It has been reported in today’s Christchurch Times (6 February 2020) that the Bournemouth Branch of the Lions Club has ‘adopted’ the Christchurch Branch, which until last year’s closure had been in existence for 53 years. It is now the Bournemouth and Christchurch Lions Club.
Pamela White, Club Secretary, said,
‘The Bournemouth Club was approached by our district management team to see if it was possible to encompass the Christchurch area, as the Bournemouth Club is pretty active. The reason why we decided to include the Christchurch area is because five of our current members are from Christchurch and my husband and I were members of the Christchurch Lions, so we still have links to the area.
‘We are waiting for the Council to approve them, but we are confident they will go through so we can start putting things in place for this year.’
These could include the Stanpit Recreation ground car boot sales (see header image), the August Duck Race, and the Fun Day on the Quomps.
It was reported in the Christchurch Times (September 12, 2019) – read the online version – that the Lions’ Club is to cease. They have been in operation for over half a century, but the lack of volunteers has meant that it is not safe to be a presence in events.
The President, Josey Carpenter, said, ‘Like so many voluntary organisations, we have struggled to recruit new members in recent years and have now reached the stage where we simply do not have enough people to safely and effectively run our fundraising events. Making the decision to close was not easy but, without an ability to raise funds, a Lions Club cannot serve its community and ceases to have a purpose.’
Annually they raised about £10,000 for local causes, including the regular car boot sales on Stanpit Recreation ground, the famous Duck Race, and the Family Fun Day on The Quomps.
Group member and former President Bernard Gilbert said, ‘Frankly we just haven’t got enough people to raise the money any more. We aren’t alone in this problem, as Rotary Clubs and Round Table Clubs are suffering as well.
The world is not what it was. Most people are doing small-scale fundraisers to starting just giving pages as it is a short-term commitment. Being part of a Lions Club or Rotary Club, the commitment is longer term and people struggle to commit to that.
Over the last six or seven years we have just been recruiting to cover our losses with people passing away or moving on. We have given ourselves three months to close our books and get ourselves ready.’