RISING costs and an ageing membership have forced a Huddersfield club to call time.
St Patrick’s Catholic Club will close its doors for good this September after losing half its members over the past six years.
The decision was made after its committee met to discuss the tough financial circumstances facing the town centre venue.
The once-popular club, on Trinity Street, has seen its membership dwindle from 1,100 to fewer than 500 in recent years.
The weekly bar takings have also been badly hit – down a third on what they were five years ago.
Smoke-free legislation, an ageing membership and safety fears of venturing into the town centre at night are being blamed for its demise.
Treasurer Bernard Brown, 76, said: “It is just a sign of the times.
“One or two of us are broken-hearted, but most of us are realistic that we cannot go on losing money week after week.
“If we are paying out more than we are taking in, sooner or later we won’t be able to pay for the beer.”
He said smoke-free legislation introduced in 2007 had driven members away.
“Our main area is on the upper floor so smokers have to go down a few flights of stairs to go outside for a cigarette,” he said.
“The bar takings have dropped from £6,000 a week to just £4,000. Then, of course, the cost of gas, electricity and wages has gone up.
“People are just not coming anymore.”
The Diocese of Leeds owns the three-storey building and charges the club £15,000 a year in rent.
For a number of years the top-floor has been separately let to groups including Cultures United.
But cuts in council funding forced them to relocate to cheaper premises last year.
The top floor has since remained empty with St Patrick’s Catholic Club occupying just the first floor and ground floor games room.
Mr Brown added: “A lot of our members have got older and there are no young people coming in.
“Years ago it was an advantage being in the town centre.
“But people don’t want to come into town on a Friday or Saturday night anymore. They feel insecure.
“There also aren’t the bus services anymore.”
He said all the existing bookings would be honoured by the club, but he thought the doors would close for good during September.