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Report from Lions Convention 2014


Report from Lions Ireland Convention 2014

Lions Clubs throughout Ireland are to join in the battle against juvenile obesity.

Liam Lyons, District Governor of the country's 110 Lions Clubs said on Friday 7th. March, that Lions would use social media to encourage young people to attend the Diabetes Screening sessions, which the clubs organise throughout Ireland.

'We will also encourage parents to bring their teenage sons and daughters to the screenings', he said.

Speaking in advance of Lions Clubs 45th Annual Convention which took place at the Talbot Hotel, Wexford, District Governor Lyons said that obesity among young people has emerged as a major health issue and is closely linked to Lions Diabetes Screening activity. 'If we are to make a meaningful contribution to preventing the onset of diabetes among the next generation, we must make every effort to encourage young people to avail of Diabetes Screening, by actively marketing the service to them through social media', he said.

Speaking about Lions service to the community, he said that Lions International is a totally voluntary organisation in which every cent collected from the public goes directly and entirely to the causes it supports and the projects which it undertakes.

'In this regard Lions stands as a beacon to the voluntary sector, setting for itself Best Practice standards in everything we do and funding all administration from the personal resources of members. If our Government is looking for a model on which the voluntary sector could also achieve Best Practice- then it need look no further than Lions International', he said.

Lions Clubs, he said, must also be aware of 'the phenomenon of the ageing society within which we live'

'We are truly grateful that more of us are living longer, but we are also a population with incremental health needs with more and more people depending on the services of carers for their quality of life. In the true spirit of volunteerism, an estimated 187,000 family members act as voluntary carers in Ireland. These family carers are the 'unsung heroes' of our community, providing high levels of care in the home to loved ones who are highly dependent, including frail older people, people with severe disabilities or chronic illness, the terminally ill and children with special needs.

Recent years have brought many additional difficulties to family carers. They have been hit by numerous cuts to their income and services and yet they continue to provide over 3.5 million hours of care per week in their homes, saving the state an estimated 4 billion each year. As such, they are the backbone of our health services and must be recognised for their tremendous contribution and roles within our society.

I believe that in the future more of our work will be devoted to serving our senior citizens and those who care for them. We have made an excellent beginning through our Carers Weekends and I hope that we can build on this initiative in the future. The Government's National Carers Strategy published in 2012, which promises to value, recognise and empower family is a worthwhile initiative, but it will only produce real benefits when it is fully implemented- and we appear to be some distance from that goal. Meanwhile we in Lions must redouble our efforts to support Voluntary Carers throughout the island of Ireland'.

Governor Lyons said that while our Senior Citizens are of immediate concern, the future of this country lies with our young people. 'Growing up in Ireland today is a generation which is better nourished, better educated and more cherished than any generation in our long history. These are the young people who will shape the Ireland of the coming decades. They are possessed with boundless potential and creativity, but these gifts must be nurtured and developed. Lions are providing such encouragement and incentive through the Ideation Camps which we organise in conjunction with Intel.

'While it would be wonderful to describe Young Ireland as a happy, contented, healthy generation, we know only too well, this is not a reality. Far too many young people are lost to suicide and there is little sign of a lessening of this profound on-going tragedy. Lions are working to save young lives from suicide through our information project and by working closely with many organisations. We need to intensify this work and to involve every Lions Club in our District. Saving even one young life would make all the work worthwhile. Our Lions Suicide Prevention Programme has the potential to save many'.

Delegates from 110 Lions Clubs throughout Ireland are attended the Wexford Convention where the Guest of Honour will be Barry Palmer, International President of Lions International.

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