Free Trade Day

The business of kindness on Free Trade Day

Picture a world where families struggle without running water, lights, or a secure home.

Where an elderly couple’s kitchen sink blocked up three years ago and the hot water in their bathroom stopped working.

Image by Sue Graham for The Daily Telegraph. “Overwhelmed: Sandra Jackson breaks down in tears as teams of tradies start work on her Killarney Vale home”.

It’s heart-wrenching, but together we can make a difference.

This October, Lions volunteers are calling on compassionate tradespeople to give back to their communities for Free Trade Day – a day that will forever change lives for the better.

Free Trade Day is a Lions Club of Terrigal-Wamberal project connecting tradies who are willing to work for FREE for people doing it tough.

Tradies donate their time to repair damaged homes on Free Trade Day.

It’s an emotional day that highlights the Central Coast’s best tradies, helping their neighbours.

Free Trade Day founder and Lions member Ryan Wilson is now assembling a force of leading trades businesses, united by kindness, to dedicate a day to those in desperate need.

“Free Trade Day is a great opportunity for the trade community to come together and lend a helping hand to those who unfortunately cannot afford to have important repairs and maintenance done on their homes,” says Ryan.

Free Trade Day 2022

A Lions volunteer chats with home-owner on Free Trade Day 2022.

“We have a website where tradies can register their services and people needing help can self register or be nominated by someone else.

We then connect tradies with people who need a helping hand.”

Registration is now open, click here to find out how you can get involved with Free Trade Day on the 20th of October 2023.

Lions to climb Mt. Kenya for kids in Tanzania

On August 28th, an amazing group of women will begin their 5 day climb on Mt. Kenya.

The 16 Lions members who are all from different countries, will be making their way along the Chogoria route to the peak, a difficult challenge that’s worth every minute.

Kili for Kids

They are raising $100,000 for the ‘Kili for Kids’ Project, which will provide the funds for much needed renovations of the Mwereni School for the Visually Impaired in Tanzania.

The school is also a safe haven for children with Albinism, who have sadly come under attack by people believing their bones hold magic powers.

Among this team of amazing women is Australian Sheryl Keppler, President of the Australian Online and Travellers Lions Club.

Sheryl says she agreed to join the expedition at the 2023 National Convention on the Gold Coast after Past International President Barry Palmer asked an Australian Lion to sign up.

Sheryl Keppler

Aussie Lion, Sheryl Keppler is ready for Mt. Kenya (Image from Facebook).

“I saw no reason not to take up the challenge, so I took him up on the offer and joined the Kili for Kids Team,” she says.

“We are 16 female Lions from 16 different countries, that will join together and climb Mt. Kenya.”

Kili for Kids

The Kili for Kids project was inspired by the first female Lions President Gudrun Yngvadottir, with the first international team of female Lions climbing Kilimanjaro to raise money and build a school for children in Kenya.

Through the Kili for Kids program, Lions directly help provide education and feeding programs to orphans and needy children.

If you would like to find out more about how you can support Kili for Kids and the Mt. Kenya climb, click here.

We wish the 16 Lions all the best of luck on their climb!

Katamatite Silo Art

Katamatite Lions fund huge Silo Art Project

Since the first appearance of silo art in 2015, regional and rural towns across Australia have been transformed by these large-scale public artworks.

And now, thanks to the local Lions Club, the small town of Katamatite is on the map for their mural on the Silo Art Trail.

Katamatite Silo Art

Katamatite silo art mural by artist Tim Bowtell.

The Silo Art Trail has been turning heads on dusty regional roads since 2016 with its 700km-long collection of massive street artworks celebrating the people and culture of Victoria’s northwest.

Adding to the popularity of the existing North East Silo Art Trail, the Katamatite Lions Club spearheaded a fundraising campaign for their own silo art project, creating a great opportunity for visitors to enjoy their town.

They have been fundraising for the project since 2019 with kite festivals, raffles, markets and even opening their own Op Shop.

Benalla artist Tim Bowtell is the creative talent behind the Katamatite silo art, taking 32 days to complete the mural.

