About Rotary

What is Rotary?

Rotary is a worldwide network of inspired men and women who translate their passions into relevant social causes, to change lives in communities. 

Made up of over 1.2 million Rotary members – known as Rotarians – in 34,000 Rotary clubs in 200 countries and geographical areas around the world, Rotary International forms a global network of business, professional and community leaders who volunteer their time and talents to serve communities locally and around the world – and form strong, lasting friendships in the process.

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Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland (RIBI)

Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI), as the name suggests, is the association of Rotary clubs within England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland, comprising 53,000 members – men and women of all ages and backgrounds – in 1,850 clubs.
Rotary clubs are based within local communities, with their members meeting on a regular basis to enjoy friendship, networking, and to plan projects that will benefit the lives of others.
Rotary clubs depend on the skills, expertise and dedication of their members, who work hard to change the lives of people in communities both at home and abroad.

A Brief History

Rotary is more than 105 years old. Since its humble beginnings in Chicago when four friends met, effectively forming the first Rotary club, it has grown into an international phenomenon with more than 1.2 million members across 200 countries.

Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) was formed in 1914 when the first club moved across the Atlantic. By 1921 the organisation was represented on every continent, and the name Rotary International was adopted in1922.

The Rotary community continues to respond to the needs of an ever changing world, all the while retaining its strong founding principles of friendship and philanthropy.

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We’re for Communities

Rotary is at the heart of every community. In just about every town and city, there is a Rotary club, and its members are passionate about the community in which they live and work.

Members of Rotary are community champions. They stand up for what is right and positive within their local community – and in communities overseas; they support those who need help; they strive to improve lives; they fight injustice and challenge wrongs within society. They bring about positive change in their neighbourhoods by fostering and building strong communities.

Every event, initiative or project we run is rooted in the notion of ‘Community’. Because we believe that society works better when we work together.

Our Mission

children using lifestraw to drink waterRotary’s mission is simply to serve others; to give something back; to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace by utilising the skills, talents and energy of our members collectively.

  • We want to bring about positive change in our neighbourhoods by fostering and building strong communities.
  • We want to provide opportunities that will improve lives.
  • We want to help eradicate poverty, hunger and preventable disease across the world.

Our motto, Service Above Self, exemplifies the humanitarian spirit of Rotary members worldwide – to serve the community and put its needs before the member’s own. Around the world, our main focuses are:

  • Economic and community development
  • Peace and conflict prevention/resolution
  • Disease prevention and treatment
  • Water and sanitation
  • Maternal and child health
  • Basic education and literacy

Rotary and the Environment

Rotary is making a real difference in addressing many humanitarian problems, such as disease prevention, conflict resolution and disaster aid. Our Polio Plus, Peace Scholarships, Aquabox and Shelterbox programmes are just a few examples of which we can be justly proud.

However Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland has realised that the effectiveness of Rotary’s humanitarian programmes will be compromised in the longer term, unless we act now to limit the disastrous effects of climate change upon our environment. For example, the emerging threat to the most vulnerable and underprivileged members of society is the rapid degradation of their environment due to the rising global temperatures.

So Rotary is urging everyone to build awareness amongst Rotarians and the public generally. Suggestions to this end are:

Saving energy in your home Reducing household waste
Reducing CO2 Emissions Saving Water
Reducing chemicals Shopping ethically

Caring for your Community with tree planting, protecting wildlife and supporting local schools environment projects.

More information and ideas can be found on the RIBI website – Environment section.

Xmas partyWe have fun

The men and women who belong to Rotary clubs have a lot of fun! Every club arranges parties and activities with no other goal than to celebrate and socialize. Members have the chance to forge new friendships with like minded people who share common goals, not just in their local area, but across the world.

When you join Rotary, you become a member of a vast international family of 1.2 million members worldwide. You will be welcome – even encouraged – to attend any of the 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical regions.

This bond creates an instant sense of belonging, wherever you are in the world. Many a member in need of a local doctor, lawyer, hotel, dentist, or other expertise while travelling has found assistance through Rotary.

Rotarian Fellowships

As well as enjoying the friendship that comes from being a member, Rotarians can join a host of specialist worldwide Rotarian Fellowships. These offer Rotarians the opportunity to make friends with others in Rotary who share a common vocation, hobby, or recreational interest. The following is a list of the ever increasing list of Fellowships available for members of RIBI to join:


Amateur Radio Caravanning Computer Users
Cricketing Curling Cycling
Doctors Flying Golfing
History Motorcycling Musicians
Retro Automobile Scouting Skiing
Stamps Travel and Hosting Yachting

There is a full list of Rotary Fellowships that are available to all Rotarians available on the RIBI website.