Published: 00:01, 15 September 2017
A potential investor and a business professional have stepped forward to help save the Royal British Legion club in Deal from closure.
The good news comes after the Mercury reported that the future of the Market Street venue was hanging in the balance due to financial struggles.
Thanks to the offers of help, honorary secretary Malcolm Wells says he is confident that things are looking up for the club.
He said: “We’re hopeful. As a result of the article, we have had a good stream of new members sign up as well as offers of help and advice.
“One person wants to help the club out and could be a financial investor and the other has got some good ideas.”
The club, which is open every lunchtime, has suffered an almost 50% drop in takings over the past three years and is calling for people to use it or lose it.
A meeting for paid-up members was held at the venue, above Barnardo’s charity shop, on Monday.
It was a chance for the committee of 10 to report back on developments.
More than 60 members went and were told about the professional help on offer and that a business plan is soon to be drawn up.
Mr Wells said: “We’ve got three options. The first option is to stay as a British Legion Club, the second is to go forward as an independent ex-servicemen’s club and the third is to close.
“At the moment to be a member of the club (which is £5), you’ve got to be a member of the Royal British Legion which is £17.
“If we were to go independent we wouldn’t have to ask for that and then more money could go towards the club. We’ve got an idea box and people are putting their ideas forward.”
Another meeting will be held when a business plan has been formalised.
New members continue to be welcomed.
The club features a bar, catering facilities and a pool table and is also available to hire for functions for up to 100 people.
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 whose chairman, Edward Barkway, said the branch is not in any jeopardy.
Mr Wells explained the club is a limited company. The branch is a charity.
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