Lions Club to award unsung young heroes across Norfolk

The efforts of unsung, community-minded youngsters to help others will not go unnoticed any longer thanks to a new Lions Club initiative which seeks to end negative stereotypes of the young.

The Lions Clubs International organisation, which serves local communities across the world, has launched the Young Leaders in Service project to reward the 11-18 age group for the work they put in to help others.

Although the scheme is international in scope, Lions Clubs across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire are running their own awards.

Locally, representatives of the Wymondham Lions Club have already visited Attleborough and Wymondham High Schools to encourage children to apply, although the project is open to anyone and the hope is the schoolchildren will spread word of the new service to other children in their communities who might like to join.

Participants will be provided with a log book in which they will keep a record of how they have helped their community and the amount of time they have spent doing so during the course of the year.

For 50 hours service, they will receive a silver award in the form of a certificate signed by the president of Lions Club International, while for 100 hours they will receive the gold award.

The service is also looking for candidates from other youth organisations, such as the scouts, guides, air cadets and sea scouts, but also youth councils, sixth form colleges, dance clubs, children's centres and Prince's Trust.

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Categories eligible for the award include service to the elderly, such as helping with home repairs, safety training, helping younger children learn about water and fire safety and service to parents and family.

However, children can also apply under services to education, the environment, the homeless and hungry and public health, while awards are also given to children who have taken a leadershp role in a youth organisation or have helped their local Lions Club.

Lion John Haynes, from the Wymondham club, said the long-term aim of the initiative was to recruit more youngsters to the Lions Club to eventually replace older members who could no longer carry on, as there was a lack of younger recruits coming through.

He added: 'It seems the young either get a bad press or they get no press and we want to change that. We want to recognise them and say 'look, these young people are going good things in the community and you don't know about it.''

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