Lions Healthcare Heroes

For the past two years, our nurses and frontline healthcare workers have been under the pump.

Soaring COVID-19 cases as a result of the spread of the Omicron variant has put immense pressure on the healthcare system.

An online fundraiser launched by Lions volunteers is giving the community an opportunity to say thank you to their COVID Healthcare Heroes.

Covid Healthcare Heroes

The Coogee Lions Club’s Healthcare Heroes GoFundme page has now raised over $5,000 to help recognise the hard work of frontline staff working tirelessly in COVID-19 Red Zones.

Recognised nurses are presented with a Lions Healthcare Heroes certificate of thanks and a $50 shopping voucher.

Coogee Lions Club Co-President Sari-Elle Kraemer says the project is encouraging the community to get behind the fundraiser and show healthcare workers how much they are appreciated at this difficult time.

“Healthcare staff have been working under extreme conditions now for many months.”

“Many are working under extreme conditions right now with longer and more frequent shifts in physically challenging environments, having to perform their role in double layered personal protective equipment and not to mention endure the stress and trauma of increasing case numbers. We wanted to show them how much they are appreciated.”

Covid Healthcare Heroes

“We encourage the community to help us through making a donation or helping spread the word. The more funds raised the more hardworking Healthcare Heroes we can recognise.”

For more information on how you can help thank our COVID-19 Healthcare Heroes, click here.

Every dollar raised will go to the Healthcare Heroes.

Disaster Relief Australia Launch New Initiative

When Covid-19 arrived on Australia’s doorstep in early 2020, recovery efforts following the devastating Black Summer bushfires were halted in accordance with public health orders. Bushfire-affected communities, off the back of drought, fire and floods, were then faced with extended periods of pandemic induced isolation. Now, nearly two years on, there is still much work to be done on the relief effort and the volunteers of Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) are rolling up their sleeves to help.

DRA, a partner of Lions Australia, is a veteran-led, non-profit organisation specialising in disaster relief. Since their foundation in 2016, volunteers have helped over 200 communities in the wake of natural disasters, both in Australia and abroad. Much like Lions, members are dedicated to serving their communities and working together to help those in need.

DRA have recently launched Project Resilience, which aims to assist at least 34 vulnerable communities become more resilient to natural hazards by 2025. DRA intends to empower these communities with projects that build resilience to natural disasters and foster a sense of community pride.

The first Project Resilience activity took place in Mallacoota, in Victoria’s Gippsland region, one of the hardest hit towns during the Black Saturday bushfires of 2019/20. As the bushfires raged across Australia, it was apocalyptic images of Mallacoota that were plastered across the globe. Photographs of an entire community huddled on a beach as the world glowed red around them became an emblem of Australia’s bushfire crisis.

With disaster recovery activities limited as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mallacoota is still in need of assistance. As part of Operation Thorpe, DRA recently spent two weeks in the area working to make safe and assist with the clean-up efforts whilst building community resilience and mitigate any future disasters.

As Disaster Relief Australia deploys teams across Australia under Project Resilience, the organisation is seeking volunteers. If you’re interested in assisting with this initiative, or their disaster relief efforts, you can find more information here.

Lions Bushfire Relief in Kiah

When the smoke clears, Lions are still there

Whilst the spotlight is no longer focused on the horrific Black Summer bushfires, the long road to recovery is only beginning for many communities.

Lions volunteers were some of the first on the ground and the first to provide emergency support to affected communities. This continues today.

In addition to those providing community service in affected areas, over $4.6 million of emergency funding was raised and distributed to communities as part of the Australian Lions Foundation’s National Bushfire Appeal. But the support from Lions did not stop there. Over the past two years, even through a health pandemic, volunteers have continued to support those affected and are focusing on helping communities rebuild.

A recent grant of $567,000 from Lions Clubs International Foundation is supporting 9 projects across 7 LGA’s ranging from Balmoral in the South of Sydney to Bruthan in Victoria.

