Dartford Lions Club – Challenges 2020/21
Having been introduced to Lionism in 2014, I, like many others, have always been keen to work within the community enhancing the lives of individuals less fortunate than myself.
So as you can imagine, when the opportunity to become the president of Dartford Lions Club was offered to me, I welcomed it with open arms!
Little did I know (or anyone know) what challenges lay ahead of us!
The first of the challenges was in July when I took over the role of president, previous years have been a more formal setting with members, food, drinks and socialising.
This year our members tried to make the event equally as special for me even though it was held on Zoom, the evening was capped off by a glass of bubbly and my wife putting the presidential chain on me.
Through the course of the meetings which lay ahead, we were having to make decisions such as cancel your Carousel and summer festivals/fetes etc so basically our summer fundraising had fallen victim to Covid19.
With requests from individuals and organisations for support still coming through each month, fundraising was obviously a major concern for the club. With our new website now fully functional we began to promote online donations. We felt the need to modernise our fundraising and shifted to online engagement, including setting up an online opportunity to receive donations, early days, but, has raised over £300, we also looked at other new opportunities for fundraising and 30 new brightly coloured collection boxes (in Lions colour) have been hand delivered to various retailers throughout Dartford.
Our support from the community is such that a very well known local DJ and quizmaster contacted us to help raise funds for the club. DJ Travis hosted an online quiz night for us giving us a real boost by raising almost £500 in one night, building on the success of our June event run by one of our members. Our continued support for the Greenhithe Community Cafe and Mary’s Child has allowed these two ‘hubs’ within the local community to flourish. Its facilities, like these which play a tremendous role in developing and maintaining strong communities. As a charity, its very rewarding for us to see and hear of the positive impact groups such as these are having on the lives of families.
After 49 years, our biggest fundraiser, our bonfire and fireworks night was having to be cancelled, we looked at various ways to hold some type of display, even online, but sadly
it was not safe to go ahead. The Club wanted to support Kindness Day, a local business supported us with drinks and snacks to give out to the public on the day, this too has had to be postponed, we will hold it at the first opportunity we have. In recent years, we have revived ‘Santa and his Sleigh’ . This event too has been sponsored by a local business, but yet became another victim of Covid19.
Fortunately we were still able to support the Dartford Toy Appeal, as in previous years, we were still able to bring a smile to the faces of our younger community members. Over the years we have been very fortunate to have another GREAT neighbouring club at Northfleet & Ebbsfleet Lions, between us, I can confidently say “Both of our clubs are pleased to be making a difference to the lives of our local community”.
Without mentioning any names or singling out individual members, I consider myself to be very privileged to be President of such a wonderful organisation, with amazing talented individuals whom each have their own way of supporting each other (and me) through each of the many challenges which I/we have faced in 2020.
Going into 2021, we aim to continue our work on all levels at a time when I feel that we are now needed more than ever by our community.