Artist Tim Bowtell ready to get to work.

Julie Ballard from the Katamatite Lions Club and Chair of the Silo Art Working Group says she is extremely proud to see the completed project after 5 years of hard work and planning.

A big congratulations to the Lions Club of Katty for many years of hard work, and to Tim for making our vision a reality,” she says.

The Silos are owned by GrainCorp, who along with Moira Shire, have provided a great deal of work and support towards the project.

Julie says they have also worked closely with the Katamatite Historical Society, local indigenous community members, the local Katamatite community and the North East Art Trail Group to form the brief for the artwork.

Katamatite silo art project in progress.

Artist Tim has blended together several components to the design to form a cohesive composition,” she says.

“The artwork features an eagle which links to the metal eagle in the Lions Park in town. Wedge tailed eagles are native to our local area, but can be elusive to spot.

We pay homage to our traditional owners, noted in our local history book as the Kwat Kwat/ Bangerang. 

The left Silo shows indigenous figures camped along the Boosey Creek. A Scar Tree runs down the centre which links the two silos together. These trees still exist in the Broken Boosey State Park surrounding the silos.

The design also features the first passenger train engine built in 1857 which serviced Katamatite in the early days of settlement.

The image that runs across the bottom of both silos is of horses pulling a scoop to form irrigation channels; irrigation opened up the region to farming.”

Katamatite Silo Art Project

This project is injecting new life into rural towns and encouraging tourism to the areas, along with gifting Victoria one of the most unique road trip routes in the country.

Julie says she now hopes more people will visit the silos and take in everything the small community of Katamatite has to offer.

You can see more from the project on the Katamatite Lions Facebook Page.

Vision-impaired get ‘In the Driver’s Seat’

For those living with a visual impairment, rarely does the opportunity come to get behind the wheel and burn rubber around a racetrack.

But thanks to the Lions Club of Warrandyte and their annual ‘In The Driver’s Seat’ event, for many it became a reality by providing the safety and support to help achieve their dreams.

In the Driver's Seat

(Image captured by Alan Quarendon).

Held on July 2nd at Sandown Race Course in Springvale, Victoria, participants drove assisted by qualified instructors, speeding around the course and hitting speeds of over 100kmph. As well as assisted driving, there was also the chance to ride passenger on motorbike laps round the track.

Over 100 visually impaired people registered to attend this years’ event, with many traveling from far and wide for the chance to hit the track.

The event was completely free to attend with all costs fundraised and donated by the Warrandyte Lions Club.

In the Drivers Seat

(Image captured by Amanda M Gibbon).

“The Warrandyte Lions Club are proud to once again be hosting In the Drivers Seat,” says Club President, David Englefield.

“It’s a wonderful day for everyone in the community and we get such a joy from seeing the thrill driving brings to the visually impaired among us.”

In the Drivers Seat

(Image captured by Alan Quarendon).

Vision is one of Lions Club’s five key global focus areas as well as Diabetes, Hunger, Environment and Childhood Cancer.

You can find out more about the annual In The Driver’s Seat’ event here. 

Walking towards a cure for diabetes

Original story by Joan Tufvesson

The Lions Club of Yarrawonga and the Lions Club of Lake Mulwala joined forces to host the inaugural walk for diabetes awareness at the Yarrawonga Showgrounds on Saturday 20th May.

Support for this event from local businesses and professionals was fantastic and very much appreciated by both Clubs.

The weather behaved itself, providing cloud cover for the 70 walkers and two dogs. A total of 280 km was walked; which equates to approximately 459 laps of the oval.

There was a “Pit Stop” provided halfway around the oval where snacks, fresh fruit, and bottled water were handed out. At the final “Pit Stop”, held at the Yarrawonga Lions Wool Pavilion, a selection of diabetic-friendly food was cooked for walkers – chilli con carne and wholemeal pancakes – which was included in the $10 registration fee. All produce and snacks were generously donated by Woolworths and Midland Fresh.

The starting line. Image: supplied.

