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Legion club needs more support to prevent its closure

By Eleanor Perkins

The future of the Royal British Legion club in Deal is hanging in the balance.

Financial struggles over the past three years means the venue in Market Street will close if it does not receive more support from its members and the public.

Honorary secretary Malcolm Wells said the club has suffered an almost 50% drop in takings.

The Royal British Legion club, Market Street, Deal

The Royal British Legion club, Market Street, Deal

He said Shepherd Neame brewery has “bent over backwards” to try and help them, along with the landlord – who has not increased their rent throughout the entire time they’ve been there.

He said: “The club is struggling. To put it bluntly it comes down to bums on seats. People have got to use it or lose it.

“We’re working hard to come up with some ideas.

“We’re trying to put together a business plan and see what we can do.”

The club, above Barnardo’s charity shop which looks out on to King Street, has existed since 1993.

It is run by volunteers and a committee of ten people. The cleaner is the only paid employee.

A meeting has already been held by all paid-up members to discuss the present situation. Another is scheduled for Monday, September 11 at the club at 7.30pm.

The Royal British Legion club, Market Street, Deal

The Royal British Legion club, Market Street, Deal

In the mean time, the club is asking for people’s support.

Mr Wells said: “Anyone can join as a member.

“We’re open to non-service men and women and their families, as long as you support the idea of the legion.”

Membership for the branch is £17 for the year and an extra £5 to be a social member.

The club is open every lunchtime and can hold 100 people.

As well as a bar, it features catering facilities, a pool table, and is also available to hire for functions. Dogs and children accompanied by an adult are welcomed. There is a chair lift for those less able.

Although the club is affiliated with the RBL Downs Branch, this situation does not affect the branch and its chairman, Edward Barkway, said the branch is not in any jeopardy.

Mr Wells explained the club is a limited company while the branch is a charity.

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