With a proud record of achievements for almost three-score years, members of the Lions Club of Bridgetown now find themselves challenged to spread their fund-raising net wider in search of the monetary injections that make their community programmes possible
While noting that the work of Barbados’ oldest Lions club still stands today in service of communities and country, Home Affairs Minister and himself a club member, Edmund Hinkson said over the weekend that in order for the charitable organization to continue projects there must be a shift towards more meaningful money gathering activities and a further strengthening of the membership base.
Hinkson shared the advice with his colleagues at the club’s 58th anniversary Charter Dinner. The club, the first on the island under the name Lion’s Club of Barbados, gave birth to a number of other clubs and evolved into its current name.
“The time-worn manner of trying to raise funds is inadequate in today’s world,” said Hinkson, the guest speaker of the function at the Sandals Resort and Spa Saturday night.
“We need to raise significantly more funds annually to furnish the needs of the people we serve.” Reflecting that Lions across the island have traditionally raised money through activities ranging from bingos to lunches and social events, the Minister pointed to international organizations that support specific causes and advised the club to tap into those sources because most of the objectives are similar to the Lions’ goals.
He pointed to the UN Women organization which supports gender-specific projects, and a number of sustainable development non-governmental organisations that are keen on funding environmentally friendly schemes. “We need to pursue wider funding. We can’t look now to the tea parties or just the bingos… because we’re doing tremendous work.”
Hinkson said that at this anniversary, Lionism in Barbados as a whole must be commended for achievements to date. He applauded the organization “for its assistance in virtually every social cause that you can think of, whether it is the cause of the visually impaired, being the founders of the Workshop for the Blind; establishment of the Chandler School around 1963 (now Challenor Arts and Creative Centre) in the name of the Lions club of Barbados; and founding the Irving Wilson school as it was then the school for the deaf”.
Among other activities he listed that touched “all ambits of service to Barbados which a government is incapable of doing”, were “feeding programmes for the poor and assistance for children at all levels; scholarships in physiotherapy at the Barbados Community College; working with persons with disabilities in many areas; health projects; the HIV Aids food bank and geriatric hospital; projects at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital; support at senior citizens homes; reading programmes for the visually impaired; working with primary and secondary schools on reading programmes; youth development; and installing fire alarms for senior citizens’ homes”.
“Together with other service organizations, this is a tribute to both the past and present members of the Lions Club of Bridgetown and to Lionism in Barbados,” he said.
Longstanding and outstanding members received a number of awards for their service. Prime among them was the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award that went to Norma Goddard. This is the highest award of the Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF), and is described as a recognition of humanitarian work. It is “an honour presented to those who donate US$1,000 to LCIF or to people for whom a donation was made by others”.
Mariam Rouse was named Lion of the Year 2017-18, “for her hard work and for introducing Dialogue in the Dark”. This project helps the public understand challenges that the blind face in going about chores that others take for granted.