Advice was given free of charge and the Clubs’ thanks go to Credentialed Diabetes Educator Janet Lagstrom; Accredited Practising Dietitian at Yarrawonga Health Liza Black; optometrists Sandra Heaney and Andrew Banks; and Lions District Diabetes Chairperson Robyn Harrison.

Posters with QR codes were placed on the fence which linked to a website with relevant information about diabetes.

A pizza oven was donated by Bunnings with the winner being the President of Finley Lions Chris Horne.

All funds raised from the registration and sale of raffle tickets was forwarded to Lions Australia Diabetes Foundation, which will go towards prevention, awareness, and research in the fight against diabetes.

Without volunteers and sponsors, these events could not happen. So, a very big thank you to everyone involved in this event.


You can learn more about the Lions Australia Diabetes Foundation here.

Lions donate Blanket Warming Cabinet

Lions provide warmth and comfort to palliative care patients

Lions in Victoria have come together to provide some warmth and comfort for people living with serious illness at the Frankston Palliative Care Unit.

The Lions Clubs of Frankston, Mt Eliza, Mornington, Mount Martha and Balnarring proudly handed over a Blanket Warming Cabinet, used to heat blankets to warm and comfort patients of all ages in the palliative ward.

Lions donate Blanket Warming Cabinet

A cabinet like this costs over $4,000, with money raised by all five Lions Clubs.

Lions Julie (Frankston Lions Club), Janet and Brian (Mornington Lions Club) were there to gift the cabinet to the unit on Friday 26th May, which also coincided with Palliative Care Week.

National Palliative Care Week runs 21 May to 27 May 2023, and aims to put ‘Matters of Life and Death’ front and centre in Australia’s consciousness.

Lions Recycle for Sight in PNG

Lions Recycle for Sight Project touching lives in Papua New Guinea

Lions in Gilles Plains have brought the Lions Recycle for Sight Project to Papua New Guinea (PNG), helping small communities see and read better for the first time.

As part of the project, members of the Gilles Plains Lions Club have been collecting used reading glasses and sending them to Renee Mongagi, a Lion in PNG.

Renee, along with her children, travel many kilometres to distribute these to people in the community, often on foot as there are no bus or train services, and the roads are harsh.

Lions Recycle for Sight Project in PNG

As they make their way through the townships, Renee has the public try on glasses until they find the ones that suit them.

Most of the time, Renee also takes food to give to those who need it (sometimes security for Renee is required).

“I am so proud of the work Renee does to help those less fortunate,” says Gilles Plains Lions Club President, Lance Crook.

Lance shares a special connection to PNG, having spent time there in 2011 to help with his mental health after falling off a roof and ending up on a disability pension.

It was during this time that Lance met Lion Renee, who lives in the Northern Province town of Popondetta.

Lions Recycle for Sight in PNG

“Renee was in the village I visited, where after many years I was accepted as a white chief of Papua New Guinea, a very honoured position,” says Lance.

“I returned in 2015, taking 54 solar lights into the village.

That enabled 54 families and around 160 children to do their homework with light, as this village has no running water or electricity.”

It was on Lance’s next visit, that he took some recycled reading glasses to the village.

“Everyone was amazed to be able to see and read the bible,” he says.

Lions Recycle for Sight Project in PNG

This was a turning point to officially bring the Lions Recycle for Sight Project to PNG with Lance’s club routinely collecting and sending boxes of glasses to Renee.

Lions Recycle for Sight Australia is an initiative of Lions Clubs International, recycling used glasses for re-use in remote and impoverished communities.

The collected glasses are cleaned and prepared for distribution locally, to places where eye care is often unaffordable and inaccessible.

Do you have a pair of unused glasses sitting around? Click here to find out how you can donate them to this life-changing project.

The future of Lions Australia

Lions Australia’s youth programs were front and centre at the recent MD201 Convention on the Gold Coast.

Finals of the Youth of the Year and Leo of the Year competitions took place, providing great entertainment and food for thought for Conventioneers and judges alike.

With Lions Australia’s recent announcement of the Big Audacious Mission (BAM) to build membership to 30,000 by 2030 and 50,000 by 2050, the Leos and Youth of the Year programs have never been more important.


