Community Service Programs - today and tomorrow

        

We can all look with pride of achievement at our District and individual Clubs success in providing relevant community service programmes, both past and present.

All Rotarians know and understand that individual Clubs undertake Community Service programmes and activities to improve their respective Communities.

However our Communities are changing, as is the economic landscape in which they sit.

Our Communities are in the process of changing from a physical to a virtual community via technology. One outcome of this change is that there is an increasing level of social isolation and loneliness of the individual within their physical community, particularly among the older generation.

There is also:

  • a growing gap between top and bottom social elements
  • an increasing cultural diversity
  • growing insecurity and disconnection/disengagement between people and their community.

Forces impacting on change within our communities include the fact that in 1980 there were 7.5 workers funding each retiree, but by 2050 this ratio will fall to 2.7 workers per retiree.

Our ageing population is beginning to dominate the demographic landscape and consume a greater share of the economic resource base.

These and other factors, changing the economic landscape of Australia, will contribute to a declining Government revenue base and will see us drop out of the top 20 economies of the world by 2050.

Traditional support structures for community based programmes cannot be taken for granted.

In the future we will have to do more with less.

In view of this, is it time that Rotary began to review the changing nature of our communities, identifying emerging trends and future needs and develop a position that Rotary can adopt within its programs to meet these needs?

At what point should we as Rotarians become involved in the debate about the nature of our future community?

Should Rotary consider proposing a community program, similar to the Rotary Vision program currently offered to Clubs, to initiate community debate on the form and nature of the future community we desire and identify solutions and strategies to manage the consequences?

Rotary alone will not be able to meet the growth of emergent need and therefore will need to;

  • identify the areas it will support and strategies to achieve agreed outcomes to improve the quality of community life.
  • at a program level  become involved in social wellbeing as well as health well being
  • create sustaining relationships/partnerships with others to support Rotary’s mission
  • strengthen Rotary’s position as the best service organisation
  • attract new members and retain existing members in order to be able to be meaningfully involved.

What ever we as Rotarians decide, improving the quality of life and the vibrancy and relevance of our Communities needs to be the objective of future Rotary Community Programs.

H.G.Wheeler
Chair D9800 Community Service.

 


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