How would you like to roll your sleeves up, serve your local community, help solve global problems, improve the life chances of young people, and all while meeting people and having fun?
If that sounds appealing, Lions Clubs might be for you. Here we take a look at what the Lions Clubs International is, what its members do and what they most enjoy about being a member of the Lions pride.
What is Lions Clubs International?
Chicago businessman Melvin Jones believed that: “You can’t get very far until you start doing something for somebody else.” A lynchpin of his local business scene, the insurance agency owner invited members of local organisations to join him in forming a club whose members would work together to help their local community. The year was 1917 – Lions Clubs International was born.
Today Lions Clubs International is the biggest community service organisation in the world. With 1.4 million members across the globe, its reach stretches from the USA, to Mexico, the UK, and many, many other countries.
The Lions came to the UK via Canada, arriving here in 1950. Following the great work the Lions Club of Canada did with evacuee children during World War II, the late queen mother dispatched her equerry to visit the Lions Club of Windsor in Ontario. So impressed was he, that he agreed to sponsor the first club in the UK to be set up in London.
Since then, the Lions have gone from strength to strength with clubs in every major town and city across the UK – and many of the smaller ones too.
What do Lions do?
Lions don’t just give money to charities, they run the events that raise the money that goes to charities and other good causes. Here in the UK, the Lions work in a number of different areas:
- Diabetes. Contributing to over 5 million deaths across the world each year, Lions clubs support awareness campaigns and help to fund action projects.
- Vision. For nearly a century, Lions Clubs have been working to improve eye health and eye care for hundreds of millions of people.
- Environment. Lions Clubs are working to ensure that local communities are healthy and sustainable.
- Hunger. Lions Clubs address the needs of nearly a billion vulnerable people in society as well as food security issues caused by humanitarian crises.
- Paediatric Cancer. With one child diagnosed with cancer every two minutes, Lions clubs are active in supporting families, and funding lifesaving treatments.
- Community activities. Lions get involved in their local communities, using their talents, skills, and know-how to support local people and their families.
Lions get involved. They’re do-ers, and the thing they do most is help others while having fun themselves. If you join, you might find yourself doing anything from wearing high viz to direct traffic at a firework display or fun run, to helping to organise a spring bedding plant sale, to donning your dinner suit for a black tie fundraising evening.
Current Lions Clubs projects
- Message in a bottle provides a simple but effective way for people to keep their basic personal and medical details in a specially designed container kept in the fridge where paramedics know to look in an emergency.
- Lions Deaf Aware. Because one in six people in the UK suffer from hearing loss, Lions Club volunteers run local community Deaf Aware Training sessions through the Lions Hearing Forum, and also help to collect and recycle used hearing equipment.
- Spectacles recycling. Lions Clubs throughout the UK collect tens of thousands of pairs of used spectacles each year, which they send to Chichester Lions Club for processing. These glasses are graded and distributed to Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Nigeria and Nepal, as well as to many other countries visited by the charity Unite for Sight.
Lions Club social life
Lions members love nothing better than to let their hair down and enjoy a good knees up. From fancy dress to black tie events, if you’re wondering if your wardrobe is up to the Lions club standard, be reassured that a smart casual sports jacket or blazer, chinos or wool trousers and good leather shoes will see you though most occasions, with lounge suits and evening dress required for more formal occasions.
Above all, Lions Clubs International members are like-minded friends; if you’re pals with a Lion, you’ll probably fit right in. If you’re attending a Lions clubs event, check the dress code before you go and remember your wallet – you’re likely to be asked if you’d like to buy a raffle ticket.
How to join the Lions Club
If you know a Lion, it’s a great idea to approach him or her about the possibility of becoming a member, but if you don’t, there’s no need to despair of joining the pride. Just hop over to the Lions Clubs International website and fill in the contact form and they’ll be more than happy to put you in touch with your local Lions club.