Lions Bushfire Relief in Kiah

One local was very grateful for Lions’ support

One of the superhero team of volunteers spearheading this work is Past District Governor Gordon Matthews along with other Lions PDG Geoff Hobart, PCC Kim Forrest, PDG Neil Wingrave and DG Steve Boyce have coordinated the grant.

“The Black Summer bushfires devastated many communities. But when disaster strikes Lions volunteers roll up their sleeves and do what they can to help. That’s exactly what we did when the bushfires hit in 2019. From supporting frontline staff and those who had lost their homes to purchasing tanks and delivering water and rebuilding infrastructure, Lions have been providing vital support each day. But it takes many years for a community to recover from this kind of disaster.”

With many of these communities still picking up the pieces, Lions are working with other likeminded organisations to help them rebuild, and making these grants go even further. Just this month, Lions and Connecting Communities Australia (CCA) volunteers linked up to support those in the Kiah area, installing water tanks, clearing fence lines, removing fallen trees and repairing chicken runs.

Lions and CCA volunteers bushfire relief

Lions volunteers taking a well-deserved break in bushfire ravaged Kiah

“The most recent grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation is supporting 9 important projects across 7 LGA’s ranging from Balmoral in the South of Sydney to Bruthan in Victoria. We have consulted with local communities, groups and governments to see what they need most. The projects range from rebuilding halls, fencing, picnic shelters, BBQ areas, parks and toilet blocks to building memorial parks in locations where communities gathered during the fires.”

“This funding and the work of our local Lions volunteers is not only about recovery and reflection but also resilience. Many communities are investing in back up solar systems and we are also purchasing firefighter trailers which hold 1500 litres of water and can be used for back burning.”

 

 

 

Deborah Hutton Lions Ambassador for Skin Cancer Screening

Lions appoints Deborah Hutton as Ambassador for Skin Cancer Screening Program

Lions Australia have appointed Deborah Hutton as their first ever ambassador to advocate for their skin cancer screening and detection programs.

The media personality praised Lions after sharing a moving account of her own skin cancer battle at the 2021 Lions Convention in Canberra, singling out their mobile screening vans in Western and South Australia.

“These projects are vital in waking up Australians to the dangers of skin cancer,” says Deborah. “It’s critically important to get your skin checked, not only for yourself but for your loved ones.”

At the Canberra Convention, Deborah set a new challenge for Lions in New South Wales and Queensland to step up their fundraising efforts for their own skin cancer screening vans.

“Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world,” she said. “I’m calling on Lions to do more to reduce that level and its impact on families in two of our most pertinent states for skin cancer”.

Deborah Hutton Lions Canberra Convention

Deborah Hutton speaks at the 2021 Lions Canberra Convention

The incorporated charity, the Lions V Districts Cancer Foundation, launched its mobile skin check van in March 2021.

With over $400,000 raised through the generosity of Lions Clubs and philanthropic donors, the van is now offering free skin check services, especially to those in rural and remote areas with limited access to specialist skin care professionals.

“These guys are amazing,” Deborah told her social media followers after inspecting the new V-Districts van on show at the convention.

As it tours around, the unit will be a valuable resource for local people to access not only the skin check, but timely information about skin care and self-checking techniques.

“The fear is not finding something,” Deborah explains. “The fear is that if you have something you can’t detect and you leave it, you’re not going to be around to tell your story – and that’s scary.”

As their first ambassador, Lions is excited for Deborah to lend her voice in raising awareness about the importance of skin checks and early detection through their skin cancer screening programs.

You can find out more about the program here.

Photographer Showcases the Community Spirit of Storm-Ravaged Trentham

Partially Funded by the Lions Club of Trentham

When faced with disaster, Australians roll up their sleeves and help their communities, in any way they can. Following the ferocious storm that tore through central Victoria in June of this year, freelance photographer, Sandy Scheltema, realised just that.

