Appeal for new members to join South Downs Lions club amid fears for its future

Fears are growing for the future of Chanctonbury Lions Club.

The club - which was first formed in 1959 - has run a weekly mobile second-hand book shop in Storrington every Saturday and regularly attends local fetes, fairs and festivals.

Chanctonbury Lions mobile book service SUS-200115-131119001

Chanctonbury Lions mobile book service SUS-200115-131119001

It has raised many thousands of pounds for good causes over the years - but it is now being forced to cut back its activities because of a lack of members.

Its Storrington mobile book store will now be held fortnightly instead of weekly and club members will be reducing the number of fetes and fairs they attend.

Spokesman Phil Abbott said: “We now have only nine active members and we have had to scale back our activities.”

He said the club was in desperate need of new members. “When I joined 30 years ago we had over 40 members and a waiting list but we’ve had a gradual deterioration in membership for lots of reasons.

“It’s the same for a number of other charities.

“We have had to cut back on our fundraising because we haven’t the resources to do more.”

He said the Lions would continue to attend Steyning Farmers Market once a month and would continue providing a book service at Pulborough Station.

But he appealed for more people to come forward and join the organisation - part of Lions Clubs International. In a recent two-year period the club raised more than £40,000 from the sale of pre-used books, cds, dvds and records.

He said the main problem in recruiting new members was the competition for people’s time with other charitable services also seeking members.

But, he added, “Everyone suffers if, at some point, we actually fold.”

Anyone who wants to join Chanctonbury Lions can contact Phil Abbott on 01903 213636.

Over the past year, Chanctionbury Lions have helped to support a number of organisations including Auntie Val’s Kitchen, Storrington; Friends of Meadowside; A local young person volunteering in a deprived area of Nepal;

Thakeham Pre-school; Storrington Cricket Club; The Mary How Trust, Pulborough; Turning Tides, Worthing; Chestnut Tree House Hospice; St Barnabas Hospice; and Chanctonbury Playschool in Ashington.