21 May 2021

Bega Lions Club has served town for 61 years but is now desperate for new members

| Albert McKnight
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Bega Lions Club.

The Bega Lions Club volunteers have been a regular sight around Bega, but the club is now struggling for members. Photo: Bega Lions Club Facebook page.

Having served the community for more than six decades, the Bega Lions Club is in danger of closing without recruiting new members.

Club secretary Bryson Banfield said only 17 members were in the group – including three over the age of 80 – which was a small number to do a large job.

“We desperately need new members for the club to continue to function,” he said.

Bega Lions have a proud history in the town having formed 61 years ago.

“It has been a strong club for many years, but it’s just in the last couple of years, the same as any other service group in town, it’s struggled for volunteers,” Mr Banfield said.

He said the current volunteers were getting older while younger people did not appear to have much spare time to become involved.

“We’ve all been through those things so we completely understand where they are coming from,” he said.

A lack of new members was not just a local problem either and was a widespread issue affecting many Lions clubs.

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But Mr Banfield said if younger people joined up then they could look back at projects they were involved in around town and tell themselves “we did that”.

He said in the early days the Bega Lions were instrumental in setting up disability service provider Tulgeen, creating Lions Park on Ravenswood Street and planting the row of poplar trees along Bega Street.

Over the last 20 years club members had created a cycleway around town, completed the skatepark, planted trees out to Tarraganda and obtained a $124,000 grant from Lions International to go towards the carers accommodation at the South East Regional Hospital.

They have donated to locals suffering from multiple sclerosis to help them get to Russia for treatment and last year gave $22,500 to various causes.

Also, Bega members support a nursing scholarship and a high-achieving TAFE apprentice, as well as the Volunteer Rescue Association and the PCYC.

Then there is, of course, the Australia Day breakfast the club has run for about 25 years.

Mr Banfield said if Bega did not have a Lions Club it would be missing out.

“The club has achieved a lot and we’re very proud of what we’ve done,” he said.

Benefits from being in the club include the fellowship that comes from working together, making new friends and getting satisfaction from doing something to help the community.

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Mr Banfield said the Lions had been established in Australia for a long time and the club was the largest community service group in the world.

“If you look at each of the groups individually, they’ve all made a contribution to making the area what it is,” he said.

The Bega Lions will have a meeting from 6pm on 8 June at the Bega Thai Restaurant for people looking to join the club who want to hear what the group can offer.

If you want to attend, contact Mr Banfield on [email protected] or 0429 921 921. You can also message their Facebook page.

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