Rotary volunteer army to descend on district

Tania Lowery
Tania Lowery
Helping hands will abound in South Otago next April.

Current Rotary District 9980 governor Tania Lowery hails from Balclutha and, following gubernatorial tradition, will bring the service club's district conference of about 250 delegates to home turf during her tenure.

Mrs Lowery said she was planning a "hands-on" conference for the April 17-19 event.

"We're calling it `Get in gear, be part of the Rotary machine', the ... idea being we harness the amazing power of 250-plus volunteers ... to demonstrate community service in action."

The club had already made contact with South Otago community organisations keen to partner on projects on the conference's Saturday.

A "small and enthusiastic" group of partners had been established and more were welcomed, Mrs Lowery said.

"This is a potentially huge manpower resource for other local clubs and voluntary organisations to tap into on April 18, backed by $30,000 of funding we have available for practical project resources, so we want to hear from people."

Projects earmarked so far included work on school gardens, tree planting, trails and other community bees.

Mrs Lowery said the club was also seeking indoor projects to enable less mobile delegates to contribute their skills.

"We want to include everyone. We'd like to see Clutha alive with activity that weekend, with all the family getting involved."

Although the event aimed to avoid "sitting on bums", traditional conference elements were still included, and open to the public.

Keynote speaker was Seven Women founder Stephanie Woollard, who would talk about her organisation's work helping disabled Nepalese women into employment.

Mrs Lowery said her first three months as district governor had been "intense, but amazing".

"It's been great to see how much is going on in the district, and how much members care about adding community value through service.

"I hope the conference brings a sense of that spirit to Clutha."

Interested parties can learn more at www.9980conference.co.nz.

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