Harpenden Lions celebrate 25 years of helping pupils

Left to right: Brian Edwards, life skills lead at Harpenden Lions Club, Harpenden town mayor Rosemar

Left to right: Brian Edwards, life skills lead at Harpenden Lions Club, Harpenden town mayor Rosemary Farmer, Herts for Learning wellbeing advisor Kate Stockdale and Harpenden Lions Club president Mohan Cashyap - Credit: Archant

Harpenden Lions Club, which raises money to help those in need, is celebrating its 25th anniversary of bringing life skills education to local schools.

Since the Life Skills Programme was founded in 1992, Harpenden Lions has raised more than £250,000 for schools in Harpenden, Redbourn and Wheathampstead.

The anniversary event was held recently at Aldwickbury Park Golf Club, and was attended by representatives from local schools, community representatives and the Herts for Learning Wellbeing Team.

As well as raising awareness and thanking those who had given their support, attendees marked the work of Lion Neville Osmond, who was the club’s driving force for many years until his death in 2016.

Schools are encouraged to use the donations to support life skills education in ways that best meet pupils’ needs. The programme began as a drug and alcohol awareness project, and education on these issues continues at Sir John Lawes and Roundwood Park schools in Harpenden. Both schools have used recent donations to buy in the service of educational theatre companies to run workshops on these issues.

Other schools have used funding to develop children’s interpersonal and reasoning skills, or to provide sessions on subjects including e-safety, cyber bullying and sex education. The Herts for Learning Wellbeing Team also provided mindfulness training, support for mental health issues and a healthy schools programme.

At the event, Lion Brian Edwards thanked all the sponsors who had provided financial support. Herts for Learning’s children’s wellbeing advisor, Kate Stockdale, said: “While academic qualifications are very important they need to be supported by social and interpersonal skills for children to be able to truly fulfil their potential.”

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The programme currently benefits 27 schools in Harpenden and the neighbouring villages. The money is raised through activities such as the town’s annual Highland Gathering, which is run by the Lions, as well as grants from local and national charities and businesses.

Harpenden town mayor cllr Rosemary Farmer, who attended the event, said: “Children are growing up in an infinitely more complex world than we expected. It is vital that they acquire the skills necessary to lead fulfilling adult lives.”