Grantham Journal Big Interview: New Rotary club is an exciting new challenge
Andre Finney has lived in Grantham since the 1960s, moving to the area from Manchester in his youth.
Starting out working with agricultural vehicles and then moving into the packaging industry, the 68 year-old now works tirelessly to help better the community, having retired 10 years ago.
Recently taking on the role of the first ever president of the Grantham Sunrise Rotary Club, he is also a member of various other local organisations. Now Grantham’s third Rotary club, the group offers a breakfast meeting to accompany the Rotary movement’s lunch-time and evening clubs. Now fully established, we spoke to Mr Finney about what it takes to lead such a charitable and selfless project.
What made you want to take on the task of becoming president?
I have been retired for 10 years and I just felt as though I should contribute something back to the community. Besides this, after everything else I have done with my life, I just felt that this was a new opportunity to make a difference to the town, especially to those less privileged than ourselves. However, it is only early doors yet and the group is still in its embryonic form. What was the catalyst, I suppose, was that there was a new project that Grantham Sunrise was working on at the local foodbank, building them a new kitchen. I was interested in helping them and so I got involved in the project management of it, contacting companies in the town, who were very helpful.
How did you find out about the club?
I got an invitation to join a new Rotary club in Grantham. There were two already and we have only really been operating as a fully-fledged Rotary club for about two months. This means that our membership is only just getting established.
What are your thoughts and feelings about being the first president?
I have been privileged to have been in this practical position and to have the support of our members of the club who have actually nominated and elected me as their first president. I don’t look at it from any other perspective than that I just wanted to do something different, challenging, but also rewarding.
How would you raise the awareness of your group?
We hope to have an event within the next 12 months that will capture the imagination of the town and that the people will support. This will be to raise money which will then be dispensed within the town.
Why a breakfast club?
The idea of a breakfast club was to, maybe, encourage more young people to join us. As well as this, it compliments the two other Rotary clubs that we already have in the town.
What are your other commitments outside the club?
I’m a trustee for the Grantham Almshouse Charity. I’m also a Freemason and a member of The Grantham 40-plus Club, which is an extension of Grantham Round Table, a young person’s service club that I joined in 1971. However, when you reach 40 you have to leave that and join the senior club. I have been a chairman of this group twice.
What sort of projects have you been involved with through the Rotary club?
We have been working with the Jubilee Church Life Centre, helping immigrants who manage to slip through the books. We help them with all kinds of things, including their English and with job applications. We have also helped the church with its infrastructure, putting their sign up for them outside. I guess you could say that we’re quite practically minded.