The Warkworth Lions Club, which meets at Warkworth RSA twice a month, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Warkworth Lions Club celebrates 50 years of supporting the community this year by embarking on a new series of local projects.
Warkworth president Peter Henderson says the club has spent about $1 million dollars and contributed thousands of volunteer hours to projects in Mahurangi.
The latest will be a ‘food rescue centre’, based out of the Warkworth Court House on Elizabeth Street, which has been empty since 2013.
The project is a collaboration between the Warkworth, Wellsford and Kowhai Lions and the Warkworth Rotary and provisional Rotary club, Mahurangi Sunrise.
“It’s one of the first collaborations of its kind in the country,” Peter says.
An agreement has been signed with the Ministry of Justice, which manages the building, and Ngati Manuhiri, which owns the building.
“It’s about taking expired food and produce from markets and supermarkets and making sure it goes to those in need.”
The groups will work with local social agencies, churches and schools to distribute the goods.
“We’ve got fridges and freezers going in now and we hope to be up and running in a month.”
The club is also embarking on playground upgrade projects in Warkworth, which will be announced later this year.
Since 1966, the club has supported a long list of projects, including forming Lucy Moore Memorial Park and building the Kowhai Park walkway, building the Warkworth wharf and waterfront playground and working on Camp Bentzon on Kawau Island.
David Little has been a member of Warkworth Lions for 40 years and says the club is a great way to contribute to the community.
“If you live and work here, you put something back in, and it’s a fun way to give back.”
But Peter says one of the best parts of the club is the support network it provides.
“I moved here five years ago and it’s been a great way to meet like-minded, community-orientated people.”
The club is focusing on broadening its membership to include more young people.
“It’s an aging club in an aging area, but it’s not an old men’s club,” Peter says.
The first woman joined the club six years ago and it now has six female members.
“It’s been really good for the club and has given it a better sense of humour, I think,” David says.
While other clubs are declining in size, membership in Warkworth has remained steady at about 30.
“At clubs in the city they’ve had to merge with neighbouring clubs, whereas it’s strong up here,” Peter says.
The biggest threat to the club’s work is red tape, as everything from a sausage sizzle to a market stall requires paper work and certifications.
“It’s got difficult,” Peter says. “Now we are looking to help other groups to deliver projects.”
The club meets twice a month, with a business meeting on the first Tuesday of the month and a dinner at the RSA on the third Tuesday of the month, with a guest speaker.
The club is celebrating with a lunch at Mahurangi College on July 9, which the district governor will attend, along with about 200 people.