Esperance Lions Club pleas for support

Members of the Esperance Lions Club at Lions Park on Goldfields Road. Photo: Jake Dietsch.
Members of the Esperance Lions Club at Lions Park on Goldfields Road. Photo: Jake Dietsch.

After decades of service to the community, a local charity is facing an uncertain future and is pleading with the public for support.

The Esperance Lions Club is down to just 17 members.

Club membership chairman Jim Hamilton said the group was getting older and needed 'young blood'.

The Esperance Lions Club was founded in 1968 and has since served the community for 51 years.

"For our club to continue we need to have new members coming in," Mr Hamilton said.

Mr Hamilton said he would like to see the club double its membership.

"Over the years it has dwindled down and dwindled down. We noticed it quite seriously last year," he said.

"A lot of members were getting older and sicker more quickly. Their partners are suffering the same thing."

The club began with 56 members when it was chartered by the Kalgoorlie Lions.

Two years later the Esperance club chartered the Ravenswood Lions Club, which eventually closed due to a lack of members.

The Esperance Lions support the community across a range of areas.

It has boosted community health through initiatives such as its sight clinics and the skin cancer bus.

The Lions have also supported local organisations including the Esperance St John Sub Centre and the Esperance RSL as well as local events such as the Esperance Agricultural Show.

The Lions also run the annual Christmas 'Carols by Candlelight' and have assisted in times of crisis, including with fire and disaster relief.

Mr Hamilton said the future of these and many other club activities was in jeopardy if more members didn't join.

"Our plea to the public is to please try and help us. If we can't get members, we won't have a club," he said.

"All I can do is ask members of the public if they can spare a couple of hours per week or even a couple of hours per month."

The Esperance Lions hold two meetings per month on the first and third Tuesday of each month at their clubhouse on Goldfields Road.

If members of the community want to assist but cannot commit to becoming a full member, they can become a 'Friend of the Lions' and help when they can with no membership cost.

For more information or to inquire about joining, community members can attend a meeting free of charge, email or call Mr Hamilton on 0488 720 427

Lions Club members must be able to attain a Working With Children card.

Esperance Volunteer Resource Centre coordinator Erica Austen said clubs who had had a steady membership base for a long time often found it challenging to maintain membership.

"They haven't been used to needing to recruit new members," she said.

Mrs Austen said research indicated the majority of people who start volunteering, did so because somebody asked them directly.

She said it was important organisations advertised that they were looking for new members, promoted the work they do in the community and were clear with what new members were signing up for.

Mrs Austen said groups such as the Lions club were crucial in communities like Esperance.

"They will often fill those gaps in getting community projects on the go, when there is not a specific agency you would expect to do that," she said.