Since 2001 the luminous yellow bibs of the Rotary Club of Sunderland have been seen in the car parks of the University of Sunderland, collecting parking money on match days and around concerts at the Stadium of Light.
But the history of these very helpful older gentlemen goes back much further than that. The Rotary Club of Sunderland was founded in 1922, and this year they have been celebrating their centenary, the coronation of the new king, and their long association with the University of Sunderland by recognising the talent and achievement of their students.
This year the Club have awarded the second Rotary Club of Sunderland Centenary Prize to Chloe Bourne, a BA Childhood Studies student, who graduates next month (July). The award provides a cash award to a graduating care leaver or estranged student.
Chloe is a Care Experienced student and receives support from the University’s We Care Team. Before coming to University Chloe worked with children with complex health needs. Since starting her studies she has been working part time for the NHS as a healthcare assistant, and last summer travelled to Uganda to work as a volunteer teacher.
She says: “I’ve worked in the NHS, volunteered in Uganda, and I did a charity skydive, and I think this award will really help me show my dedication to future employers. After I graduate this summer, I will be studying for the Masters in Inequality and Society.”
Peter Dunn, President of the Rotary Club of Sunderland, said: “The Rotary Club of Sunderland is dedicated to giving back to the local community and supporting people from diverse backgrounds. We are particularly pleased to offer additional support to some of Sunderland’s most deserving students and are pleased that we are able to continue supporting the University through our fundraising efforts.
“We are proud to support these students and honoured to contribute to the University of Sunderland’s life-changing work.”
The Rotary Club have also awarded two special Coronation Awards to BSc Sports Coaching students Lewis Wilkinson and Jack Green, who received recognition for achieving the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award while studying at Sunderland.
Lewis, 20, from Sunderland, says: “I feel like the Duke of Edinburgh award has helped me learn new skills and develop friendships that have lasted years. I will use my Rotary Club Coronation Award to progress further in my education and spread the word how amazing the Duke of Edinburgh award is and what positives can come from taking on the bronze silver and gold awards.”
The University of Sunderland’s Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell KCB, says: “Another year has passed with Rotarians staffing our car parks on Stadium of Light match and concert days. Come rain or shine, their dedication is admirable, and we remain hugely grateful for their support. Indeed, Sunderland Rotary’s longtime contribution to the University of Sunderland now tops £128,000.
“Many individuals and causes within the University have benefited and lives have been changed as a result. We look forward therefore to continuing our long and productive partnership with Sunderland Rotary for many years to come.”
Volunteers from The Rotary Club of Sunderland operate the car parking system at the City Campus every Saturday. Shoppers, football fans and Sunderland Empire matinee customers make use of the parking facilities at a reduced rate.
What many of these shoppers, football and theatre fans may not know is that proceeds from their parking money are shared between the University of Sunderland’s Development Trust and a range of local and Rotary charities. Since 2001 they have collected over £128,000 to support the University’s Futures Fund.
The Rotary Club of Sunderland was founded in 1922 and is part of an international organisation whose purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.