Bantry Bay Lions Club recently lent its support to a suicide bereavement initiative – just one of many projects that have benefited from their backing since 2005 writes Brian Moore
The principle of supporting the people of the local community is the foundation on which every Lions Club is built, and nowhere is this more evident than Bantry Bay Lions Club (BBLC).
This principle was very much to the fore recently when members of BBLC decided to lend a helping hand and support to those suffering bereavement through suicide.
‘We were happy to help in anyway we could,’ Bantry Bay Lions member Nora Lynch told The Southern Star. ‘The HSE along with other support services and groups have launched a new booklet entitled Lighting the Way – West Cork, which provides information and support to those who are faced with the pain and trauma of a suicide in their family. Bantry Bay Lions Club will continue to do all we can to support not only our local community but any and all worthwhile causes,’ Nora continued.
For Nora, this request for assistance from the Health Service Executive (HSE) had personal significance as she has suffered a bereavement through suicide in her family.
Now Nora and her fellow Lions are in the process of setting up a support group for bereaved families living in the Bantry Bay area.
The members of BBLC are no strangers to fundraising for, and supporting, various charities and community groups.
Founded in 2005 by Ernie Lewis, the club – the first in the Bantry area – has now grown to 24 members. ‘Over the years we have formed solid partnerships with local representatives of the Red Cross, St Vincent De Paul, West Cork Development Partnership, ICA and Defibrillator Groups as well as other community groups across the bay area,’ BBLC president Eileen O’Shea said.
‘Since 2005 our club has gathered momentum and has been involved in numerous local fundraising and project assistance.’
Some of those projects included support for the Palliative Care Unit at Bantry General Hospital, fundraising for the Red Cross for a new ambulance, providing funds for Bantry Inshore Search and Rescue, as well as the annual Christmas Food Appeal to name just a few.
‘We also work to provide support for international charities and relief agencies. We have an ongoing collection of eyeglasses at three locations in Bantry town (hospital, library and Support to the Palliative Care Unit) resulting in thousands of pairs being sent to Third World countries to assist the sight impaired. We have also worked to help with funding for international earthquake and flood relief efforts in Pakistan, Haiti, Thailand, New Zealand, Japan and Indonesia,’ Eileen continued.
The BBLC is also very involved with the development and promotion of young entrepreneurship with Transition Year students taking part in the Intel Youth Enterprise Ideation Camp.
‘Transition Year Students at Beara Community School were challenged to think “outside the box” by developing and using problem solving techniques, solutions based ideas and collaborative working skills to find innovative ways to tackle one of the most intractable problems currently facing European countries – the scourge of youth unemployment. We were delighted to be involved and look forward to supporting other events like this in the future,’ Eileen said.
However, the members of the BBLC are always looking for ways to support their community in anyway they can. ‘The success of any club cannot be achieved without the support of the local community. Over the years, the people of Bantry and the surrounding area have been extremely generous with their contributions of money and time. The club must also continue to grow its membership to maintain and even improve that success. To this end, the Bantry Bay Lions are always looking at recruiting new members. As a Lions club member, you’ll join a local group of service-minded men and women who are doing volunteer work to support your community. You’ll also become a member of Lions Clubs International, a respected international organisation, a leader in your community and a friend to people in need,’ Eileen said.
• If you are interested in becoming a member of the Bantry Bay Lions Club, you are cordially invited to their monthly meeting at the Bantry Tourist Office at 7pm on the second Thursday of the month or you can call Eileen O’Shea at 085-8701268.
To learn more about the Bantry Bay Lions Club you can visit their website at www.bantrybaylions.com.