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Serving the Elderly

Lionsville provides care and lodging to elderly citizens in Essendon, Australia, and has grown from one building in 1966 to a much larger complex.

Lionsville provides care and lodging to elderly citizens in Essendon, Australia, and has grown from one building in 1966 to a much larger complex.

Serving the Elderly

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Touchstone Story #70

The Essendon Lions Club in Essendon, Australia, had the land.

The Coburg Lions Club in Coburg, Australia, had the money.

They came together with a vision: to build a caring community for elderly people in need.

Lionsville was founded in 1966, built on “crown land” owned by the government but under the management of the Essendon club. It began with a modest eight units, each one housing a single occupant. But within three years, the success of Lionsville attracted government grants, allowing the community to expand to 39 buildings.

A chance encounter between an Australian Lion and a friendly stranger in Canada led to Lionsville’s further expansion. The Australian Lion was the victim of a pickpocket while vacationing, and the Canadian loaned him some cash. The stranger asked about the Lions Clubs International pin on his lapel, and he was so impressed with the Lions philosophy of service that he took his gift one giant leap forward: the stranger sent a $20,000 donation to Lionsville to establish a recreation hall, to be called Ruthville in honor of the stranger’s late wife.

Lionsville has continued to grow. Today, it consists of 84 units, a lakefront cycling and walking path and a full schedule of activities. The Essendon and Coburg Lions continue to volunteer at Lionsville, and visitors from as far as Japan have come to take note of how Lionsville serves its residents.

“We’ve been able to develop from small beginnings to a project that really does deserve worldwide recognition,” said Lion Neil Baudenette, former secretary of Lionsville. “We stepped into and filled a gap that was very visible—and nobody seemed to be trying to fill it.”

Care for the elderly is a priority for Lions clubs around the world. Offering assistance with care and dignity is an honor and a privilege among the many services Lions provide.

Lionsville provides care and lodging to elderly citizens in Essendon, Australia, and has grown from one building in 1966 to a much larger complex.

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