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Rotarians in Australia Turn Out for Graffiti Removal Day

In New South Wales, Australia, the Graffiti Removal Day was tagged a success. This event was sponsored in part by Rotary Down Under Magazine, special friends of Rotary eClub One and the source of this article.

Strong support from hundreds of volunteers and the removal of thousands of square metres of graffiti from 110 sites on or around September 23 provided proof of the success of yet another graffiti removal day in New South Wales.

The 2012 event was the first conducted in partnership between Rotary Down Under and the NSW State Government and attracted magnificent support from several generous sponsors.

Major sponsors of the big day, apart from the NSW Government, included Dulux Australia (paint), Smart Distribution Services (graffiti removal solutions) Rokset (paint brushes and rollers) and Websalad which built and hosted the new Graffiti Removal Day website (www.graffitiremovalday.org.au).

Preparation time for Graffiti Removal Day was limited due to late finalisation of the Government tender process in the first half year, but that did not limit the enthusiasm with which Rotarians and families, members of the public, local government staff, Rotaractors, exchange students and others who attacked the challenge of removing graffiti.

Premier of NSW Barry O'Farrell and the NSW Attorney General Greg Smith led dozens of local politicians in a strong show of support for the campaign by way of visits to numerous sites around the State many rolling up their sleeves and getting personally involved in removing this vandalism.

Executive Director of Rotary Down Under, PDG Bob Aitken AM, was official coordinator of the day with excellent support from the principal of Flagship Communications, Rotarian Jeff Egan, as assistant coordinator. "Jeff Egan and his company have provided the technical knowledge and resources to write and administer the intellectual property essential for the success of the program.

"Rotary Down Under also had the invaluable support of the leading Rotary Graffiti removal expert PP Roger Norman of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, NSW, along with prominent hardware supplier and architect of the original concept Don Wormald of Turramurra Hardware.

"Roger inspired many Rotarians with his knowledge and dedication to training whilst Don was our resident sponsorship consultant," he said. Both Rotary leaders praised the support from Rotary District Governors and Rotary Coordinators in all nine Rotary Districts involved in the campaign.

"Similarly, success would not have been possible without the unstinting support of local government coordinators across the state and numerous council staff," Bob added.

The largest site was at Bligh Park in Western Sydney where over 60 volunteers from the Windsor, North Richmond-Kurrajong and Richmond Rotary clubs combined with local volunteers to clean a 2km site. Rotary clubs in the Blue Mountains (led by another veteran anti-graffiti campaigner PP Tom Colless of Katoomba Rotary), Shoalhaven and Lake Macquarie Local Government areas all had more than ten clean-up sites.

"There is still room for improvement but from a standing start in May, this was an outstanding example of community service and a wonderful public relations exercise for Rotarians and Rotary clubs," Bob continued. "A real highlight was the presence of hundreds of young people on the job including young offenders from the NSW justice system.

"We're also very proud of the dedicated service of our RDU and Flagship Communications staff who contributed many hours toward the success of the day," he concluded.

Media coverage from press, radio and television was excellent with many clubs promoting their achievements in the local media and with their own weekly club bulletins.

The success of the day along with the growing presence of volunteer-based graffiti removal teams has laid the foundations to further expand Rotary's involvement in this important community service. ï ¬




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