A CLUB given the ‘last rites’ nearly three years ago is now thriving with more than £30,000 in the bank.
Rowley Hill Club, Lepton, was expected to close within six weeks as it suffered the all-too-familiar problems of declining interest and custom.
But new life was breathed into it and current secretary, Jeff Jacklin, said it has gone from strength to strength since then.
The Examiner recently thrust the spotlight on the demise of working men’s clubs.
Nationwide, the number of clubs in the 1970s topped around 4,000. Today that figure is around 2,000 with little sign of the decline being stemmed.
But Rowley Hill is bucking the trend.
Jeff said: “The former committee were good, hard-working people with honourable intentions, but were exhausted and demotivated by years of declining sales and difficult trading conditions.
“A new committee and officials were quickly put in place here followed by the recruitment of a new full-time stewardess which was a really important appointment.
“Inheriting a situation where suppliers were refusing to deliver beer because of outstanding bills was a challenge.
“Weekly committee meetings were arranged with a financial statement presented at each one.
“A recovery plan was agreed which halved the number of bar staff on six nights a week, three of the seven draught beers were withdrawn, all expenditure examined and challenged and a redecoration programme set up and undertaken by members.”
So successful has the club become that Jeff says the £31,000 it now boasts in its bank account “has caught us a bit by surprise”.
One of the key investments at the time of the club’s rebirth was an expensive bar till which provides an invaluable guide to how members are spending their money – and when.
And he says the club worked hard at improving communications with its members – and the local community.
Jeff said: “We produced coloured leaflets outlining what the club provided and hand-delivered it to the 1,000 nearest letter-boxes.”
And he has strong words of advice for any failing clubs, saying he is amazed that “a key support organisation to these clubs is so undervalued.”
He added: “The Huddersfield Club Secretaries’ Association has over 100 member clubs yet bi-monthly meetings struggle to attract a dozen attendees.
“Yet there is a wealth of experience available there with regular presentations by individuals and organisations providing invaluable guidance on how to improve your business.”