About our Club
The Rotary Club of Sheffield was formed in July 1919, Chartered 24th October 1919, the 24th Club in Great Britain and Ireland. The Sheffield Club currently has 18 members and the President for 2017- 2018 is David Dickenson. It meets weekly at the Holiday Inn, Royal Victoria in the centre of Sheffield. It is the senior club to three others, which meet in Sheffield. Namely Sheffield Vulcan, Abbeydale and Wortley.
The club has a long history of service to the community of Sheffield starting as the club was formed, when it undertook the mammoth task of providing a Christmas treat for the 5000 Sheffield widows and orphans from the First World War.
At the same time it formed within the club, the Boy’s Welfare Committee, which still continue today with the unique Rotary Centre Castleton.
Over the years the Club was involved in the inauguration of the penny in the pound scheme, whereby in return for free treatment at the City’s voluntary hospitals, work people subscribed a penny for each pound they earned, with the employers adding one third to the amount raised. From this scheme also Christmas gifts were donated to every patient in hospital at the festive time and in 1969 there were 16 Rotarian Father Christmases on duty. Now the club provides only one at the Children’s Hospital, actually on Christmas Day.
On the breaking out of the Second World War a Services Canteen was established at the Croft House Settlement. It was manned every night by Rotarians and their wives. Statistics of food served are not available, but there is information that 332,000 Service Personnel attended, 997,000 meals and 658,000 cups of tea and coffee were served there. The Rotary Club of Sheffield bore the expenses the Settlement provided additional help and the premises. Rotarians also provided the only means of transport at night to get relatives, city wide, to a hospital, if they had been urgently called.
On the 6th December 1974 through fund raising of £90,000 by the club, the then Minister of Stae for Health and Social Security opened the Head Injuries Unit. For several years the club undertook the raising of the running costs, totalling £16,000 annually. In 1978 it was handed over to Sheffield Health Authority. In 1991 there was a further substantial fund raising to carry out conversions in the unit, and further contributions have continued to be made over recent years. The Unit is under the wing of the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.
The Rotary Club of Sheffield has sponsored many historic plaques in and around the City Centre. Four past members of the club produced, an illustrated and widely acclaimed Historic City Centre Trail Booklet which was published to raise funds for the club’s service activities, associated with Rotary Foundation (Rotary’s own charity).
The club always welcomes visitors because so much benefit of Rotary comes from fellowship. After all every member of the Rotary Club of Sheffield started as a visitor.
The Rotary Club of Sheffield was the original founder of the popular Music in the Gardens event held annually in the Sheffield Botanical Gardens. In the xxx years of this project thousands of pounds have been donated to local and international charities.
The Club also undertake smaller projects such as providing days out to disadvantaged children from across the city.
Castleton Rotary Centre
When the Rotary Club of Sheffield received it’s Charter in 1919 there were some 200 boys in Sheffield whose fathers had been killed in the First World War (1914-1918). The care of these fatherless boys became the primary concern of the new club.
In 1920 the club supported an appeal by the Minister of the Victoria Hall which led to 40 orphans having a camp style holiday at Bridlington.
This was so successful that the club decided to find a camp site nearer to Sheffield and the first choice was at Derwent in Derbyshire, where camps were held on rented land in 1921 and 1922. There was however a need for a site which could be developed gradually and exclusively as a Rotary Centre. A member of the Club then offered the use of some of his land at Shetton and the first camp opened there in 1923 and continued annually until 1936.
In 1936 the present 29.5 acre site at Castleton was purchased by the Rotary Club members for £600, about £21 per acre and a further £1000 spent on the camp buildings. The Sheffield Rotary Camp Ltd. Was formed. Capital £2,000. Minimum share £5. All the Sheffield Rotarians bought shares. Shares gradually left or donated or bought by the club, who now ‘own’ the Centre, administered by a Charity Committee of the Club. The Ltd. Co. has now been dissolved.
The land and building are owned by a charity formed by the Club and known as the Sheffield Rotary Charity.
Alderman Mrs A.E. Longden, Sheffield’s first Lady Mayor, mother of the late Roatrian, Jimmy Longden, opened the new camp for the 1937 season.
Apart from the war years 1939/45, the camp has continued ever since and apart from giving summer holidays to needy boys – and more recently girls – from Sheffield.
A further development came in 1951 when the annual Castleton International Camp was inaugurated providing for groups of young people from all over the world to spend two weeks together in the interests of fostering and supporting better international understanding.
More visitors meant more buildings and regular up-dating and general maintenance. The old pavilion was built in 1936. Late Rotary and Past President, Jimmy Mudford, donated £7,000 in 1965 to buy the wooden dormitory block. Previously tents were used.
Since 1964 the land and buildings have been made available to other to other organisations to hire. It is in constant use by Youth Groups, Scouts, Guides, schools, colleges, Disabled Groups, Religious Groups etc. all use Castleton throughout the year. In recent years over 1,800 people used our Centre annually.
Developments at what is known as the Rotary Centre Castleton have included the provision in 1981 of a stone built dormitory block, sleeping 44, with central heating and showers, costing £80,000 including £10,000 for mains drainage to the village. In 1985 a stone communal building consisting of kitchen and dining room, costing £70,000 opened. The project has generated substantial support from the Sheffield District Council Lottery, the Variety Club of Great Britain, the Scout Christmas Postal Service in 1984, the BBC Children in Need Appeals, the Yorkshire TV Telethon, the Sheffield Marathon in 1987 and a number of charitable trusts, plus gifts of cash and fittings from individual members and their companies.
A Castleton Management Committee of Club members runs the centre. Club members continue to run Summer Camps, now in their 93rd year.
RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) was also set up at the centre by members of the club providing leadership training for 14-17 year olds.
The centre is now used all year and bookings are often made 12 months in advance. Details from Rotarian Jeremy Holmes on 0114 2813132.
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Meetings & Venue
Where and when:
(We meet on the 1st,3rd and 5th Mondays and 2nd and 4th Tuesdays.)
Royal Victoria Holiday Inn, Victoria Station Road, Sheffield, S4 1YE 0114 276 8822