Nelson Bay Rotary Donates Over $96K to Community Projects

Outgoing President Arja Levonpera with Incoming President Liz Friend.


THE COVID-19 pandemic failed to halt the hardworking members of Nelson Bay Rotary Club who have contributed a phenomenal $96,300 in the past 12 months to a wide variety of charitable causes, including medical research, bushfire appeals and local community groups.

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The funds were raised at local community events organised by the Nelson Bay Rotary Club.

The contribution is quite outstanding considering the Club has been adhering to COVID-19 restrictions for the past 4 months, meeting weekly only by Zoom video conferencing.

At the Club’s annual changeover meeting, held virtually in late June, 2019/20 President Arja Levonpera presented her report.

Arja Levonpera said, “Despite a year severely disrupted by the COVID-19 Virus which resulted in our Annual Charity Golf Day being cancelled and regular face to face meetings discontinued from mid-March, the Club continued with existing sound programs and participated in two additional fund-raising events including The Judy Mitchell Memorial Fundraiser in aid of Motor Neurone Disease which raised $27,200 and The Bushfire Relief Appeal which raised a further $16,151.”

Much of the club’s income came from the humble sausage sandwich at venues like Bunnings at Taylors Beach.

Some of the clubs other activities for the year included raising $2000 for the End Polio Program at their “Ride like a Girl” movie night.

The club has also hosted a Friendship Exchange Team from United States, District 5610.

One of their ongoing commitments is to ear health in indigenous communities and the club honoured a $20,000 commitment to the HMRI Indigenous Ear Health Project headed by Associate Professor Kelvin Kong and pledged a further $10,000.

One of the highlights for 2019/2020 for club members was the installation of the long-awaited Town clock honouring the late Bart Richardson, a well-known local and long serving Rotarian.

The club is diverse in its activities having also assisted at the Newcastle Science and Engineering Challenge and State Finals held in Newcastle, organising the Science Discovery Day for Year 6 Primary students held at Tomaree High School,
and commencement of creating an outdoor meeting area at the Yacaaba Women’s Refuge Centre.

In addition to this local work, Nelson Bay Rotary Club’s contribution to Rotary’s own charity The Rotary Foundation has now exceeded over $100,000US.

“Some of this money has been returned to the local community for local projects in the club’s fitness and exercise trail which extends from Corlette to Little Beach.

“The remainder of the contribution has been distributed for overseas projects, including eliminating Polio,” she said.

The club’s New President for 2020/21 is Liz Friend.

Incoming President Liz Friend said that as we emerge from COVID,” Rotary will have to make adjustments like any organisation, and, as a Club we can see this as an opportunity to re-think and find solutions that will help us attract new members and retain existing members”.

She believes that from early on many people, young and old, were trying to find ways they could help others and COVID restrictions have changed us – for the better.

“We looked at what we valued: family, community, work-life balance, and health of course,” she said.

This provides our Club with an opportunity to tap into this volunteer spirit and to reach out to those in our community who may also be looking for an opportunity to serve others.



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