The Kiama Lions Club has donated $2000 raised by collecting cans at the Red Hot Summer Tour concert to the local Surf Life Saving club, to help them with their community campaign to fix their deteriorating clubhouse.
Just over a dozen Lions volunteers dedicated their time at the massive music event on Saturday 6 January to help clean up and save recyclables from landfill which could then be turned into vital funds to invest in the Kiama community.
“The day itself, it took from 2 o’clock to 9 o’clock and then on the following Monday we spent around four hours taking them out to Unanderra to the recycling centre to cash them in,” Kiama Lions Return and Earn coordinator Michael Fox said.
“We were surprised and amazed at the amount of money, but we could’ve made more if we had’ve had more people, but resources are limited.”
The group, which regularly collects cans from locations around Kiama, is used to working behind the scenes, but by taking on the popular event, many from around the community and beyond began to recognise the incredible work they do.
“It has been quite amazing actually,” Michael said. “Normally we’re not seen; we’re in the background when we’re around town.
“This time we had our Kiama Lions vests on and we got maximum exposure on the day and people were amazed that we were actually doing it and that we were giving it back to charity and helping the community and other organisations.”
It even sparked an increase in interest from other locals who are also looking for a way to give back.
“We’re getting people calling us now asking to be involved, asking to join the club, asking to donate containers to us; it’s been pretty good.
“If they join the Lions Club then they can join the programs like Return and Earn, plus there’s numerous other programs we run; it’s endless – we collect stamps; we collect optical glasses; we do barbecues; the Hot Rod show in town; we do parking – there is an amazing number of things you can get involved in.”
While the Lions Club donates to a range of local organisations and causes, it has formed a strong bond with the local surf club, which has found itself particularly in need in recent months.
“We have a great relationship with the Lions Club, they’re a great bunch of people with a great work ethic around charities and supporting the local community and the Kiama surf club values that really highly,” Kiama Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) President Phil Perry said.
“They’ve not only just done this but they’ve previously also donated money to the club for the juniors to have equipment and gear that they can use in competition and things like that and to learn more skills in the surf club.”
The money will go towards the surf club’s Save Our Roof campaign, after severe weather damaged the structure last year, with the future of the space up in the air if it does not receive urgent and expensive repairs.
“If it rains, the roof can handle it, but if we get some of those big storms like we had in November and December the drainage system just can’t handle the deluge and what’s happened is, it comes inside,” Phil said.
Kiama SLSC plans to apply for a grant by the end of the month, with local politicians and Kiama Municipal Council helping to support their application.
But even if successful, the determination won’t be made until May.
“We’re a little bit in limbo,” Phil said.
In the meantime, the community has rallied behind the cause to help ensure the important volunteer organisation has the resources and facilities it needs into the future.
“It’s really blown us all away,” Phil said.
“We’re very humbled by all the support the community has given us to help us raise the funds to do what we need to do to secure the building.”
Businesses donated more than $9500 worth of prizes for a raffle which helped raise $15,000 for the club, with more still planning to organise other fundraising events or finding ways to help out.
“You just sort of just sit and pinch yourself that there’s so much support for the surf club in our area,” Phil said.
“It’s a tight-knit community and they look after each other.
“We’re very lucky; it really gets everyone in a good frame of mind and driving everyone to do their best when we’re on the beach.”
To donate to the Save Our Roof campaign visit the Kiama SLSC website.
To find out more about Kiama Lions Club visit its website.