The young Rotarians

Students (left to right) Chis Lamond, Joseph Ashcroft and Lewis Muir with Tony Wortman
Students (left to right) Chis Lamond, Joseph Ashcroft and Lewis Muir with Tony Wortman

A HISTORIC organisation that is more than 100 years old is aiming to revolutionize its image by recruiting young blood.

The Rotaract scheme has been launched in east Durham by the Easington and Peterlee Rotary Club.

Aimed at 18 to 30-year-olds, it helps them to make a difference to their community, encourages them to raise money for charity and gives them volunteer opportunities and the chance to go on social trips and meet new people.

A launch event was held at East Durham College, in Peterlee, last week, and so far 10 students have said they want to take part in the scheme.

The college-based group will form the first Rotaract club in the North East.

Tony Wortman, district governor for the Rotary in the North East, along with the east Durham branch’s president David Biermann, were at the Willerby Grove-based college to give students an insight into what to expect from the initiative.

Mr Biermann said: “I know it’s early days but given a fair wind I think they will do very well. “We spoke to the college’s head of performing arts, Billy Nicholson, and student liaison officer Beth Person and they were both keen to get on board.”

He said he wasn’t daunted by the thought of trying to “sell” the image of the Rotary, traditionally seen as catering for older people, to young students, as he said he was a former teacher and felt at ease explaining the scheme to them.

The scheme will allow young people to take part in community, social and sports activities and to work together as a team.

The Rotary hopes to extend Rotaract to other colleges and youth organisations in the North East.

The Rotakids scheme, for primary age children, is also proving a success, with Thornley Primary School, Shotton Primary School and a school in Alnwick signing up.

There is also an Interact scheme for children aged 12 to 18.

For more information about signing up to any of the Rotary’s initiatives, call Mr Biermann on (0191) 5270330.