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Warners Bay Lions Club set to roar again in 2022

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It appears 2022 could be a watershed moment for the Warners Bay Lions Club – and the national organisation, itself.

Since its formation in Australia 75 years ago, the not-for-profit entity has grown dramatically in size and impact with more than 1,200 groups and 25,000 members “giving back” through an array of community-based programs and initiatives.

And, over the next 12 months, there’s scope to expand even further.

On 1 January, in Adelaide, Lions Australia will launch a Battery Recycling Project (BRP) that is expected to reap enormous benefits not only for the ecosystem but for individual clubs throughout the country, including Warners Bay, according to local John Farrington.

“For Lions, overall, it’s a massive, massive initiative,” he said.

“If all the clubs get involved, we can earn a lot of money, which would then allow us to put more back into our local communities.

“It’s a huge project.

“But, for us at Warners Bay, it’s a great opportunity to fly the flag, too.

“To have the chance of pre-launching it in Newcastle is a real coup.

“That’s all because we boast an established relationship with Industrial Superannuation Property Trust (ISPT).

“They own about 50 shopping centres in Australia, including Warners Bay Village.

“So, we’ve undertaken a pilot project with them before.

“In saying that, the BRP has given everyone a massive impetus moving forward.

“Personally, I think it could be the biggest thing that’s happened to Lions Australia in a decade.

“It’s giving every club in the nation an opportunity of going out and doing something fantastic for the environment – and generating a big income at the same time.

“If we raise $1,000, through a raffle for example, we’re required to spend that amount in the community.

“We can’t keep any of it.

“So, the more money we bring in through the BRP, the better off the community is.”

Mr Farrington is also hopeful the nation-wide initiative entices newcomers to the Warners Bay fold.

Unfortunately, the club’s numbers have dwindled in recent years.

“When I joined [Lions] in 1970, we had 80 members,” he said.

“In that era, the organisation was dynamic.

“However, things have changed over the past half century.

“Life’s become busy for people in general, everyone’s pre-occupied or working harder.

“I also believe many are fearful of putting their foot into the water – testing it – and becoming a volunteer.

“We’re having difficulty attracting new members, as are groups like Rotary and many other not-for-profit organisations.

“When someone leaves the club, it hits hard, no matter the reason.

“So, we desperately need new blood.

“We’ve come out of lockdown – and we’re keen to kick off a membership drive.

“Groups like Lions and Rotary are important to any community.

“I don’t think many people realise that.

“But, they’d notice it if we weren’t there.”

In fact, Mr Farrington’s a perfect advertisement for Lions and what it represents.

“It feels good to do things for others,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“There’s a great camaraderie among the members.

“We arrived in Australia from England – and I’m still gob-smacked that we could come to this beautiful country and enjoy such a fabulous lifestyle.

“So, now, it’s my time to give something back.

“I re-joined Lions 15 years ago to return the favour.

“And, I’ve never regretted it one bit.”

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