Biggleswade Sandy Lions appeals for new members as fears grow for future and charity projects

The group is behind charity and community events including Santa's sleigh visits

By Joanna Gravett
Friday, 21st January 2022, 10:17 am

Biggleswade Sandy Lions Club is on the hunt for new members as fears for its future grow.

Members are determined to buck the trend and recruit young blood to their charity cause, while up and down the country other Lions Clubs close their doors.

The appeal comes as the charity celebrates successes such as its Christmas appeal, and hopes that people will be attracted to its mission to help several organisations, including Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), Message in a Bottle, and local charity drives for items such as school laptops.

Biggleswade Sandy Lions at Potton Village Show.

John Bennewith, public relations officer for BS Lion Club, told the Chronicle: "Like most voluntary organisations we have been finding it difficult to recruit members during lockdown. Nationally, several Lions Clubs have had to close which means that the various services they had been able to carry out and support have suffered.

"We do not want that to happen in our area but to carry on we must have more members."

John explained that there are a couple of factors hindering recruitment, including, of course, Covid-19, as its members have not been able to attend public events.

Secondly, he cited the rising retirement age as an issue, with people less likely to have the energy to join a club.

Biggleswade Sandy Lions.

However, he hopes that residents will understand the importance of its work and want to become involved - whether old or young - adding: "We were very fortunate that Santa was able to visit us this year and people were very generous donating more money than ever. This has helped us to replenish our charity funds, which were running low after the lockdowns of the past two years.

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"Health and Safety issues surrounding not only Covid but also the increased age of our members prevented us undertaking street collections and it is most likely that, unless we can recruit more youngers members, street collections will not happen in the years to come."

As well as their Christmas fundraising drive, BS Lions champions the Message in a Bottle and Message in a Wallet campaign, which gift people medical information cards and stickers to help parademics find information in an emergency.

Biggleswade Sandy Lions in Gamlingay

Talking about their assistance with Chronicle country causes, John added: "Some people can't go and raise money nationally, so we look to support local groups. We donated computers to [to schools during the lockdown] and spent money to help the food bank."

Looking ahead, the BS Lions' first event of the year is its Jumble Sale at Clifton Community Centre on Saturday, March 19, followed by an Easter egg raffle in the run up to Easter (keep an eye out in local pubs and clubs for more information).

Parents and teachers can also get in touch about ROAR, a Lions' project run in schools asking young children what they would like to change in the world.

John, 85, who has been a member of Lions Clubs for 35 years, concluded: "If you think you have a few hours to spare and want a good laugh and good fun with other similar-minded people, and want to help your fellow human beings, then come and see what we're up to.

"Thank you to all those members of the community who have supported us. Covid-permitting we hope to see you at the various fetes and events this summer. Do come and talk to us."

Both males and females are welcome to join the BS Lions.

To find out more about its projects, please visit bslions.org.uk or speak to one of its members.

To find out more about the Lions Clubs across the globe - there are 1.4million members worldwide - visit: https://www.lionsclubs.org/en