The world’s first service club was the Rotary Club of Chicago, Illinois, USA.The club was formed on 23 February 1905 by lawyer Paul P. Harris and three friends – Harris wished to recapture the friendly spirit he had felt in the small town where he had grown up.

The name “Rotary” was derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among members’ offices.

The mission of  Rotary International (RI), a world wide association of Rotary clubs, is to provide service to others, promote high ethical standards, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.

The International Headquarters are at Evanston (a suburb of Chicago) in Illinois, USA, where there is a full time staff of about 650 who are led by the General Secretary.

Today there are some 1.2m members in RI in 530 Districts found in over 32000 clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas worldwide.  Rotarians can find a club in most places they may visit around the world and when visiting can be assured of a warm welcome.

As with the clubs and Districts, the RI President is elected to serve for one year from 1st July.  He is supported by a Board of 19 Directors from around the world (also elected by the membership) which meets quarterly to establish policies.

There are some 58,000 Rotarians in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) in 1,845 clubs.

RIBI comprises the 29 Districts within the whole of Great Britain and Ireland (North and South).  The headquarters of RIBI are at Alcester where there is a small paid staff supporting the activities of Rotary within these islands.

The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;

High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;

The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business and community life;

The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

What we do…

By combining their skills and resources, members of Rotary are able to make a real contribution to the lives of others.

In local communities alone, each club raises tens of thousands of pounds for community projects and local charities, often more. Members also volunteer their time – supervising community events, running a host of projects aimed at promoting the achievements of young people, coordinating educational programmes, and supporting local businesses.

Because Rotary is found in 168 countries and regions worldwide, we are in the unique position of being able to reach people in need all over the planet, from running life-changing projects in developing countries to making an immediate response to disaster-hit regions.

In addition, Rotary also has its own charity – The Rotary Foundation – which funds the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty throughout the world.

What is Rotary?

Rotary members are enthusiastic and active volunteers who give their time and talents to serve communities both at home and overseas. These are dedicated people, men and women from business and professions, who share a common interest in helping others.

Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) has over 55,000 members in 1,840 clubs. It is an integral part of Rotary International, the world’s first service organisation.

Each member enjoys business as well as social networking opportunities, whilst giving something back to those less fortunate, learning new skills and having a huge amount of fun!

Rotary runs countless humanitarian projects both locally, nationally and internationally, and also partners with many charities worldwide. To find out more, click here

Members organise community projects that address many of today’s most critical issues, such as violence, drug abuse, health, hunger, the environment, and illiteracy. Rotary clubs determine service projects based on local needs.

They work for and with young people to address challenges facing the youth of today. Interact and Rotaract are also part of the Rotary family, with a similar club structure specifically for young people aged 14-18 and 18-30 respectively.

Members are enthusiastically committed to the drive to wipe out polio from the world. Since Rotary became involved in polio eradication in 1985, the number of reported polio cases has fallen from 350,000 a year to 1,000; 125 endemic countries have been reduced to just 4 – Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan; and two billion children have been protected from the disease.

The motto of Rotary International is; ” Service above self