Community Service
Community Service encourages Rotarians to serve others by sharing their professional skills gained over many years with the wider community.
Our community services initiatives have proved popular with our members and usually include some lively fellowship.
Visiting local universities, schools, councils, and charitable organisations increase our knowledge and helps to build our network so that we can best assist and support people in our local community.
Provision of recreational equipment and activities and art supplies to Box Hill Hospital's mental health units (2021)
Rotary Hawthorn has recently completed a new project to supply recreational equipment for the inpatients of Box Hill Hospital’s mental health wards Upton House & 1East. This is an exciting extension or spin off of the care bags and clothing project.
Originally we were asked for exercise bikes and a treadmill to replace the existing equipment that was in poor condition. The project hit a few hurdles and the hospital’s OH & S department decided against a treadmill and the exercise bike needed to have no removable parts. Through a contact of one of our members, we were able to get a donated exercise bike altered to lock in the handle bars and seat to meet the requirements. We were also excited to provide a good quality sturdy new table tennis table with funding from a corporate sponsor who also funded a supply of basketballs and soccer balls.
As we progressed we were also asked for games, puzzles, arts and crafts supplies to give the inpatients activities to do which aids recovery prospects.
We did a call out to our members, promoted the cause on local community social media pages and through our many contacts we have been
supply Upton House and 1East with the following
-an exercise bike
-durable table tennis table-2 guitars
-2 piano accordions
-table top pool table
-lots & lots of puzzles and games
-tons of art supplies
-sensory items
-reading glasses
-basketballs and soccer balls
-herbal teas
-cosmetics and creams for sensory items
-new mother gift packs
Plus a brand new sturdy table tennis table and accessories which should last for many years.
The needs increased due to the addition of a Covid ward in MHU, including an adolescent ward.
A further spin off was the supply of a great quality pool table to Servants Romana House and an exercise bike to Hamer House (both donated). The donor of the pool table, a local resident, even paid for the transport, she was so happy that their much loved table was going to such a deserving place!
Due to the vast amount of donations this whole project was delivered for a nominal cost. We will continue to top up art supplies as needed.
Rotary clubs are all about fostering community spirit and making a difference. To put a smile on someone’s face when they may be feeling isolated, vulnerable or disadvantaged is immensely gratifying. Jo one of the Unit Managers told me that we truly making a difference, more than we could possibly hope to understand. We are People of Action!
This project works on so many levels, it engages with community, it engages members, it certainly makes a difference and it even has an environmental aspect, reusing articles that were unwanted.
Katrina Flinn
Project Lead
providing care Gift packs to the local community (Christmas 2020 & 2021)
When it became apparent that it was not going to be possible to stage a community lunch for 250 people, we began planning for an alternative way of reaching out to those who would have attended the lunch. 
Hawthorn’s involvement as part of the consortium of clubs providing care packs to the mental health patients at Alfred Hospital, and Hawthorn’s extension of that to include patients at Box Hill’s Upton House, gave rise to the idea of providing individual and family Christmas gift bags. 
Initial meetings were held with representatives of local support agencies St Vincent De Paul, Salvation Army, Camcare, Servants Housing and Boroondara Community Outreach. These were valuable in allowing us to refine the list of gift recipients and to coordinate arrangements for distribution. The list comprised names of people who had attended community Christmas lunches in recent years, and this included a significant number of people living in some kind of supported accommodation. The decision was taken that gift bags would be provided to all residents of the hostels operated by Servants Housing as well as some families and individuals supported by the Salvation Army. It was also decided to extend the distribution to some 40 families where there was a child, or children receiving a scholarship under the Education Chances program. From this it became apparent that we would be planning for upwards of 300 bags, including at least 50 larger family gift bags. 
A budget was prepared and a submission made for a District Local Grant from the District 9800 Rotary Foundation Grants program. Shortly afterwards we were delighted to be advised that a matching grant of up to $2400 had been approved. 
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the process of acquiring items for the gift bags, and the gift bags themselves, was busily underway. Thanks to the support of the other clubs in the Care packs project consortium, the majority of items were able to be obtained through donations. We are very grateful to a range of generous donors who provided significant quantities of new product, in particular Ego Pharmaceuticals who have generously sponsored us over recent years. 
