New Lions for Taranaki pride
Don’t be fooled into thinking dwindling numbers and ageing membership could spell the demise of the Lions movement in New Plymouth, because a new club has emerged with renewed enthusiasm and a fresh attitude.
New Plymouth Central Lions was formed by members who once belonged to other Taranaki chapters, but now call the city their home.
Casual banter between the group during the Lions Clubs International 100 year celebrations in March revealed they had more than one thing in common.
‘‘What we found coming out of our convention was a number were travelling back to their home clubs and New Plymouth was now their community,’’ NP Central Lions president Charles Thurston said.
After the closure of Egmont Club in 2016, two clubs operated in the city, Pakeke and Koru. Pakeke Clubs are retired seniors and the Koru Club is a much younger set.
Neither were a perfect fit for NP Central members who have a wealth of experience gained from serving the community through a diverse range of Lions projects and activities.
‘‘We wanted to encourage new blood and we have our own energy,’’ Thurston said. ’’We wanted to create something fresh and support the New Plymouth Koru Club, but at the same time without having a bunch of strong experienced Lions wreck a youthful club that’s got its own individual culture.’’
What sealed the new club deal was their common vision for the future. ’’We want to get back to the grassroots of Lions,’’ Thurston said.
The newbies aren’t leaving their fate to chance, forming a strategy of projects to lead throughout the year.
‘‘We have picked up the Christmas Parade and want to tweak it and really lift its value, ‘‘ said projects lead Frank Bennett.
‘‘We see it as a shop window for the volunteer groups, schools, sports clubs and the like and it’s a chance for them to show the rest of the community what they are all about.
‘‘Our general approach was to go for the short-term initiatives helping the community in a practical sense. It could range from helping seniors shift firewood off their driveway, or helping other organisations during charity events by providing feet on the ground.’’
Exciting times ahead for new Lions Club say president Charles Thurston and Frank Bennett.