Image – Sandy Scheltema

Over June 9 and 10, Trentham and its surrounds were battered by winds that reached over 100km/hr. The combination of rain and strong, South-Easterly winds resulted in the collapse of masses of trees. This led to loss of power, road closures and approximately $10 million worth of damage.

“Sixty houses were damaged, (fifteen left uninhabitable), seven cars and water tanks destroyed, 63 sheds and 123 fences were damaged. 35% of the Shire’s footprint was affected, and 220 council roads impacted,” writes Scheltema.

Image – Sandy Scheltema

Moved by the heroic and inspiring stories that emerged from the disaster, the Trentham local set to work on a photo series to showcase the “courage, tenacity, bravery and resilience within (her) community”.

Funded by the Lions Club of Trentham, Hepburn Shire Council and Districts Community Bank, the series, titled ‘Stories of the Storm,’ consists of 15 of Sandy Scheltema’s photographs; each accompanied by a story about the subjects’ experience of the storm.

Image – Sandy Scheltema

The subjects range from an SES volunteer recounting co-ordinating the retrieval of a woman in labour, to the Director of Nursing at the aged care facility riding his bike through a treacherous graveyard of trees to get to work and provide care for the residents, to an 88-year-old woman offering warmth and shelter to “storm refugees”. Each story is as inspiring as the one before and serves as a valuable reminder to look out for one another, not just in times of crisis.

In Australia, community spirit never fails to triumph in the face of adversity and Sandy Scheltema has showcased it so eloquently. The collection ‘Stories of the Storm’ can be found here.

Diversity, Inclusion & Lions Clubs

Does your Lions club pass the diversity/inclusion test? Tony Fawcett meets a Lion hellbent on changing the way others think of us

Is your Lions club diverse and inclusive?

Do your members all basically look alike, think alike and act alike?

Do you welcome varying opinions?

Or maybe you sit on your hands, run with the status quo, stick with what you know and are comfortable with?

These are the sort of questions Alex Coates has been posing a lot recently.

You see in a Lions first, Alex, President of South Australia’s Lions Club of Salisbury and a GMT team member, has been appointed by C1 District to serve as a Diversity and Inclusion Officer.

His appointment follows the pioneering move by that district in ratifying a diversity statement, a diversity policy and diversity bylaws.

It’s believed to be a first for an Australian Lions district and follows the defeat earlier this year of a proposal by the MD201 Council of Governors at the Convention in Canberra for a national diversity policy.

That proposal failed largely because some voters believe clubs already demonstrate sound diversity and inclusion practices, spelled out in the National Code of Conduct.

For his part, Alex believes the diversity/inclusion message still needs to be spread wider, promoted in the wider community.

His C1 brief is to encourage diversity while reaching out to groups unrepresented in Lions.

While to some it might sound like Big Brother is watching, Alex assures there is no heavy handedness in C1’s new policies.

He believes Lions is already “quite diverse in parts” yet, feels members and clubs can benefit from an awareness of what more can be done.

“It’s just about spreading the message that if your club can embrace diversity and inclusion it would be a good thing,” he says. “I guess it’s about going through club by club and making sure people have got the information.”

Alex Coates - Lions Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Club independence is always paramount, he says, adding that Lions should not “feel obligated to go out and recruit people that absolutely meet different demographics, purely so they can tick a box.”

“It’s certainly not saying to any club you must have diverse members and you must have this and you must have that. It’s about saying ‘just welcome everybody that comes through – they might not be for your club (and if they are not) then refer them to a neighbourhood club. Then it will be positive in bringing in more members to Lions.”

Diversity and inclusion involve far more than seeking members of a multi-cultural background, he contends.

“It could be someone with a learning or intellectual disability but who has the ability to serve. It could be someone from the LGBTIQA+ community. Yeah, it could be a whole lot of people who might look at Lions clubs and say it’s ‘just a load of old white men’ when in reality it’s not.”