One of our volunteer's homes became the storage and assembly point as gift items accumulated. Then, over two sessions, the bags were assembled , with larger bags for families and a different range of items for male and female recipients.  Thanks to the generosity of Mark Christoffelsz with printing, all bags included a printed note of Christmas wishes, and these were signed by the Hawthorn Rotarian delivering the bag. 
The gift bags were then delivered as follows: 
  • -  100 individual bags were taken by Rotarians to local hostels to be distributed by staff to the residents 
  • -  42 family gift bags were distributed to families where there was a child who is on an Education Chances scholarship 
  • -  8 family gift bags and 60 individual bags were distributed to people who were known to local Salvation Army personnel 
- The balance of 150 gift bags were personally delivered to households in the City of Boroondara, by some 30 Hawthorn Rotarians and partners who had volunteered to be part of the distribution team. 
We are enormously grateful to these volunteers for undertaking what was not an easy task., albeit very rewarding. Although efforts had been made to update the list as much as possible, inevitably there were instances where people were no longer at the listed address, or even the address no longer existing. While this caused some frustration, it also encouraged some creative responses with the gift bags being able to be given to another person thereby spreading the Christmas cheer! The experience has also enabled us to update our list allowing for a more efficient operation on a future occasion. 
In addition to this activity, Hawthorn Rotary is part of a consortium of clubs in a separate project providing care packs to mental health patients at Alfred Hospital. We have expanded this project to extend also to patients at Upton House, the Box Hill Hospital mental health unit, and in response to their request, 25 Christmas gift bags were provided to patients who were in the Unit over Christmas. These were personally delivered by Noel, Katrina and Denbigh on Christmas Day to the great delight of recipients. 
In summary this project involved more than half of the club’s members and brought great joy to many people throughout Boroondara. It reinforced the message of Rotary doing good in the community, building on years of providing a Christmas lunch but using an approach that was more appropriate in these times when large gatherings are not approved. Thanks to everyone who contributed and to Rotary Foundation for financial support. 
In 2021, we decided to repeat the project once again providing over 300 Christmas gift bags. We were able to source alot of donated product. Once again members & friends swung into action to source, pack and deliver the Christmas packs. A job well down and a wonderful project completed. 
Denbigh Richards 
Community Service Director
Providing Glucose Monitors to the remote region of the Kimberley, WA
Hawthorn Rotarians have for some time supported indigenous health programs in the Kimberley in association with the not-for-profit Boab Health Services based in Broome.
 In 2018 our members arranged for foot care packs and urgently needed podiatry equipment to be used at the front line in the remote communities in north western Australia.
From this we learnt of a chronic situation developing with regard to diabetes related conditions.
Following a successful club zoom meeting which saw the participation of the Federal Minister for Rural Health Mark Coulton and Robyn Powell of BOAB, we were able to highlight the need for a study to identify the true extent of the problem related to education and treatment of diabetes in the region.
Diabetes is identified as the second highest leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres strait Islanders living in W.A. 
Our commitment was to introduce measures designed to monitor those vulnerable and reduce the incidence of diabetes in these remote & isolated communities.
Picture: Health workers at the Boab Health Centre
Targeting those with diabetes through education will reduce the risk factors which in turn will consequently reduce the risk of developing or accelerating pre-existing conditions e.g. kidney, heart and cardiovascular diseases.
Hawthorn Rotary supported BOAB Health Services in implementing a targeted pilot prevention program of 100 cases which would see the affected population being trained in understanding self- managing of their condition wherever practical.
In working with BOAB Health Services, we would ensure such programs are equitable, culturally sensitive and wherever practicable, close to their immediate community locations.
A critical component to the success of this project is the introduction of Glucose monitoring: 
Through the efforts of President Tilak we were able to secure glucose monitoring patches for 200 patients thanks to a generous donation from Abbots Pharmaceuticals. 
Without their support this life changing program would not have proceeded. 
Our membership of Rotary has been able to bring people and resources together.
Picture captions - Hawthorn Rotarians Noel, Tilak and Denbigh
The best summary is from Robyn Powell of Boab Health Services who expressed her gratitude in the following:
Hi Noel, Tilak and others who were involved.
