'The more members we have the more people we can help'

ROTARY clubs across North Somerset are desperate to attract younger members to keep the groups going. The average age of members at the Nailsea and Backwell and Portishead Rotary clubs is around 65 but the groups say they need younger people to get involv

ROTARY clubs across North Somerset are desperate to attract younger members to keep the groups going.The average age of members at the Nailsea and Backwell and Portishead Rotary clubs is around 65 but the groups say they need younger people to get involved to bring in new ideas and energy to drive the charity forward.The clubs are also looking for more female members.Portishead Rotary Club chairman, Derek Waters, said: "Rotary has a great reputation and people give generously to us because they trust us. But we now find our clubs are aging. The average age of members is getting worryingly high and we need to attract younger members."We are worried Rotary clubs will shrink and decline if younger people don't come along. We need new ideas, new energy and the more members we have the more people we can help."Rotary is an international charity with more than 1.2million members operating in 168 countries across the world.The groups help members of their community by supporting events, dishing out grants and raising funds for charities.It also runs a number of events for school pupils including Youth Speaks (pictured left), Young Musician of the Year and Young Chef of the Year.The 32-strong Portishead Rotary Club supports the carnival and runs a swimathon in March and a fun run in September to raise money for charity.Nailsea and Backwell Rotary Club, which has 41 members, puts on golf weekends in the summer and a charity walk in April to raise funds.Each club has one or two causes it donates to every year and the two groups raise around £15,000-£20,000 for their chosen charities every year. Individuals can also write to clubs to ask for grants.But members say that even though the charity does a great deal to help others, they get a lot out of it too.Nailsea and Backwell Rotary Club chairman, Geoffrey Irons said: "Rotary gives an awful lot to its members as well. Working on a project together and raising money is rewarding. And we also do a lot socially, it's like a big family."Members hold weekly meetings as well as regular social events and trips.Anyone interested in finding out more about the group can call Derek on 01275 374848 or Geoffrey on 463308.Portishead Rotary Club meets on Tuesdays at 7.30pm in Clarence House, in High Street, and Nailsea and Backwell Rotary Club meets on Thursdays at the same time in The Mizzymead Centre, Mizzymead Rise, in Nailsea.


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