Making Lions clubs more publicly visible as being inclusive should be an aim, he contends.

“I certainly believe you can’t be what you can’t see. If you’re someone out there who is a culturally diverse person and you buy a sausage at a barbecue where no-one is culturally diverse, then I guess you may think ‘maybe that’s not for me and I won’t look into that’.”

“Whereas if there is somebody (culturally diverse like you) then you might think ‘oh, okay, clearly it’s an organisation that is welcoming to everybody so maybe I’ll look into it more’.”

Accepting of all

Alex is well credentialed for such a role.
A community liaison officer for South Australian and federal governments since 2005 and a former deputy mayor of the City of Salisbury, he has been passionately involved in community affairs since school days. Currently undertaking two post-graduate studies, he is involved with about 10 community organisations and admits his life is happily hectic. Born in Greenwich, London, he has lived in Adelaide since he moved there with his parents when 13.

Keenly involved in the Rainbow movement and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual (LGBTIQA+) community, particularly in the areas of diversity and mental health, he facilitated Rainbow movement Lions and others taking part in the 2021 Adelaide Pride march.

To his great disappointment, the march was cancelled due to Covid restrictions. It would have been the first time South Australian Lions were officially allowed to bear the association logo in such a march, highlighting the fact “Lions is a diverse organisation accepting of all”.

As a compromise, District C1 joined with other organisations in producing videos of support, which were played at a live event and online.
Notably, C1’s video contribution was the only one coming from a service club.

Salisbury club’s diversity statement

We, the members of the Lions Club of Salisbury respect and acknowledge the diverse community we serve including the traditional owners, the Kaurna people, Salisbury residents from across the world and those born in this country.

We also respect and acknowledge community members with other differences including but not limited to differences of ability, belief, gender identity, outlook and sexuality.

We agree to treat everyone equally with kindness and through our service improve our community.

A DIVERSITY MESSAGE
“We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.”

– Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, a serving Lion

Thinking about joining Lions?

Congratulations

You are starting on a journey that will give you extraordinary satisfaction, help you build networks and contacts in your business and personal life, create wonderful stories and experiences and enable you to build lifelong friendships.

Lions Clubs International is an Association of community-spirited people in over 200 countries, from myriads of diverse cultures, of women and men of all ages, who subscribe to a simple code of ethics.  We all want to make our community a better place to live, work and grow.

Lions Australia has a proud history of achievement and helping the most needy in the community.  Think about disasters like Cyclone Tracy, the Black Saturday bushfires and the Queensland floods – Lions were there helping in practical ways.  Think about the Bionic ear, the Cervical Cancer vaccine – Gardisil, Fred Hollows – Lions were there in the early days funding research and health strategies long before they became household names.  Think too, about the local parks, monuments, sporting centres and facilities built by your Lions Clubs; built by people who saw a need and got down to the job of meeting that need, with their ideas, skills and labour.

You have some questions?

One of the first things you will notice when you meet many Lions is that they are often humble and quiet about their achievements – this is why we are such a well-kept secret.  It also means you might be wondering about what it means to be a Lion.  Of course you can ask your local club members, but we know that sometimes you want to quietly review things before taking that first step.  This blog can be your first port of call.  Read through these materials and follow the links, and feel free to ask some questions that aren’t answered here.

1. How much time is involved?

Lions is a “Community Service” organisation.  One of our motto’s is that we “make things happen”.  Local achievements are always satisfying and that’s why we volunteer.

This means that we DO want our members to participate in meetings and their fair share of community service activities. Lions say that family comes first, then work, and then the Lions Club.  Of course you need to think about your capacity to participate, but for most of us, a couple of hours of television time traded for community service is a worthwhile experience.

2. Aren’t I too young for Lions?

Like many volunteer organisations, we rely on a core group of retired people who have time, skills and networks to helps us achieve our goals, but that’s changing.  Lions needs younger working people to help us do all those humanitarian projects that government can’t do.