I would like to confirm that we have received the 200 sensors and would like to extend our gratitude to all who were involved in the long process to  advocate to make this wish come true for the Kimberley.
We are still in shock and have made some progress to work with the Abbott rep in Darwin to provide us with the meters, but still trying to work through the best way to utilize all the sensors with the short shelf life they have.
I would like the send a big thank you to you all for your dedication to support the Kimberley people and we are keen to record and share with you all the effects this will have on the health outcomes for those that now have access to CGMS.
The time that you all took out of your busy lives to get this over the line is astonishing!
Kind regards
Robyn Powell
Executive Manager - Allied Health
Alfred comfort care packs for patients in the mental health unit (new May 2020)
Rotary Hawthorn's Board has agreed to assist in providing care packs and clothing for people being admitted to the Alfred Hospital Mental Health Unit. The Unit has 50 or so patients at any one time and staff say people being admitted are highly anxious and frightened and many arrive with no physical possessions or care items. The Hospital is only able to provide basic hygiene necessities. 
In a project initiated by Bronwyn Stephens, Past District Governor and member of Rotary Club Melbourne South, we will work with that Club and others to provide a store of basic care packs that can be made available to each person on admission.  Additionally, as typically 40 % of people in the Unit are homeless, a store of new clothing will be established to assist as part of the project.
The project is a collaboration of Rotary Club of  Melbourne South (lead club), RC Albert Park, RC Port Melbourne, RC Malvern, RC Hawthorn and RC Glen Eira as a. The clubs have made various financial contributions towards the project and as a multi-club project and project has been approved for a matching grant from The Rotary Foundation ( District Grant).
Rotary Hawthorn’s inaugural fundraising lunch raised money for mental health as well as Rotary Hawthorn projects, so the funds committed as our contribution to this project are already available. 
This project sits really well with our Club’s focus on support for the disadvantaged and provides a great opportunity for us to work with other clubs in doing something that will be of real practical benefit. 
More on opportunities for our involvement as the project rolls on, but at this stage, to get the maximum impact with the available funds, assistance or suggestions in linking with potential donors/suppliers of the care pack items and clothing would be very welcome. 
For more information contact.
Denbigh Richards
Community Service Director
Or Katrina Flinn
Consortium Committee member representing Rotary Hawthorn
Christmas Lunch
Each year Rotary Hawthorn holds a Christmas Lunch for the socially disadvantaged at the Camberwell High School on the Sunday prior to Christmas.  This function requires our willing Rotarians to peel, chop, wash and cook the food, then serve roast turkey meals to around 250 of our community’s most disadvantaged or isolated people. After dessert, we then clean up!
The carols and musical presentations are superb, and gifts distributed by a beaming Santa are much appreciated by the guests.
This Christmas event is a key Club initiative and the one our members enjoy the most.  It is a truly festive and joyful afternoon. 
Salvo Hawks Football
This is a heart-warming community program, run in conjunction with Salvation Army, which brings together disadvantaged men and women to play Australian Rules football each week during winter. 
Our Rotary Club provided the new uniforms, which are worn so proudly by the players. Each home game our volunteers run the scoreboard, buy and serve the post-match pizzas and drinks, and meet and mingle with the group.
The players love it – they feel included, valued, and thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie, the shared meal, the stories, and laughter.  
We feel privileged to be a part of such a worthwhile program.
Public Speaking Programs
Rotary Club of Hawthorn has developed a strong partnership with Swinburne University, coordinating vocational visits to the University and Astrology departments, and attending various award events.
Our Public Speaking Programs, run over 3 years at Swinburne, has proved hugely successful in helping the students, mostly international, develop confidence and poise in their presentations. link  post/photo 
As a follow-up, several of the students have joined us on our monthly evening membership night held at the Auburn Hotel which has been a real bonus for these younger and newer members of our community.
We also have a developing relationship with the staff and pupils at Auburn High School, which has involved mentoring, simulated job interviews and a Public Speaking program and coaching, all highly appreciated by both teachers and students.
