Santa has been as busy as ever with all the young visitors who have come to see him at his busiest time of year. Here’s a few photos that some of the parents have shared with us. Santa has now finished seeing children at his grotto and is busy getting his sleigh and reindeer ready for the big night. We wish all of Santa’s followers a very Merry Christmas!!!
Natalie Jennings gave a most informative illustrated talk to the club at our December meeting on her visit to Southern India doing voluntary work with the charity Restless Development. Natalie’s excursion, which was partially supported by Henley Lions Club, lasted three months during which she and her volunteer colleagues worked with local volunteers to help improve the lives of local children and young adults. She was involved in everything from giving briefings on preventing dengue fever and personal sanitation to CV writing and job fairs. Natalie explained that she lived with a local host family who were lovely but had no running water in their home. She told the club how she learned to eat all her meals with her hands as the locals do and how she had to wash all her clothes in buckets of water. Natalie explained how she now plans to go travelling for a few months before looking for a job in the field of environmental studies. The club membership thanked her for coming to tell us her story, congratulated her on her successful adventure and wished her well in her future endeavours.
Once again this year the Henley Lions supported the Henley Christmas Festival. The club set up “Noah’s Ark” which was a pick a straw game with small cuddly toy animals as the prizes. Both the children and adults enjoyed taking their chances on winning one of the miniature animals. Club members braved the cold and the rain to man the stall and were very pleased with the overall results.
Santa arrived at Toad Hall Garden Centre this morning and will be in residence in this grotto there for the next four weekends. The grotto was opened by Cllr. Kellie Hinton, Mayor of Henley, along with Santa, his helpers, Lion President Wendy Franklin and the garden centre management team. Tickets to visit Santa cost £6.00 per child and are available at the front desk of the garden centre. Half of all the money raised comes to Henley Lions and we support local Children’s charities with those funds. The other half helps with the purchase of the presents that Santa gives each of the children. The main beneficiaries of the proceeds from the grotto this year will be the Chilterns Centre for Disabled Children & Young Adults and Footsteps, a local centre which supports children with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.
Henley Lions have launched the 2017 Winter Fuel Allowance Project. Members of the public are encouraged to donate all or some of their Winter Fuel Allowance if they feel that they do not need the funds themselves. The program is run in conjunction with Henley Citizens Advice and Nomad. Potential recipients of help with their fuel bills are referred by Nomad or by Henley Citizens Advice. Henley CA screen all the candidates and refer them to Henley Lions Club for a donation from the fund too help them with their utility bills. In the past year over 40 local residents received help from the program and we expect the numbers in 2017/2018 will exceed that amount.