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Under the updated NSW Government "Pubs - Compliance and Restrictions" we will be unable to hold our weekly meetings at Club Sapphire, Merimbula.  
So for now it's back to ZOOM meetings.  We hope it won't be too long before we can gather at Club Sapphire again.  We look forward to welcoming prospective new members and visiting Rotarians to our meetings when we return to some 'normality'.  Until then, you are welcome to join us in our ZOOM meetings.  Please click on the Contact Us tab to obtain details of our next video conference get together.
Please keep checking this Webpage and our Facebook page for updates.
Fingers crossed, and providing current NSW Government legislation doesn’t change,
we are delighted to announce that we will be holding our Sunday Market on  
16 August 2020.
Our COVID-19 Safety Plans are in place ready for our August Market. There will be changes as to how we are allowed to operate the market and Stallholders are requested to click on our Monthly Market tab at the top of this page, to view the revised Terms and Conditions and our registered Rotary Club of Merimbula COVID-19 Safety Plan.
To keep us all safe, we request everyone make use of the hand sanitising dispensers at each of our wishing well entry stations and practise social distancing.  (Please do not come if you feel unwell, wait until our next market which will be held on Sunday 20 September). 
We are looking forward to saying hello to you all and returning to some normality.  Come along and have a chat with us “What can Rotary do for you?  What would you like Rotary to do?  We look forward to hearing your ideas, it doesn't have to be anything big.  See you at the Rotary tent! 
As always, your gold coin donation at the wishing wells would be greatly appreciated.  This month we will be collecting funds for Merimbula Marine Rescue NSW.
In the meantime, you can shop online with some of our Stallholders, please click on to view.
ABC Radio managed to link up with Sheila Harou, Chairperson of the Bushfire Appeal Committee and President of the Morobe Chapter of the PNG Australia Alumni Association and the Mayor of Bega Valley Shire Council, Sharon Tapscott, on a video call which they have put on Facebook -  
Listening to the call, is very touching.  Thank you ladies and to the wonderful, generous people of Lae.
Sheila Harou (3rd from left) and organisers of the bushfire appeal in a virtual meeting
"Australian community ravaged by bushfire shocked by PNG donation of more than $60,000".  In Papua New Guinea many people earn less than a dollar a day. But that didn't stop one community from donating tens of thousands of dollars to an Australian town badly affected by the Black Summer bushfires. 
Please click on to read this amazing story from the ABC News.
Bushfire recovery donation from Papua New Guinea
30 July 2020
Photograph: Youth of Lae City fundraising to help fight fire in Australia by Helen Taylor
Bega Valley Mayor, Sharon Tapscott has thanked the community of Lae City in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea for its generous $61,000 donation to the region and the Rotary Club of Merimbula for transferring $50,000 of the donation to the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund.
“We sincerely thank the Lae City community for their thoughtfulness and kindness, and will put these funds to good use,” Cr Tapscott said.
“There is an amazing story behind this donation, to which we are incredibly grateful; particularly so when you understand how little these people have themselves.”
The fundraising began with the Youth of Lae City, who pushed wheelbarrows around the streets, collecting bushfire relief donations for Australia.
A young woman from the Youth of Lae City explained that people realised they themselves benefited from Australian-built health centres and hospitals, so this was their turn to reciprocate ‘from the heart’.
An Australian resident of Lae, Helen Taylor, told the ABC this unique sight brought tears to her eyes. People with so little were handing over precious notes and coins in a show of solidarity for their Australian ‘cousins’. For context, she explained this is a country where the minimum wage is 3.5 kina (one Australian dollar) per hour.