It’s worth remembering that so many of our grey-haired, active volunteers started with Lions in their thirties, and have managed their family and working life along with a healthy dose of community service.  Think about why they are still Lions and still active.

It’s because a Lions Club can be fun, friendly and incredibly satisfying.

3. Paying to volunteer! What’s that about?

Any volunteer organisation needs to provide services and support to its volunteers – training, insurance, promotional materials and the like.  As a democratic organisation, we also have some costs associated with our decision-making processes at International, National and local levels.

Did you know that when a member of the public donates money to their local Lions Club, every cent goes to where it was promised?  The club doesn’t take even 1%.  Compare that with other organisations.

Lions are immensely proud of the fact that we don’t take public donations to cover our operating costs – and its one of the reasons for our reputation in the community.

That’s why members pay a small amount in dues.

4. I’m a little bothered by the formality at the Lions Club meeting.

Some of the things about the way a meeting is run are to meet the rules of the Association, or the legal requirements of the organisation. Others are part of the “rituals” of the organisation and its history, and the existing members are used to this way of operating.

Lions Clubs are democratic organisations though, and other than meeting our legal and procedural requirements, there is no reason why other things can’t change if the members wish them to. Lions Clubs are apolitical and not religious.

5. What does the Club actually do?

All Lions Clubs subscribe to our Code of Ethics, and are part of an International Organisation, but set their own program independently.  They can support projects that are operated at an international, national and district level – and can create and operate their own projects.  You can browse the national website to find out some information about these projects.  We all know that we work best at the things we love to do, so an important question to ask the club members is “what projects do you do?” and “who do you help”

If you have a passion for a project, there is no reason why you can’t try to persuade your Lions Club to support it.

6. Are Lions Clubs for women too?

Lions Clubs are for everyone – men and women, people from different cultures, and anyone over 18 years of age.  Lions Clubs recruit for skills, ideas, interests and labour.

We are working to make all of our clubs inclusive of gender, race, culture and linguistic background, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity and more. With more than 1200 clubs in Australia, there is every chance that we can find a club for you.

We value the contribution of women in our organisation – great leaders, skilled business people and consummate networkers.

7. I applied to join a club, but wasn’t accepted?

Lions Club membership is by invitation.  Your club has a long history of working together, has particular projects they deliver, and a unique style.  Like any close group – a family, a work team or a bunch of school friends – perhaps there wasn’t that “meeting of the minds”. In many communities there is more than one club, so if you have skills to offer and subscribe to our ethics, visit another club.

8. How do I join a club?

The first thing to do is to contact your local club, or if you don’t know who they are you can find out on the National Lions website. The next thing is to take your time.  Attend a few club meetings, find out about the work of the club and meet the members.  Hopefully you will have a long and happy association with Lions, so you need to make sure that the club will work for you. If things work out, you will receive an invitation to join.

9. Can I bring my kids to Lions events?

Lions encourages family involvement, and this is something you should discuss with your club when you are thinking about joining. Many Lions members have brought their children to club meetings, fundraisers and other activities – it’s a great way of teaching them about their community.

Lions also has many programs for older children like our Leo ProgramYouth of the Year and Youth Exchange.

9. Tell me more!

The best source of information will be your local Lions Club, but if you want to read more, or discuss your thoughts with the Lions online community, here are some places to start.

 

Read more

A story of hope

One of the positive things to come out of this lockdown craziness is the opportunity that an increasing use of technology gives us to meet amazing people. 

One of our Lions, who is very interested in helping the Afghan refugees that supported our defence forces, introduced me to Doug Abdiel, an ex-US Marine who now lives and works in Australia.  Like our Lions, Doug saw a need and rather than sit back, decided to do something about it.

Doug spent most of his career as a military officer which took him to Afghanistan and Haiti.  After coming to Australia with his Australian wife, he felt compelled to reach out to the people he had worked with in those countries who were fortunate enough to make it to Australia.  With the help of his very understanding wife, he purchased a paper tube manufacturing company in Melbourne that has employed 25 refugees in the last four years and put over $1M into their pockets.

