CHRISTCHURCH Lions Club have announced that they are to close due to a lack of recruitment.

After 53 years of being in operation, the volunteer club will close with effect from Wednesday, December 4.

In a statement published on the group’s website, President Josey Carpenter said: “Like so many voluntary organisations, we have struggled to recruit new members in recent years and have now reached the stage where we simply do not have enough people to safely, and effectively, run our fund-raising events.

“Making the decision to close was not easy but, without an ability to raise funds, a Lions Club cannot serve its community and ceases to have a purpose.”

During its time, the Lions’ volunteers have raised around £10,000 a year for causes in the Christchurch area through events such as their monthly Car Boot Sales on Stanpit Recreation Ground, the annual Duck Race and their Family Fun Day on The Quomps.

Former president and current group member Bernard Gilbert said: “Frankly we just haven’t got enough people to raise the money anymore.

“We aren’t alone in this problem, as Rotary Clubs and Round Table Clubs are suffering as well.

“The world is not what it was. For people who are doing a sponsored activity or a one-off event, most people doing small scale fundraisers or starting Just Giving pages as it is a short-term commitment. Being part of a Lions Club or Rotary Club, the commitment is longer term and people struggle to commit to that.”

Christchurch Lions is part of the International Association of Lions Clubs, the largest voluntary service organisation in the world. There are 1.35 million members in 206 countries. Every penny raised is donated to charitable causes.

The Christchurch Lions Club host a range of community events raising money for many local projects.

The club recently held its Family Fun Day on The Quomps on August Bank Holiday Monday where they raised money for local BH23 charities. Christchurch Lions presented 22,423 used stamps to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance to help their charity.

The Lion’s Club at Christchurch regularly held a raffle for giant Easter eggs to raise money for the Macmillan Unity at Christchurch Hospital. This year they raised £623.96 for the charity.

The club has also donated to Somerford Youth and Community Centre and Somerford ARC’s adapt café and helped install defibrillators in the area.

Bernard continues: “Over the last six or seven years, we have just been recruiting to cover our loses with people passing away or moving on.

“For the car boot sales that we host, we need a minimum of 12 people to run and we only have 13 members. That is why last Sunday’s car boot sale will be the last fundraising event that the club will host.

“We have given ourselves three months to close our books and get ourselves ready to close on December 4.”