Terry Dicken Business Park Feature Friday

The Rotary Club of Stokesley


The Rotary Club of Stokesley was founded in 1980. Its members volunteer their skills and expertise across a variety diverse programmes which benefit local and international communities.


I met with Ann Keene, Vice President of the Stokesley group, to hear about their interest in Stokesley businesses. Firstly, let’s start with some background.


Service above self

“The Rotary Club is a worldwide network of people who support their local communities and international projects, to improve the lives of people in these communities.” Said Ann. “Over the years we have raised and distributed many tens of thousands of pounds and instigated hundreds of home and overseas projects. Our programme enriches community lives while raising money for a range of local and international charities. We have approximately 50,000 members in the UK and Ireland and over 1.4 million worldwide.”


Better together

“Originally the Rotary Club started as a business club by a group of businessmen who met over lunchtime. Realising they could achieve a lot in their local community if they worked together, they started the club. Today, our current Rotary members work on lots of great projects with schools and support many charities. But there’s an obvious gap in our connection to the local business community. Engaging with Stokesley businesses, to identify what help and support they need is a priority.”


Creative and helpful

“Our pledge is to make a difference in terms of collaboration, fundraising support and linking local businesses together. Aiming to be as creative and helpful as people need us to be. We just wish them to tell us where we can be of use! Our members bring lots of experience and their extended networks could be invaluable to Stokesley businesses. Recognising that a lot of that value is currently hidden, we’re on a mission to dispel the preconception that the Rotary Club is just a load of old men! In the Stokesley group there are 34 active members with a range of expertise. Coming from industries such as finance, technology & innovation, dentistry, policing, aircraft engineering, health, horticulture, training, shipping, executive coaching and business consulting to name just a few.”


Fellowship: Friendly association, especially with people who share one’s interests

“There’s lots of value there that may not always be that obvious. Fellowship is a funny word. It really relates to who knows who. Some people in our Stokesley group are born and bred, others are shipped in from industry. They all share a wide variety of knowledge and experience. It’s this that can be of good use to Stokesley’s business community.”


But what do local businesses need?


Stokesley businesses: Have your say

“Recognising the likelihood that businesses need a different type of support, we’re inviting the tenants of Stokesley Business Park and any businesses in the surrounding area to meet with us so we can find out what that support looks like. Consequently, we’re hosting an informal lunchtime meeting in March (date TBC). Stokesley businesses are invited to join us for an hour at a local venue (TBC).  Refreshments will be provided. After a short introduction to our team and work, we’ll open the floor to you. We want to understand your challenges, hear about what support you feel is lacking in Stokesley and listen to your ideas. It would also be a chance to meet and mingle with your business neighbours! The outcome of that meeting would be us supporting you when and where you need it.”


Sounds like a great idea! Details of how to get involved are at the end of this post. In the meantime, let’s hear more from Ann about the work of the Rotary Club.


Successful collaboration

“The Tees Heritage Walk is a good example of us connecting different parts of the community. Participants pay £5 to take part, walking to raise money for their chosen charity. It’s a project that connects students, universities, charities and local businesses. For example, QR codes are placed all around the heritage walk. Students wrote about the history behind each spot on the walk which is accessed via the QR code.”


Empowering charities

“We’ve donated thousands to charities such as the Headlight Project – a charity for families who have experienced suicide. Christmas time saw us collecting coats for needy areas and running a Christmas toy bank with Labman. Our work to eradicate polio has been hugely successful. For every £1 the Rotary Club raised, Bill Gates donated £2. Subsequently, polio is very nearly eradicated. Closer to home, we’ve implemented a ‘Buddy bench’ at the primary school. Children feeling a bit low can simply go and sit on that seat and someone will come and sit with them. But we’re about more than just fundraising.”


Supporting workforce across all ages

“We have vast experience of working with older school children and young adults. This varies from teaching interview techniques, to arranging talks from ex-gang members on the dangers of drugs and grooming, right through to sponsoring outward bound courses. In 2018 we won the Hambleton Business Award for engaging young minds. Therefore, for any organisation currently employing apprentices, working with us could open up ways to help build their skills and confidence.”


I couldn’t let Ann go without asking her about her experience of Terry Dicken Business Park now could I? Here’s what she said.


In the know

“As members of the local community, The Terry Dicken Business Park is familiar to us. Direct Business Supplies helped us produce the QR codes for one of our projects. We donated towards the defibrillators that Thirsty Thursday campaigned for. Members have used HFC Systems and North Yorkshire Physiotherapy. On a personal level, I use Rooms and Platinum Motors & Tyres. Friends of mine go to classes at Ripping Yarns and use the grooming services at Just for Dogs. I recently recommended Platinum Motors to a fellow Rotary member as they were unaware that the business park had a garage. This just further cements the value that collaborative working will bring. If we know more about the work the businesses here do, we can help promote it throughout our wide community links!”


The Rotary Club of Stokesley invite Stokesley businesses of all types, large and small to join them for an informal lunchtime networking session in March.

To register your interest (and potentially influence the date!) please contact Ann directly on 07772 447876 or via email

To find out more about the Rotary Club of Stokesley visit their website

Or use the QR code below!

Want to keep up to date on news and events from the Terry Dicken Business Park? Sign up today using the button below.