Although this is not a Lions project, I thought it may be of interest to some Lions members who are close to this issue.

Through the Not-for-profit organisation, “Purpose and Growth”, Doug’s project has three elements to help Afghans that now call Australia home.

Firstly, they have an initiative to provide a simple, discounted laptop to each new family, simple technology to help the family engage with the community for education, business and support.

Secondly, to help newly arrived refugees to get a job.  They provide free, multilingual induction courses, and Purpose and Growth will cover 75% of the cost of certifications required for employment (e.g. forklift tickets).

Thirdly, Purpose and Growth directly helps refugees through employment in a small paper factory in Victoria.

Purpose and growth would love to tell this story of how they employed 25 refugees in the last four years (read here in The Australian). This might be a great opportunity for the next online meeting of your club.

You can find out more about Purpose and growth here.  https://pgpurpose.org/

Rob Oerlemans

Executive Officer

75th Anniversary – Snapshots from our founding years.

With our milestone birthday in just three months, Tony Fawcett takes a nostalgic look back to the beginnings of Lions Australia

Know what the initials L- I- O-N-S stand for?

Today Lions stands for community service but back when the organisation was being launched in Australia, it was explained to potential members that L stood for Liberty, I for Intelligence and O-N-S for Our Nation’s Safety.

Apex rebuff leads to Lions

Lions Australia might not have happened but for William “Bill” R. Tresise’s unhappiness that, nearing 40, he would according to rules soon need to retire as the 11th National President of Apex.

He was even unhappier when his attempts to form a senior Apex movement were rebuffed.

Fortuitously, a chance 1946 meeting with a soon-to-be International President of Lions led him to a meeting with the Secretary-General and Founder of the Lions Association, Melvin Jones, in Chicago.

In quick time he found himself appointed a provisional District Governor, with power to form Lions clubs in Australia.

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN: The year was 1947 and with the encouragement of far-sighted William “Bill” R Tresise locals flocked to a Lismore, NSW hotel for the chartering of Australia’s first Lions club.

The next year Bill, the owner of a plaster and hardware business, formed a club in his home town Lismore, followed by Murwillumbah (1948).

His aim was to have a Lions club in every town with a population of 3000-plus.

By 1976 there were 1,000 clubs.

Australia was the 18th country to enter the International Association of Lions Clubs.

Lions not liars!

When Sydney lawyer Bill Berge Phillips and friend Charles Copeland heard about the International Lions movement from local founder Bill Tresise, they determined to form a club in their home city.

Their big problem early on was getting members because few in 1952 Sydney had even heard of Lions – and it didn’t help that on sighting Bill’s Lions badge many enquired what the “Liars Club” was all about.

Furore over Lions birthplace fountain

A decision to demolish a fountain commemorating Lismore as the 1947 birthplace of Lions Australia created a public furore several years ago.

Constructed 20 years after Bill Tresise founded the first Australian Lions club, the fountain had fallen into disrepair and was considered by some as not worth saving … that’s until local Lions and others got involved.

Sensing the mood of the moment, the local council quickly moved into action, working with Lions to raise funds for restoration.

The following year the revamped fountain was unveiled, appropriately on the 70th anniversary of Lions Australia, with the addition of colourful mosaics telling a visual history of the organisation.

Enthused the local mayor: “The new artwork is a beautiful tribute to the rich history of Lions in Australia and we are very excited to be able to unveil it to the general public.”

Fittingly the unveiling was followed by a sausage sizzle.

 Luscious language

While the good deeds of Australian Lions have never been doubted, it’s fascinating to look back at how the language has changed since early Lions gatherings.

At the first National Convention, staged in Coolangatta in 1953, for instance, no-one reportedly raised an eyebrow when it was announced to all that Australians had much to be appreciative of, including “the lovely luscious ladies which graced its shore”.