With additional support of the Lae Rotary Club, the fundraising reached an amazing $61,000.
The President of the Rotary Club of Lae Huon Gulf wrote to District 9600, a group of clubs located in Queensland (with an association with the Rotary Clubs in the PNG, Solomon Islands and Nauru), looking for a bushfire recovery contact in the Eden-Monaro region.
They in turn wrote to Past District Governor of Rotary International, Phil Armstrong who was recently recognised for his leadership of the combined Districts' Bushfire Recovery Committee.
Former President of the Rotary Club of Merimbula, Andy Thorp, followed up that correspondence and was introduced to the Chairperson of the Bushfire Appeal Committee and President of the Morobe Chapter of the PNG Australia Alumni Association, Sheila Harou.
He explained how much of the Bega Valley had been destroyed by the summer bushfires and described the recovery work being carried out by the Rotary Club of Merimbula to help rebuild the Shire’s devastated communities.
Upon receipt of such a sizeable donation, the Club consulted Mayor Tapscott and Chair of the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast and Co-chair of the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, Mick Brosnan.
“We all felt the $50,000 would best support the Valley’s bushfire relief if it were reallocated to the Fund,” Mr Brosnan said.
“So with Ms Harou’s blessing, the funds were transferred and will be used to support our bushfire impacted communities.
“Our recent successful funding trial in Cobargo provided the basis for future fund allocation so we can provide households with the everyday items they are asking for, along with meeting general living expenses.”
The Rotary Club of Merimbula has used the balance of the donation to buy two trailers, which will initially be used by the BlazeAid camps in Bemboka and Towamba. When the camps close, the trailers will be repurposed for firefighting and provided to the Rural Fire Service.
The Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund is a perpetual fund, focusing on unmet needs and aims not to duplicate the provisions being met by other agencies and charities.
Jointly managed by Council and the Social Justice Advocates, the Fund also seeks to address everyday health and wellbeing issues to meet critical and acute needs like, but not limited to fuel, firewood, household appliances, clothing and more.
In July the Rotary Club of Merimbula received an unexpectedly generous donation from the community of Lae, capital of Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea to put towards bushfire recovery efforts in the region.  The bulk of the donation has been transferred to the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund where it is being used to help fund the latest round of bushfire recovery grants. 
On 23 July members of our club were at Kiah during construction of the pavilion when members of the BlazeAid Team based at Towamba visited.  BlazeAid is a volunteer organisation working to replace fencing lost in the recent bushfires.  In conversation they said that BlazeAid at Towamba were in need of a caged box trailer, similar to one at the Kiah site, to carry materials to their worksites.  An inquiry with the BlazeAid camp at Bemboka established a similar need.   
The balance of the donation from the community of Lae has funded the purchase of 2 dual axle galvanised box trailers, initially for use by the BlazeAid camps in Bemboka and Towamba.  The trailers were purchased and delivered to the camps 30 July. When the BlazeAid camps close the trailers will be returned and converted to firefighting trailers for use in the Shire. 
A huge thank you to the people of Lae.  Your donation is recognised in the signs attached to the rear of the trailers which should provide valuable service for years to come.  Thanks also to Glenn at Sapphire Trailers for your consideration and assistance with blue slips for registration.
The two trailers, registered and ready to go
Signs to recognise the generosity of the community of Lae – the flag of Morobe Province
Some of the members of the Kiah Pavilion project team at the finished site, from left:
Patricia Witton (Merimbula Rotarian), Sue Jellis (Merimbula Rotary President), Rickee Marshall (Council), Katrina Berenguer (Council) and Shane Osta (Merimbula Rotarian)
3 AUGUST 2020

