The initiative, targeted at time-poor residents who cannot commit to the traditional requirements of the service club, is a first of its kind for the Lions in the south west and could become a model for other struggling service clubs.
Without it, the 70-year old club will almost certainly fold, said Lions Club District Chairman John Mitchell.
“There’s no hiding that fact, it would have almost certainly happened already,” he said. “The chapter had intended to put a letter in, closing the club down on the 30th of June and I informed them, as membership chairman, that I was advising the Membership District Governor to refuse that request.
“In the end the letter wasn’t sent because they re-thought the whole matter. This is a club that is over 50 years old and we didn’t want to lose them.
“If it did fold we would have had to start again and to do that we need 20 members and it would be quite an ask to get that many,” said Mr Mitchell.
Under the new plan, face-to-face meetings will be less frequent and there will be a reduced onus on members to attend every event and fundraiser. The club’s webpage, Facebook and other social media will be used to flesh out available volunteers as each event arises.
“This should appeal to progressive, relatively time poor local residents,” Mr Mitchell said. “Obviously we are looking for progressive, motivated community members to be part of what is to be a new concept, the details of which will be decided by the membership as a group, after the expected reformation.”
“If we can get just another four or five members even it would rejuvenate the club. The current members are tired and they’re not getting younger. They’d like some younger blood in the club, not necessarily to o all the work but to help out where they can."
Mr Mitchell said the crisis in volunteers was being felt by service groups across the state, although in recent times that trend has been reversing in small communities.
“All volunteer groups are facing this shortage, not just Lions and Rotary, but I think having gone through a whole generation of people who have been adverse to joining we are starting to see young people joining again, particularly in country towns.”
Locally the Lions Club is involved in and raises money for several local and international causes including providing the lights for the Point Lonsdale Christmas Tree, community BBQ’s and catering for the Cottage By The Sea.
Any person over the age of 18 years old can join.
An information sessions for locals wishing to add their name to the Lions volunteer list will be held at Lombardy’s Restaurant on Thursday October 6th at 7pm.
“We are hoping that residents of Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale will perceive a value to the community provided by the Lions Club of Queenscliff/Point Lonsdale and will make the decision to join up and see that this service continues,” Mr Mitchell said.