Cowley Road Carnival

Oxford Rotaract volunteer at Cowley Carnival

On the 1st of July 2018, members of the Oxford Rotary and Oxford Rotaract participated in the Cowley Road Carnival. It was one of the warmest days of the year so far, and we were out in full force with the hustle and bustle of the carnival. Oxford Spires Rotary Club had a small stall and was welcoming with fun activities such as splat the rat and balloon animal making by our expert. The balloon forming was especially popular with the children attending the carnival.

This event was our chance to support one of our local charities by fundraising for Oxfordshire Association for the Blind (OAB). The OAB is a life-enhancing charity founded in 1877 aiming to help people with sight loss lead independent lives. With the help of the community Oxford Spires Rotary Club and Oxford Rotaract managed to raise £101 with a bucket collection. By handing out leaflets and engaging with attendees we were also able to promote our local Rotary and Rotaract Clubs.

All together it was a fun and successful and we were able to enjoy the carnival atmosphere as well. Cowley Road Carnival is a local highlight of the summer, celebrating with food, music and people from different cultures all over the world.

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Championing Rotaract in the Thames Valley District

At the beginning of 2017, our President Emma was invited to speak at the Rotary District 1090 Conference held in Bournemouth, alongside current Rotaract District Chair, Rachel Gerrish. Here, she shares her thoughts about Rotaract and why everyone should be involved in their local group.

District 1090 Chair for Rotaract, Rachel Gerrish, and President of Oxford Rotaract, Emma Wilberforce.

For anyone who doesn’t know about Rotaract, it is an international organisation with many locally-based voluntary groups for young people to develop skills and make an impact on their local community. The age range is specified as 18-30 but ages in groups vary because those who join these groups tend to be the giving types, so want to stay involved even past the ‘cut off’, something which speaks volume for Rotaract.

Rotaract stems from Rotary International, who have championed the Purple 4 Polio campaign. You may have seen purple crocus beds decorating your local towns – this is all part of raising awareness for the campaign and a good example of Rotary’s work within the community.

At the end of March, I went down to Bournemouth to speak about the importance of Rotaract and these are some of the reasons why you should get involved in a Rotaract group near you, either by supporting it or joining it:

  • Being a member of Rotaract means you can develop skills for your personal and professional life, such as self-confidence, team leadership, event organisation and public speaking.
  • Rotaract is an evolving organisation and members can be involved in its ongoing shaping and development.
  • Members have opportunities to take part in worldwide initiatives like Rotary Youth Leaderships Awards (RYLA) or Rotary Youth Exchange.
  • Local Rotaract groups can choose a cause they are passionate about to support each year, which offers opportunities to develop relationships with local businesses, volunteer in the community, and create and organise fundraising events.
  • Groups offer the opportunity to build new friendships and make international connections, affording the chance to travel and be welcomed at Rotaract clubs across the globe.
  • People get involved in Rotaract and Rotary in their spare time, as volunteers, so it makes an excellent hobby outside of work and you meet a lot of like-minded people.

For more information on Rotaract, visit www.rotaract.org.uk