Service clubs spring into action

Taieri Altrusa Club members (from left) president Jill Dodd, Claire Paterson, Margaret Munro and...
Taieri Altrusa Club members (from left) president Jill Dodd, Claire Paterson, Margaret Munro and secretary Clare Banks were excited to present a colourful collection of books to Mosgiel Kindergarten. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
In an occasional series, The Star is investigating the state of clubs in Dunedin. This week, chief reporter Brenda Harwood talks with some of the city’s service clubs about how 2020 is going for them.

Dunedin’s service clubs have bounced back in to action — energised by spring and the country’s emergence from Covid-19 restrictions.

Despite being as active as possible during Alert Levels 4 and 3 , including helping to deliver meals and groceries to the city’s elderly and vulnerable people, service clubs are relishing being out and about interacting with the public.

Rotary Dunedin immediate past president Prof John Drummond said the club had donated $10,000 to city food banks during lockdown, as well as giving practical support.

"Rotary is a resilient group — as soon as we were able to, we were out there making things happen," Prof Drummond said.

Along with practical activities — such as planting native trees at Smaill’s Beach, installing a bike-repair station at the West Harbour cycleway-walkway, and helping out at Orokonui Ecosanctuary — the club has launched into fundraising activities.

"It is important that we get money into the bank, so that when people apply to us for money, we are able to respond," he said.

Membership of Rotary Dunedin, which will turn 100 in 2023, had declined slightly — a common occurrence for service clubs in today’s busy world, Prof Drummond said.

The club was tackling this issue with innovation — such as the establishment of a Dunedin-based E-Club, which had members all over the world — and a membership drive planned for next month.

"As an international organisation, Rotary has changed and adapted along with society — we now have a significant proportion of women members and young people," he said.

Dunedin Host Lions Club president David Phillips said the club was in good heart, with members working in the community after an enforced hiatus due to Covid-19.

The club held a garage sale at the weekend, raising funds for charity, and members will soon take part in the Child Ability Walk, as part of a national fundraiser to support children with disabilities.

Mr Phillips said Dunedin Host Lions Club was in its 60th year and was the oldest of Dunedin’s six clubs, with a steady membership of 26.

"Everyone is keen to be active and out there getting things done," he said.

Taieri Altrusa Club committee member Claire Paterson said the women’s service group was "in great heart" with several new members.

"We have a delightful group of very active ladies working together for the benefit of the community," Mrs Paterson said.

Membership had increased, with about 25 diverse women involved in a range of service projects.

Taieri Altrusa has a focus on supporting literacy and uses fundraising activities to provide books and literacy aids for local primary and preschools, along with many other charitable donations.

The group is a firm supporter of Days for Girls, an international project to provide period support for girls and women, so they can continue with education and work.

Mosgiel Rotary Club secretary Margie Murray said the club had recently been able to hold its annual book sale, raising $20,000 for local charities and organisations.

"We were delighted to be able to hold the book sale — it was great to be out there in the community," Mrs Murray said.

The club had now launched into its summer programme, which involved members tackling small-scale projects, such as tidying around the Mosgiel sign, selling firewood, planting natives, and looking after planter boxes in Mosgiel.

"We have a real variety of projects on the go at the moment."

Club membership remained steady, with new members always welcome to join, she said.

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