Likely this choice of adjective was then not considered politically incorrect, given the word “male” would not be dropped as a condition of Lions membership for another 34 years.

Stickler for getting it right

DRIVING FORCE: Whether grammar or starting new clubs, Lions Australia founder Bill Tresise was a stickler for getting it right.

Australian Lions today owe much to local founder Bill Tresise for his attention to detail. As a perfectionist dedicated to personal development, he ensured the organisation’s launch ran along strict professional lines.

These demanding goals even extended to his family. As one of his sons, the late Max Tresise, would later reveal, his father disapproved of poor grammar and would have offenders among his young family repeat something until it could be recited word perfectly.

“We were encouraged to learn Rudyard Kipling’s poem entitled ‘If ’, even though it took months to memorise,” recalled Max. “We had to be word perfect before Wally and I, aged about 14 and 12 years of age, received our generous reward of 10 shillings each.”

Lion to the rescue

Early clubs were quick to realise the value of the Lions name. When Australia’s second Lions club, Murwillumbah in north-east NSW, decided it needed to act after the disastrous 1954 floods claimed an estimated 30 lives in the region, it commissioned a wooden rescue boat and named it the Lion.

Just 15 days after its launch, the Lion, which cost 745 pounds, was in action evacuating flood-bound people from low lying areas of South Murwillumbah.

Crews worked into the night on that mission of mercy, which won wide local praise.

Not even its sinking after being holed by a submerged fence post could stop the Lion’s ongoing rescues in the flood-prone region. It was quickly repaired by local company C Hawkins and Son that had built it and returned to service.

The countdown is on – Lions volunteers are celebrating 75 years of always being there for the community

From bushfires and floods and even the spread of COVID-19, Lions volunteers are always there for the community and this is the theme as Lions Australia gears up for its 75-year anniversary next year.

With just 12 months to go, the countdown is officially on and volunteers across Australia are kickstarting celebrations in their communities. In coming months many clubs will be hosting special events and the organisation is aiming to plant at least 75 commemorative gardens across the country before the official anniversary in September 2022.

Since the first club was formed in Lismore in 1947, Lions Australia has grown to be the largest service club organisation in Australia, with over 1200 clubs and 25,000 members giving back through an array of community-based programs and initiatives.

Some Lions are on a mission to cure childhood cancer and Alzheimer’s, others to help support those affected by droughts and floods and many are working together to make their local community a better place to live.

Lions Australia CEO Rob Oerlemans says the anniversary is a wonderful opportunity to not only celebrate the impact of Lions over the past 75 years but also recognise the growth and evolution of the organisation as it looks ahead to the next 75 years and beyond.

“From drought, fires and floods to the spread of COVID-19, our country has faced many challenges in recent years, which has really highlighted the power of community service.”

“We are so proud of what we have achieved to date and are well positioned to make an even bigger difference in the future.”

“Our goal at Lions is that the demographic makeup of our clubs matches the demography of the community in which they operate and our organisation has really adapted and evolved over the years. We’re so proud to have a growing number of speciality clubs across Australia ranging from young Leo clubs, virtual clubs, ethnic clubs, special interest and autism clubs and an incredible range of projects and foundations making a real difference in the community.”

“Many clubs are planning special events in their communities in coming months. We are delighted to see so many jumping on board with our 75 commemorative garden project. At Lions, we pride ourselves on doing our bit to nurture our local, national and global environments. It’s one of Lions’ five key global focus areas.”

For anyone in the community interested in doing some volunteering, Rob says it’s a great time to join Lions.

“If you see your local Lions volunteers out and about in coming months make sure you stop by, says hello and see how you might be able to get involved. We know there are many people

out there looking to make a difference in the community right now, and it’s a great time to join us,” says Rob Oerlemans.

Lions volunteers pay annual membership fees to cover admin costs which means 100% of funds donated to your local Lions Club goes directly towards the cause.