Council thanks the Rotary Clubs of Merimbula, Pambula and Bega for their generosity with funds and hard labour, on the completion of the Kiah pavilion project.

“A round of applause for all involved and in particular, Merimbula Rotarians, Shane Osta and Andy Thorp, who spearheaded the project,” Mayor Sharon Tapscott said.

“These guys managed the construction of the pavilion, providing building expertise and hands-on labour to save money and ensure the building was completed as quickly as possible.

“The Kiah Pavilion is located near the tennis courts and RFS shed and offers the Kiah community a large undercover meeting space with an electric barbecue, a sink, seating area and landscaping.

“It means the Kiah community will once again be able to gather together for various social, sporting and educational activities, while the Kiah Hall is rebuilt.

“Rotary funded this project to the tune of $45,000, which included a large donation from the Rotary Club of Northbridge in Sydney.

“The project is an incredibly generous gesture and a real credit to Rotary … they just get in there and get things done.”

President of the Rotary Club of Merimbula, Sue Jellis said while Merimbula Rotary had been instrumental in construction of the pavilion, the project was a combined Merimbula, Pambula and Bega Rotary effort, in response to an approach from Council and the Kiah Community.

“We are so very pleased the pavilion will provide the Kiah community with a place to meet,” Ms Jellis said.

“Community service and friendship underpins the work of Rotary – we are people of action!”

The pavilion’s first event was Council’s Cuppa and Chat Session, which drew a number of bushfire affected residents who enjoyed the chance to catch up with friends and neighbours and tap into the various services and agencies on hand.

The official, COVIDSafe opening of the Kiah pavilion will be held on Saturday 8 August.

The three Rotary Clubs, Merimbula, Bega and Pambula are pleased to announce that their major project of building a Pavilion at Kiah is now finished with the completion of the landscaping.
Ray McGovern from Merimbula Sand and Gravel did a fantastic job of clearing the site, cutting, levelling and expertly spreading all the decorative stones and bark with his bobcat.  This certainly saved the members of Merimbula Rotary backbreaking work of doing this with just shovels.  It was then easy for them to just lightly rake the pathway stones and bark into place.  Thank you, Ray, for all your efforts, this left us Rotarians plenty of time to christen the electric BBQ and enjoy lunch cooked by Andy, Past President, sitting at the table and benches taking in the fabulous view.  We hope the community enjoy using these facilities, as much as we did, whilst their new Community Hall is built to replace the one destroyed by bushfire.
Katrina Berenguer and Rickee Marshall from BVSC came along to inspect the work and were delighted with the finished results.  The formal opening of the Pavilion is scheduled for Saturday 8 August.
Our thanks again go to the Rotary Club of Northbridge for contributing half of the costs towards this much needed facility and also to the Rotary Club of Wagga-Sunrise for their generous donation towards the landscaping.
Last but not least, we congratulate Shane for his marvellous contribution in his project management role and achieving such a grand result.  Great work undertaken by the crew on completion day - President Sue, Past President Andy, Shane, Peter L, Roger, John, Peter B, Tabitha, Martyn and Patricia and all the other Rotarians who helped on this project, well done!
A big thank you to owners of the Sorrento Apartments at Merimbula who donated televisions to the fire recovery effort. Sue Jellis, President of Merimbula Rotary collected the televisions and delivered them to Social Justice Advocates (SJA) for distribution as required. Mick Brosnan from SJA noted that families moving into caravans and sheds appreciated having access to a television set.
Thank you, Andy, for allowing us to share your insights into what being a Rotarian President entails and for all your hard work in keeping us all together as a team during these turbulent times. 
My year as President of the Rotary Club of Merimbula 
Rotary Club Board positions are timed around the financial year 1 July to 30 June.  The President is generally determined 18 months ahead of their term and serves on the board as President Elect for 12 months.  So sometime in late 2017, I was confirmed as President Elect for 2018/19
and President for 2019/20.
Whilst away on a road trip with my wife, early March 2019, I received news that Janet Maughan, our Club’s President for 2018/19, had passed away.  We returned, so I could help our club, in this time of grief.
Shortly after returning, a friend in Tura Beach attended a medical emergency at a neighbour’s home which may have had a better outcome if a defibrillator had been available.  I undertook to see whether our club could help make some defibrillators publicly accessible.  Two were purchased and one is now available outside Woolworths, Tura Beach and one outside McDonald’s, Merimbula.  
We celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Club at our changeover dinner in June 2019.  As incoming President, my aims were to:
  • get our club better connected to the local community – schools/business/other service organisations/council – and focus more on service;
  • remain open minded and take advantage of opportunities that presented; and
  • ensure, as best I could, members felt they were contributing to the activities of the club in a worthwhile and valued way (so making a difference).
These are some of the projects we have undertaken during 2019 - 2020 to help our community.  Please click on the tab "Club Projects" for more details.
Sue gave a terrific radio interview with Colin Dunn on Sapphire FM – listen to the podcast to hear what she has to say about the projects the three Sapphire Rotary Clubs have been involved with, some receiving funding from Rotary Australia World Community Service Ltd. (RAWCS) and from other Rotary Clubs in Australia and Worldwide.   Working together with the Rotary Clubs of Bega and Pambula has been beneficial for the community and established good relationships.  This year the 3 Clubs all have women presidents, which must be a first!
Sue’s ending message is “What can Rotary do for you?  What would you like Rotary to do -  possibly build some more seats at Short Point?  It doesn’t have to be anything big.  We would encourage the community to contact Rotary Merimbula and let us have your ideas”  Come along and have a chat with us at our forthcoming market – Sunday 16 August.  See you at the Rotary tent!
The Rotary Clubs of Merimbula, Bega and Pambula were the winners of the District 9710 Community Service Award in recognition of their bushfire relief and recovery projects to impacted families and communities on the Sapphire Coast. This was presented at the District 9710 Changeover on 1 July 2020. 
From 1 July 2020 District 9710 became part of a much larger Rotary District (about the size of England) and our 3 Clubs now form part of the new District 9705 which comprises 83 clubs and 2,300 members.
Rotary Merimbula have once again “gone the distance” to transport a caravan, (liferaft), for a bushfire affected family. The round trip on this one was two days and about 880 kms. Rotarian, Shane, whilst waiting for the slab at the Kiah Pavilion to cure, volunteered to undertake the pickup.  He said, “it was a little bit windy on the return trip, however the old girl sat well behind the ute”.
Let’s hope that the recipients of the liferaft are only in it for a short time and that their new home will be built soon.

