Lions Clubs International

How we began

Lions Clubs are the world’s largest service club organisation comprising 46,000 clubs and 1.35 million members.

Lions clubs are made up of men and women who want to improve their communities and are committed to the work that will make it happen.

Lions have been helping people since 1917. That year, Melvin Jones, a Chicago businessman encouraged his club, the Chicago Business Circle that selfless service to others would create a better community – and a better world – for all. On the 7th June 1917 a meeting was held and the Association of Lions Clubs was born.

In the nearly 100 years since its founding, Lions Clubs International has spread to all corners of the globe. As well as the UK, you will find Lions clubs in Rome, Italy, New York, USA, Tokyo and Tanzania.


Lions have long been associated with blindness prevention and sight restoration.  In 1925, the American author and activist Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf personally challenged Lions to “hasten the day when there would be no preventable blindness.” Since embracing that challenge, Lions Clubs International has gained unmatched experience and expertise in the field and has become an irreplaceable presence among the world’s leading international agencies dedicated to sight preservation.

Because Lions are committed to sight, more than 10 million children have been screened for eye diseases and vision problems, 7.6 million people have regained their sight through cataract surgery and 400,000 people each year receive recycled eyeglasses.

Youth Programs

Whenever children are in need of food, medical care, educational materials or other necessities of life, Lions are there to help.  We make growing up safer and healthier for some of the world’s poorest and most at risk children and young adults.  We help young people cope with today’s complex world with an international life skills program and help children make international friends at our youth camps.  Our annual Peace poster Contest makes it possible for children around the world to express their most fervent hope for us all: Peace.


Lions began saving people’s eyesight in 1925 and it’s still a priority. But Lions also focus on hearing, working with the deaf and raising awareness about the dangers of diabetes.

Community and the environment

Lions serve where you live and are a “hands on”organisation.  You will often see Lions planting trees, painting or helping clean up parks.