-partisan, non-sectarian organisation open to all business and professional persons over 18. 


What does Rotary actually do? The most notable current global project is the contribution to the global eradication of polio. Since 1985 Rotarians have contributed over 850 million dollars leading to the inoculation of more than two billion children.  Now a partner in the Global Eradication Initiative, Rotary is recognised by the UN as the key private partner in this effort to eradicate polio.  In 2008 Rotary received a 100 million dollar challenge grant from Bill Gates, committing Rotary to raise the same. This was followed by a second grant of 255 million dollars in 2009 and by June 2012 the sum total was even larger.


There are many more activities where Rotary makes a difference, such as our support for the valuable work overseas of Shelterbox.  Rotary is a very proactive world organisation with many facets, which has a positive message for humanity and which also does a great deal of good throughout the world.


In Congleton itself our support mainly goes to local youth and community groups.  How do you get involved? The best thing to do is to contact us and enquire about membership.  Many members join without knowing anyone in the Club but soon become an integral part of the team where you can make friends for life.