In amongst bushfires and COVID, the drought continues to impact our farmers. The Rotary Clubs of Merimbula, Bega and Pambula have been working with our national contacts to organise fodder deliveries to 19 primary cattle producers across the Bega Valley.... at no cost to the property owners. The first deliveries have started to arrive and are expected to take up to 4-5 weeks. How fantastic is that... woo hoo!!
We are the only developed country with Trachoma, a disease that can be prevented with good hygiene practices. 
This project seeks to work with Aboriginal communities and health care agencies to eliminate Trachoma (an eye disease) especially by the Rotary Centenary in Australia.
The Rotary Club of Merimbula would like to help support this project which is being promoted by Rotary District 9700. 
The Film "Homeland Story" will provide viewers with an inside appreciation of the lifestyles of Rural Aboriginal communities and the role Rotary is playing.   As Zoom has become a part of many lives in the last few months, we hope you might take the opportunity to join us in watching one of these special screenings.  By purchasing a ticket from Trybooking at $10 per screening to watch the on-line film, you can help rid communities of this dreadful disease.
Bega, Merimbula and Pambula Rotary Clubs are working together to help Bega Valley Shire communities recover from the recent devastating bushfires.  The clubs are collaborating to provide assistance to people and/or businesses in the Bega Valley Shire adversely impacted by the bushfires.
Donations will only be used for Bushfire Relief / Recovery purposes in the Bega Valley Shire as determined by the three Sapphire Coast Rotary Clubs.
If you or your family and friends would like to make a donation, the link to donate is shown below.  Donations are tax deductible.
Rotary Australia Benevolent Society (Managed by RAWCS) has Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) registration and has been listed as a Charitable Fund so we can accept tax deductible donations from individuals or organisations.
                                    Thank you for your support