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Southampton East Rotary Club was established in 1950. It is part of Rotary International, the worlds first voluntary service organisation with more than 1.2m members in 33000 clubs worldwide. Club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training and to promote peace.

We are a non-profit making charity and every penny raised from the public is passed on to the charities and other good causes we support. A breakfast meeting is held on the second Tuesday of each month commencing at 7.30am. Otherwise our lunchtime meetings are held on Tuesday of each week (except the second Tuesday)  and commence at 1pm. All of our meetings are held at The Royal Southern Yacht Club Hamble Southampton. Click here for a map.

We always welcome new members, so if you want to find out more, send us an email by clicking here and we will be in touch.

OUR HISTORY

 

 In 1949-50, a group of men were invited to preliminary meetings to discuss the formation of a Rotary Club in Eastern Southampton, roughly the area between the rivers Itchen and Hamble. Eventually thirty prospective founders were assembled - many of them were returning servicemen. The name was settled as "The Rotary Club of Bitterne & Woolston", with Southampton Rotary Club as our mentor and guide.

The first President was Alfred Stott, the then manager of the Midland bank in Woolston and we were granted our Charter from Rotary International in 1950.  In those days, before our highly-developed welfare service, there was genuine hardship, and following the war, shortages of all sorts. Food and petrol were still rationed, and large areas of Woolston, having suffered heavy war-time bombing had not been rebuilt.

To help we distributed Christmas parcels of food to those in need, names having been obtained from local clergy and others. One Christmas Rotarians distributed 1,000 such parcels, to the value of 1 each - certainly a modest sum in these days but quite important when, for example, a typical wage was 8 per week - and that for a skilled craftsman.

In the run-up to Christmas each year, carol services were held - and collections made - in a number of the club areas, including in Woolston Botley, West End and Hamble.

Without doubt, the Club's most notable achievement was the setting up of a charitable non-profit making housing association in 1960, with a view to providing homes for elderly people. Each of the then 46 members paid 1 for one share. The 46 was used to buy a-do-it-yourself set of rules and a Management Committee was appointed.

There was never any fund-raising and no appeals to members of the club or the public. We like to think that the good name of Rotary and the confidence in the club members "was everything" and indeed, there was at times a clear conviction that the least of the problems was the obtaining of the funds with which to build.

Luck came with an offer from Winchester District Council of just over two acres of land in Netley on which [with funds borrowed over 60 years from the Government] we built Chamberlayne & Crichton Houses (named after prominent local families) and Ashburton House (named after the then Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Lord Ashburton). Other schemes followed with names such as Cunningham House and Churchill House. (Sir Winston's grandson came to formally open that development.)

Eventually with its growth, the link with the Rotary was reduced and the association eventually merged with Southampton Flower Fund Homes under the new name of Rosebrook Housing Association.

The telephone book shows the addresses of the schemes for which the Club was responsible - hundreds of flats worth many millions of pounds.
Other Rotary clubs were inspired to tackle their own schemes but not to the same extent as Bitterne & Woolston. The Club's achievements were recognised by a Significant Achievement Award from Rotary International in 1968.

Some years ago, the Club changed its name to "Southampton East" and continues with many ventures, schemes and fund-raising. In 2009 we held our first successful Swimathon event and this has been developed into a Sportathon in 2010. Every member of the club has derived personal satisfaction from the Club's efforts and been honoured to achieve the Rotary movement's aim of "Service above Self".

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