Sunday 18/10 about 80 Lions met at the St. Johns Hotel in Solihull. A most interesting program was presented that was worked through on a tight schedule.
After the welcome by Ian Haffner, last years DG, we were welcomed by our current DG, Heather Jeavons. It was followed by a presentation about Food Hygiene rules by Lion Ray Stephens. Summarising, when food and/or drink is part of an activity, all allergens have to be known of the foods/drinks involved, so people can be informed in case they have an allergy. In the kitchen were food is prepared has to be a sink for washing hands and the building were food is served needs to have a bathroom. Ideally, these rules are also to be kept for Lions activities which do not include the public. When using outside caterers, we are still responsible and need to check if the foods supplied are according the rules. Ideally there should be someone in charge who has a Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate. Perhaps someone has that in the club, if not, someone can easily get such a certificate. The course is online. Lions has a code which gives a discount on the examination fee. Ask Ray for the code.
David Blakeman, secretary of Balsall Common Lions, gave an overview of the use of MyLCI, the online tool secretaries need to use for recording the club’s activities etc. This seems to frighten some clubs, but David claims he did not start to use a computer till he joined Lions, but the way he talked, the use of this program is a walk in the park and lightens the load of the secretary. DG Heather, who is also secretary of her club, agreed with that. On top of that, proper filling in of the data, gives her a valuable tool in checking how the District is doing.
Martin Hill talked about the new set up of the charity structure of Lions Clubs in MD105. It is called CIO, meaning Charitable incorporated organisation. This means that the club as a whole can be a charity, rather than a part. It is a change and like all change, it might be difficult to understand exactly the ins and outs straight away, but it is an improvement and more money will be available for our work.
Joy Haffner gave a short summary of her charity project of last year, which actually continues. She raised £17,000 and received also $3,000 from Past Int. Pres. Joe Preston. He visited SIFA Fireside and was very impressed. Joy is now organising Lions branded backpacks with contents. The current DG Partner appeal is at the B’ham Children where we raise funds to make the room were a big MRI scanner is, more child friendly. This is done by electronic wizardry, were children can design the room colours, play music, watch movies, all dictated by a tablet computer they can hold. It will make the children more relaxed and results in better scans, less scans and other positive results that make the affair not only better for the child, but also make the room more productive. Talk about Win, Win.
After lunch Mandy Broadbent, National PR officer introduced the PR Toolkit. It can be found here: http://lionsclubs.co/MembersNews/pr-and-marketing/ It has a wealth of information. Templates for posters, explains how to set up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and much more. Have a look and you will never worry how to prepare a poster for your event.
A radio journalist from Radio H FM from Market Harborough explained what you need to get mentioned by the local press. Main lessons are: Try to get a direct name from a local correspondent and direct emails to him directly. Repeat emails if you do not get an answer. Straight the reason for your email in the first line, explain afterwards what you are. He also did some test interviews with a few members of the public.
This was followed by a great presentation from the team that prepares the March District Convention. I can only say, book now before the rooms run out. It is going to be a great event. Ask John Barnes for a registration form: firstname.lastname@example.org
A question time type forum under the leadership of Stewart Sherman-Khan was a good opportunity to ask questions to Simon Moss, Brigitte Green, Heather Jeavons and Andy Pemberton. It was a good way of covering a kind of Any other business.
Congratulations to the team that organised this event. It was an excellent day.