Making a Difference

Especially in this year of Covid-19 which has wiped all of our programme right through to the end of June 2021, it is important to mark the highlights of the year so keep the feeling that we are making a difference.  It is worth noting here that for various reasons we have been unable to get involved in most of the activities planned for this period simply because of consideration for the personal situation of many of our members and , of course, the restrictions imposed by central government in their attempt to control the spread of the virus. 

Please note this Blog is in reverse chronological order:

April 2021:  This was even quieter but in the background we have been working on the programme for our next fiscal year which starts at the beginning of July 2021.   There are still quite a few unknowns even then despite the expectation that all restrictions, including possibly social distancing, might be lifted by then. Our next batch of incoming officers are undergoing training for their new roles and some of us attended our National Convention on 1st May.

March 2021:  A quieter month but we have made a donation of £100 towards an appeal headed up by our current District Governor’s lady, Manjit Kular, for Diabetes – one of our five Global Causes.  We have also made a donation of £200 to St. Helena Hospice in memory of the brother of one of our members who has generous assisted us with our fundraising efforts.  On 13th March a number of our members attended our District’s first digital Convention to learn about Projects old and new and elect officers for the next Lionistic year.  It was a novel experience but a successful Convention nonetheless. 

February 2021:  Following our February Meeting – virtual of course – we have made a total of £1,100 of new donations.  £250 is going to our Lions Clubs International Foundation to provide aid following the massive earthquake in Croatia; £500 is going to Tendring Eldercare to help fund food parcels to those who are in need and lastly £350 to St, John’s and St. Mark’s Churches in Clacton to assist with funding the help they are providing to families in need and struggling to feed their children especially in school holidays and during lockdown.

January 2021:  We started off the new Calendar Year by launching our latest Quiz Sheet raising funds for our Charity Account .  Currently this is only available online and via Club Members.  Sales are currently growing and entries have been received.  We have also made a donation of £200 towards FoodCycle Clacton who provide a three course lunch on a Monday at the Baptist Church in Clacton for those in need. Unfortunately because of the current Lockdown and the prospect of restrictions only being withdrawn slowly until teh summer, at the earliest, we have cancelled all public activities until 1st July.

December 2020:  During this month we became more involved in the Veteran’s Breakfast Club’s planned Christmas Lunch by helping organise the team of volunteers who would deliver the Lunches on Christmas Day.  Some of these volunteers were members of our Club and their families.  It was a successful operation and much appreciated by those who received the lunches.

November 2020:   In response to a further request, we increased our donation to the Veteran’s Breakfast Club in Clacton for their planned Christmas Lunch by a further £450.  We handed over used printer cartridges to the East Anglian Children’s Hospices sufficient for them to raise £1,250 and sent off donated used hearing aids to be recycled.  Lastly we donated £200 each to the five Foodbanks in our area (Brightlingsea, Clacton, Harwich, Manningtree and Walton on the Naze) to help with their Christmas support for those in need.

October 2020:    Having received a request for help we made a donation of £500 to the Veteran’s Breakfast Club in Clacton to help with their planned Christmas Lunch.  The latest information from our Lions Clubs International Foundation is that in response to the Covid-19 pandemic they have awarded 343 Grants totalling US$5,187,097.

September 2020:   We held our first mainstream fund-raising activity by having a stand at a Car Boot Sale which raised £210. Two of our members raised £150 for Macmillan by baking pasties which members and friends purchased.  Through a top-up from a donor and the Club a total of £250 was sent to Macmillan Cancer Support.

August 2020:  Not long after the replacement defibrillator been fitted, we received a phone call from a First Responder in Brentwood to say he had discovered he had our defibrillator which had been passed to him by Colchester Hospital having been liberated from its home by ambulance personnel although not actually used on a patient.  It was subsequently delivered back to us and is now awaiting a new home.

July 2020:  As our investigations into the disappearance of the defibrillator had drawn a blank, the Club took the decision to purchase a replacement device and this was quickly in place.  At the end of June, Lions Clubs International announced that members had surpassed the target for numbers of people served throughout the world by more than 37% with a total in excess of 275 million people served. 

June 2020:  We held our first online Business Meeting this month as it was the end of our financial year and there were various issues to be agreed of which one of the most important was the theoretical programme for the year starting on 1st July. As restrictions began to be eased, certain activities such as supplying Message in a Bottle Kits and emptying our recycling bins started up again.  Donations totalling £1,050 were made to four organisations that we support on a five year cycle.

May 2020:     Lions Clubs International Foundation have been assisting areas throughout the world ever since the Covid-19 crisis hit the world.  The central organisation for Lions Clubs in the United Kingdom made a grant application to the Foundation for funds to assist all the Air Ambulances operating in the UK.  A total of £161,468 was received which was distributed to the 20 Air Ambulance charities in the UK for the purchase of PPE.

April 2020:    We made donations of £250 to Tendring Eldercare to fund the provision of food parcels to those in need and of £250 each to the Clacton, Walton, Brightlingsea and Harwich Foodbanks.  The last four were funded by a grant from Charitable Funds held by the central organisation for Lions Clubs in the United Kingdom.

March 2020:  This month started well with two days collecting a spectacular £1,252.25 for Marie Curie.  We had a change of President for our March meeting which was followed that weekend by our District’s first Convention covering the new much larger area and where the previous year’s President’s scrapbook won the Scrapbook Competition.  Two days later came the national Lockdown due to Covid-19 and we had to suspend all our planned events including meetings and social events.  However, a week later we started a weekly session of short meetings online to provide social contact for our members, several of whom were either shielding or self-isolation.

Also, as Lockdown hit us, we became aware that the Defibrillator we had installed outside ‘Tom Peppers’ by the Pier Gap had disappeared although the cabinet was not damaged just left open.  Investigations as to what had happened to the machine started which proved fruitless.

February 2020:  The highlights of this month were a Valentine’s Barn Dance which raised £223 and then a Quiz Night for Clacton Carnival Association which raised £428.60 for their funds.

January 2020:  Our two main events in January included a Big Quiz Night to raise monies for the Charity Appeal of the Chairman of Tendring District Council which raised £690.13.  The other event was our Annual Presentation Night when we give away the bulk of the monies raised over the pre-Christmas period, a total of £7.975 with the largest donations going to the Clacton Branch of the RNLI (£3,650); Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust and Lions Clubs International Foundation’s disaster relief to fire ravaged parts of Australia (both £1,000).