Presidents Objectives 2020/21

The President's Objectives for the Year

At the Club Assembly on the 29th June, our President, Miles Middleton, outlined the following.

My initial objective will be to ensure that the Club continues to perform in a manner that keeps the members happy and which ensures that they continue to enjoy their membership. This will be achieved  by the continuation of  the fortnightly meetings, some involving a speaker, some just ‘fun’ sessions. Because of the manner in which we are now forced to meet, speakers can be drawn from anywhere in the world and it is my intention to ensure that if at all possible we have speakers of interest and who would not have been available to under our traditional way of meeting. However it must be borne in mind that not all members are attending our ‘virtual’ meetings and I need to find out why. Under the present circumstances it is more important than ever that no one feels excluded. Subject to that, my first objective is to keep the Club running in as normal a manner as possible.

My second objective is to ensure that when we come out of this lock-down experience, we are all firmly concentrating on the future. When I was first approached to become President, I thought there might be a few areas that I might like to tweak in order to enhance the operation of the Club. Then two things happened, COVID-19 and my projection into the Presidency a year earlier than expected. These two events have changed totally my expectations. COVID-19 has had a fundamental change on our society and how it conducts itself. In particular the business community has developed new ways of working that do not require face to face meetings and these changes are likely to be permanent. If business is changing its approach, then the Rotary movement will also have to change. This was made abundantly clear to me by my attendance at some of the Rotary International Convention meetings on line, in particular the break out sessions on the 22 and 23 June entitled  “Using Virtual tools to engage members” and “Grow Rotary through new club types”. I was impressed by these presentations, and I recommend them to you. As a result I am therefore now of the opinion that far from a few tweaks, we now need to consider, together, a radical new approach as the future of the Club and how we intend to run it. For example, we now know it is not essential for speakers to be physically present at Hexham for us to listen to them. We also know that it is not necessary for members to be physically present in order to join in to our meetings. These are just a couple of my thoughts on possible changes to the way we run our Club.

There is one thing of which I am quite certain. Those Clubs that change their ways, seek to be attractive to a wider audience and which tailor their approach to the expectations, wishes and requirements of future, younger members, will not just survive – they will thrive. I want and indeed I expect Hexham Rotary Club to thrive. So, my second objective is that by the end of my term of office we have agreed on a plan for the long term growth and development of Hexham Rotary Club. There are other matters which will form part of my year. We will of course look to fund raising activities although these may be made more difficult by lock-down considerations. As far as fund raising is concerned, Hexham Rotary Club has a deserved excellent reputation, but I would like to take a look at that other part of Rotary, namely service to the community. In particular I would like us to consider whether we could do more by way of service to the community of Hexham.

I would also like to increase our profile both within the community and more widely. This too needs careful thought out with possible external advice and help. There have been a number of on-line training sessions about how to use Facebook to achieve those ends and we must learn from them. And finally I would like to seek ways of working more closely with Tyndale Rotary club and Hadrian’s Wall Rotary club. We are already inviting Tynedale to our meetings and we need to explore further ways of working together. It is my understanding that all three clubs are working with Queen Elizabeth High School but independently of each other. This has to be ridiculous. Surely we should all work together?

These then are my thoughts for my year of office. It may be that what I am proposing fills some of you with horror but, hopefully, a majority of you will think that what I have suggested provides a sustainable way forward and will give you a sense of optimism for the future. However, rest assured, you will be consulted and your thoughts and idea sought throughout the process. It is your club, not mine.  We shall not of course be doing this alone and I am confident that there will be plenty of support from Rotary International. However at the end of the day it is you who will have to decide what is best for the Club. But, make no mistake, what ever you decide will have long term implications for the future of Hexham Rotary Club.