Servants Community Housing
Over the years Rotary Hawthorn has developed a strong relationship with Servants Community Housing.  We have collected clothes for the residents, donated books and music to their libraries, delivered food to their kitchens, eaten Saturday night dinner with them and joined them in their Christmas Carols and Award evenings.
We donated a large commercial freezer to Servants Community house at Carical, and food to stock it.  Pre-loved furniture has ended up there as have new heaters to ease the winter chills in the big draughty building. We donated two greenhouses to Romana for the residents’ cultivation and care of plants, some of them edible. 
Various projects have involved gardening, cleaning and painting the different properties. Most memorable was the Rotary Cluster project which involved the back-breaking removal of tiles from old bathrooms prior to the renovation of Romana, a new accommodation property in Kew. The end result was well worth the labour and Rotary Hawthorn was proud to be part of the combined Rotary effort.
Tree Planting  
In August Rotary Hawthorn participated in its second tree planting day of the year, this one at Fritzch Holzer Park.  This was a significant event, celebrating the 22 years anniversary of the completion of 1995-6 project coordinated by the club.  link post  More than 200 citizens accepted our invitation to plant shrubs and grasses throughout the park.  The weather wasn’t kind but the job was completed in record time.
Boroondara Council provided the BBQ food which was cooked to perfection by our Master Class team.
VIP guests included Hon Josh Frydenberg, Federal MP for Kooyong, John Pesutto, State Member for Hawthorn, Mayor Jim Parke and past Mayor Coral Ross.
Boab Project
Following a Skype meeting last year with the then CEO of Boab Health services Margie Ware, it was determined that their greatest unfunded need was for podiatry footcare packs.
Late last year, the Club had started an alternate meeting time of  once a month on Thursday evenings. It was decided that this project would be perfect for this group of people. Treatment of chronic footwear conditions does not currently have Government funding, and supports best practice in the management of foot wounds and ulcers with the aim of preventing unnecessary hospitalisation and loss of limbs. 
After liaising with Boab Health care to verify and determine needs, products were obtained from various suppliers, including a significant donation from Rotary Donations-in-Kind.
A fundraising event was held in the form of a Trivia night, attended by members, partners and friends, as well as prospective members, and on 26th April there was a presentation by Margie Ware to our members. This presentation was an important step to engage members in the project and to understand the challenges of the area. Following the presentation, the group worked together to pack the 40 podiatry kits, and we shared the final task of arranging transport to Broome at a subsidised rate.
Via a contact of one of our newest members, Coles agreed to add our boxes of footcare kits to their regular delivery to Broome for nil cost to the Club, with no other conditions other than we needed to deliver the packs to Coles Distribution centre in Melbourne and then collect them in Broome (arranged by Boab health). 
This was a great Rotary Community project because
  • it had a clear objective in fulfilling a health need in a remote indigenous area. 
  • the collaboration with Boab Health Services was critical. 
  • it was a manageable project t in terms of time required.
  • the project had a clear endpoint and the opportunity to repeat in future years. 
  • we were able to engage and involve members and prospective members in the Project.
 New Citizens Welcome Lunch
The Rotary Club of Hawthorn conducted its first Welcome Dinner on Sunday 16th September at the Auburn Bowls Club.
Our guests represented a wide range of communities and it was evident to the organisers that there was a genuinely welcoming atmosphere as we discovered new friends, new cuisines and new interests.
The event was very capably coordinated by our Rotary club which was well represented and the Join the Dots organisation who provided facilitators to ensure everything went smoothly.
From reports received our guests, some of whom had only been Australia for a short time, were delighted with the warmth of the welcome extended to them and their families. This was a small but significant step towards building positive relations across all our diverse community groups.
Special thanks to Katrina Flinn who initiated this event, President Ian Bentley, our local member John Persutto and the Hawthorn Rotarians who participated so enthusiastically.
We also acknowledge the generosity of the Auburn Bowls Club for providing the venue.
Every second year the Rotary Club of Kew coordinates their famous GardenDesignFest, featuring approximately 30 Open Gardens all around Victoria.  Peoples travel from interstate for the pleasure of viewing these superbly landscaped private gardens, many of them open for the first time.
As part of our fundraising drive Rotary Hawthorn supports the Kew club by supervising a number of gardens.