Small Lions Club has big reach

St John Winton are one of the many community services that have benefited from a donation from the Central Southland Lions Club. Dorothy Dyer (second left) and Joan Hodges presented (from left) Cary Grant, Alastair McLees and Ants Hamilton with a donation

Their numbers may be smaller than other Lions Clubs in the district but the Central Southland Lions Club has a big reach.

The Central Southland Lions Club has only 10 women members but they have made a marked contribution to numerous community groups and charities in the area every year. 

Central Southland Lions Club secretary Joan Hodges said when they first started around 1992 they were called the 'Lioness' club before changing the name. Lioness Clubs were women-only groups open to those over the age of 18 and were first established in North Carolina, USA in 1975.

"We still have three original members. We started off with 30-odd and now we're down to 10."

Because the group had reduced in size, meetings now took place at member's homes, each taking turns at hosting and choosing the guest speaker. 

Member Dorothy Dyer said they were happy being a wee group, and used to have meetings at various locations in Winton including Adagio cafe and Central Southland Lodge before deciding to change venues.

The group gives donations mainly in the Central Southland district, with the likes of St John, the Central Southland Swimming Pool Committee, Blind Foundation, Youthline, and Hospice being a few of the many to receive support from the club over the years.

"We've catered for weddings and afternoon teas, golf tournaments," Mrs Dyer said.

"If people have a (house) fire we give them a donation of some kind," Mrs Hodges said.

The club members often visit schools to read to the children, drive for daycare, do meals on wheels and even knitting for the birthing unit. Three particularly good events for the club are the garage sale, raffle on Winton Open Day and concert featuring local performers.

"We raised over $1000 at the first one. The performers like coming out here, they like the hall. We like to try to help the community. For just 10 people I think we do pretty well," Mrs Hodges said.

After being involved in the club for a long time, both women believed another positive was the strong sense of fellowship and friendship they got from each other.

"Everybody is very enthusiastic, which is good," Mrs Hodges said.

St John Winton received a donation from the Central Southland Lions Club on Monday (August 6) and will enjoy an afternoon tea with them and other contributors to their cause at the weekend.


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