The Leo of the Year program offers young people the opportunity to share and celebrate their passion and commitment to community service, and a platform to voice their opinions on topics close to their heart. 


Leo Committee Chairperson Pam Bennett with the 2023 Leo of the Year Finalists.

Leo Committee Chairperson Pam Bennett says Leos are important pieces in the Lions Australia puzzle.

“Leos are our partners in service. They have chosen to join our organisation and have the same ethics and purposes as Lions and fulfil a real need in the communities in which they serve,” she said.

The final of the 2023 Leo of the Year competition took place on Saturday, April 29th.

The 4 finalists each presented a five-minute speech on topics ranging from community service to outfits.

NSW’s Georgia Bailey, QLD’s Molly Gysberts, VIC’s Clarissa Wong, and WA’s Luke Tammen all presented wonderful speeches.

Luke Tammen won the Public Speaking Award while Georgia Bailey was announced as the 2023 Leo of the Year.

Council Chairperson Steve Boyce presents Leo of the Year 2023 Georgia Bailey with a plaque.

Council Chairperson Steve Boyce presents the 2023 Leo of the Year, Georgia Bailey with a plaque.

Georgia reminded Lions of the value of Leos, particularly when it comes to technology and social media use.

“Leos understand all of this, make use of us,” she said in her speech.

Over the next twelve months, Georgia will visit Lions Clubs across the country with hopes of opening more Leo Clubs.


Youth of the Year

On the other hand, the Youth of the Program encourages and fosters leadership skills in students nearing the end of their schooling years, hoping to bring forth the next generation of outstanding young Australians.

2023 Youth of the Year Finalists.

National Youth of the Year Chairperson PDG Ken Bradford says the program is a great opportunity.

“The experiences and life skills gained by achieving this level of the challenge will, very often, give encouragement to take on projects which may have been considered unattainable,” he said.

The final of the 2023 Youth of the Year competition took place on Monday, May 1st.

The competition looks at competitors’ leadership, sporting and cultural awareness, personality and general knowledge, as well as public speaking.

The six finalists: W1’s Jonah Hanikeri, T1’s Kulani Somarathna, Q1’s Lindsey White, N1’s Frederick Kearney, C2’s Zach Pope, and V2’s Sienna Gladstone, went head to head in the final round of the competition on stage.

Lions Youth of the Year Winner, Fred Kearney delivers his outstanding speech.

Sienna Gladstone, who spoke about domestic violence, was the winner of the public speaking competition

Frederick Kearney from the Armidale School who spoke about how “tough times create tough people” was the overall winner.

Both Fred and Sienna will receive cash prizes when they turn 18 years old.


As Lions begin work towards the first goal of BAM, these youth programs are proving invaluable to the future of the organisation.

You can learn more about Leos here and Youth of the Year here – and watch all the finalist speeches on our YouTube channel.

Many Lions Club Sunsquirt Project

Manly Lions Club Wins Top Club Service Project Award for Sunsquirt Station

At our recent National Convention on the Gold Coast, the Lions Club of Manly was awarded the Top Club Service Project for their innovative idea that’s protecting members of the community from harmful UV exposure.

Working with a local manufacturer, the Club came up with a plan to produce a free sunscreen dispenser known as the ‘Sunsquirt Station’,  that can be placed along local beaches and parks.

Manly Lions Sunsquirt Station

This light and versatile unit offers the community free SPF 50+ Cancer Council sunscreen with just the wave of their hand.

To date, the Sunsquirt Station has proven to be very popular. It is a novelty to the children and a great convenience to the adults – especially on hot beach days when they leave the sunscreen in the car!

Manly Lions Sunsquirt Station - Top Service Club Project

The Manly Lions Club would love to see more of these units in other areas including low decile schools who cannot afford the units to purchase.

They also encourage other Lions Clubs who are interested in doing a similar project to consider helping out their local preschool and junior sports teams – or bring the Sunsquirt Station along to your Lions BBQ!

Manly Lions Club Sunsquirt Station

Congratulations to all involved in this innovative and practical project. Yet again proving that where there’s a need, there is always a Lion.