New lease of life for social club and town charity

WATCH THIS SPACE: Northcroft Social Club's former function room could become offices for The Befriending Scheme due to financial pressures.

WATCH THIS SPACE: Northcroft Social Club's former function room could become offices for The Befriending Scheme due to financial pressures.

0
Have your say

A deal which would see a Sudbury charity rent space from a social club could safeguard it for members for 20 years, according to the chairman.

A planning application has been submitted to convert space above Northcroft Social Club in The Croft, which was previously used for functions, into offices for The Befriending Scheme, which supports vulnerable adults through education and is currently based in Gainsborough Street.

A 10-year lease is also being drawn up, with an option to extend the rental agreement between the two parties.

Eddie Brown, chairman of Northcroft Social Club, said: “This will secure the club’s future for 20 years. The amount we can earn from renting that part of the building virtually covers the running costs of the club.”

Mr Brown became chairman of the club after it had its licence revoked in May last year after holding music events open to non-members and advertising them online.

A new licence was granted in October but Mr Brown and his committee members found that some aspects of the club needed changing.

He said: “Since I took over as chairman, I have been aiming to make sure the club is on an even footing financially, as all clubs are struggling at the moment.

“This is solely financially-driven. The club could not afford to have functions upstairs as they were not profit-making events. There was the appetite for functions upstairs but they made a loss.”

The Royal British Legion, which had been based at the club, chose to move on, while Northcroft Rifle Club, which was started at the club in 1939 to help train the Home Guard, was forced to find a new base at the army drill hall in Gainsborough Street,

Mr Brown said: “Around 18 of the rifle club were members of the social club and they were paying £7.50 per year to shoot twice a week all year round and the club wasn’t able to make any money from that.

“Our decision was to seek out a suitable business, and we have found that in The Befriending Scheme.”

He added that, despite the positive future for the social club’s finances, the enforced change was unfortunate for the other organisations.

“It is really sad to see the rifle club go as they are all really decent chaps,” said Mr Brown,

“We regret losing the Royal British Legion, which chose to move on. We have lost some real long-term affiliates of the club.”

Bill Garratt, secretary of the rifle club, said: “We have one day per week at the drill hall instead of the two we had at the Northcroft but we are coping alright.”