Lions Roar for the Knaresborough Community During Covid Pandemic
Knaresborough Lions played a role in the various programmes staged to help people during the Covid pandemic. As a club for community-minded volunteers, we have been keen to carry out such duties as we can.
Lions contributed to the setting up of Knaresborough Connectors, the group which has spearheaded action to help those made poor and vulnerable by the pandemic. Connectors is a cooperative project between different community organisations and individuals, and has been praised for its high-level of activity during this difficult time.
A key focus has been to bring aid to those whose only recourse was to self-isolate. “It has been a shuddering experience for everybody,” says president of Knaresborough Lions Mike Pyle. “But for the elderly and those with serious underlying health issues, the periods of lockdowns have been especially traumatic.”
Cooperating with Connectors’ lead, Lions worked to stay in touch with the most vulnerable. We have made many calls to people, who otherwise would have been mostly on their own, reminding them that others have them in their thoughts. “We rang people every few weeks to help them cope,” said Lion Mike. “Many of our volunteers were out doing people’s shopping and supplying donated food and household items. Right at the beginning, we delivered free copies of the Knaresborough Post at the request of local councillors.
“Anything that we felt we could do to lighten the load during these exceptionally challenging times,” he said.
In addition, Knaresborough Lions were amongst the volunteers who helped out at the vaccination centres set up around the district. The main focus was at the centre at the Great Yorkshire Showground, where reports say the effort has been enormously successful. Up to 180,000 vaccine jabs have been administered there. A total of 39 six-hour sessions at the Showground were supported by Connectors’ Knaresborough volunteer team in the period up to late June, when the centre was handed back to the Showground’s owners and the vaccination effort came to an end. Knaresborough Silver Band (pictured below) played out the volunteers at the final vaccination session. Lions also lent a hand at the vaccination centre at the Ripon Racecourse.
The setting up of the testing operation for secondary school pupils at King James’s School, carried out in March 2021, was another project helped by volunteers from Lions.
During 2021, Zolsha Restaurant has been generously providing free meals to help families in need stranded by lost incomes and other factors. This is continuing. The Lions are assisting by coordinating between the restaurant and King James’ School to identify those most in need. Lions are also delivering the free meals on Wednesday evenings, about 250 of which have been provided to-date.
The club exists to raise funds and provide service to those in need. The fund-raising effort, usually centred on the annual Bed Race and Beer Festival activities, has been severely curtailed. However, thanks to our success in past years, we have been able to continue to make donations to individuals and worthy causes where we can.
How much longer the concerns of Covid will remain acute, and how many further lockdowns will be needed, are a matter of conjecture. But Knaresborough Connectors, supported by the Lions club, will continue to provide assistance wherever it can. As conditions gradually return to normal, Knaresborough Lions are hoping to see many of those who have contributed so far to the voluntary effort to continue to help.
“Hopefully, many will become Lions,” said Lion president Mike Pyle. “The Lions Club’s doors are always open and we are happy to welcome anyone who wishes to join and learn more about our organisation. Please get in touch by calling Martin on 07811518900 or by sending a message via the website to find out more."