News from the Rotary Club of Canterbury

Here’s an assortment of recent news from the Rotary Club of Canterbury.


LEAF1 win the F1 in Schools Nationals

First off, the Club has some great news to share. The F1 in Schools team that it has helped support, Team LEAF1, won the National Championships held in Rotherham in March.

The team from Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys (Atticus, Zac, Jaime, Sean, Piers, Cole and Arthur) are now gearing up for the World Championships later in the year – date and venue to be announced. (If you know of anyone that would be keen to help sponsor the team, please contact the team via email: [email protected])


Homelessness in Kent

Helen Langworthy, one of the patrons of Porchlight, Kent’s leading homelessness charity, shared some shocking facts and figures when she gave a recent talk to the Club. For example, while the life expectancy for an average person has risen to 81 years over the last 50 years, a 2022 report states it’s only in the mid-40s for homeless individuals. Helen also touched on the many factors that can lead to homelessness – including a relationship breakdown, loss of a job, or health issues. Helen spoke with enthusiasm about volunteering at Porchlight Open Door hubs (PODs) – somewhere that anyone aged 18+ can go to enjoy a meal, socialise and get advice. (Money from the Club’s “Sailor Ted” fundraiser will go towards the charity this Presidential year.)


Helping overseas

World news lately has been full of conflict and natural disasters, so the Club continues to support international disaster relief charity ShelterBox with donations. ShelterBox provides shelter, essential items and technical assistance to help some of the world’s most vulnerable people recover and rebuild their homes after disaster.

Meanwhile, the Club has given several more loans to small businesses in some of the poorest parts of the world via microfinance company Lendwithcare. A recent loan, for example, will go to a farming cooperative in Togo. A portion of the funds will be used to buy yam seeds; the yams can later be sold on or can help feed family members. The 291 loans that the Club has made to date are estimated to have created 852 jobs and helped 3,901 family members.


Exchange participants talk about their trip to Leuven

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Amelia and Emma with fellow MGSE participants and their “tour guide” during their exchange trip. Picture credit: Amelia Coleman / Emma Wilson

The Club’s two Mini Group Study Exchange (MGSE) representatives for 2023, Amelia Coleman and Emma Wilson, gave members a great talk about their trip to the Belgian university town of Leuven. MGSE is a joint project between the Rotary Club of Canterbury and four European contact clubs in France, Belgium, Germany and Holland. Each club arranges for two young people to meet together for a week of social, cultural, and educational activities in one of the partners’ hometowns.

While out there Amelia and Emma really enjoyed mixing with other exchanges; they also squeezed some time in their busy schedule for cultural trips to Antwerp, Brussels, and Bruges. “We never appreciated so much of another culture in such a short space of time”, they said. They recommend that 18–25-year-olds in the Canterbury area wishing to broaden their horizons apply for a place. The 2024 event will be held in Lüdenscheid in Germany and the deadline for applications is 10th May 2024; details can be found at:


Ageing well

The Club held a recent informal brainstorming session on “ageing well”, with the aims of identifying themes and ideas (and possible partners) for any future activities by Rotarians that touch in some way on ageing well. It proved an interesting session with lots of positive thoughts about how to help people as they get older.

A special recognition

Finally, one of the Club’s members, Philip Abbott, has been recognised with a Paul Harris Fellowship (PHF) with three sapphires. Two of his PHF’s, the first (the pin) and fourth (the 3rd “sapphire”), are for contributions to The Rotary Foundation. The others are in recognition of his tireless efforts at the Canterbury Club and its fellow “Sunrise” Club. Philip is in good company – notable figures named Paul Harris Fellows in the past include U.S. President Jimmy Carter and polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk!


Have you ever thought about becoming a Rotarian? See the news section of the Rotary Club of Canterbury’s website ( to find out more about its activities, and contact the Club via its website or social media to find out more about being a member.

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