Hello Everyone in District 9800,

I hope everyone is managing the COVID lockdown 6.0 which started on 5th August all over Victoria, relaxed in regional Victoria from 11th August and then reimposed last Saturday 21st August. Clearly very challenging times.

Prior to 5th August, I have been based in Regional Victoria during renovations of our Melbourne home. Under COVID restrictions, renovations can take place if the house is vacated and under strict COVID guidelines. The renovations were originally planned to be finished by July, but with COVID challenges it is turning out to be a different July!

Fortunately, being based in Ballarat has provided a few more freedoms allowing me to somewhat fulfil my District Governor (DG) Club visiting schedule last week. I was physically able to attend meetings of the Rotary Club of CastlemaineRochester and meet with President Teresa Carlson (and husband and member Richard) from Rotary Club of Echuca Moama. Maureen and I felt truly welcomed by our fellow Rotarians and it was fabulous to have face to face meetings.

My DG Club visiting schedule had me in Bendigo this week and after the reimposed COVID lockdown restrictions, all the Bendigo Club meetings were either rescheduled or moved online. I have greatly appreciated the friendly, warm online meetings and productive discussions with members of the Rotary Clubs of Bendigo, Bendigo Sandhurst, Eaglehawk and Bendigo South, with plans to undertake physical meetings with all clubs when COVID allows. A shout out to Goldfield Cluster Assistant Governors Alison Bacon and Graeme Lynas over the last two weeks for your support and participation in both the physical and online meetings here in Regional Victoria.

A positive initiative that has occurred during August, is Rotary District 9800 collaboration with the international Chartered Accounting firm KPMGKPMG as part of its “Corporate Citizenship” pledge, is encouraging its staff in Australia to do voluntary work in furthering the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Please refer to the separate article in Networker Issue 3 regarding the KPMG Rotary 9800 collaboration.

As is very evident to me, as I connect virtually with so many Rotarians, our Clubs are up to the challenge of COVID as we navigate this new way of giving service to our communities. I know members appreciate the support given by Clubs and our communities are richer for this.

In the light of continuing higher COVID case numbers across Victoria, it is likely lockdown restrictions will continue during the month of September and therefore continuing to challenge Rotary clubs and their community engagement.  Several District online catch ups and themed workshops are planned in September to support clubs during and post COVID restrictions.  More details are to follow during week commencing 30th August.

Please stay safe and continue your wonderful community service despite the COVID challenges.

Rotary District 9800 Governor Dale Hoy