WELLINGTON and District Conservative Club in High Street is facing a financial “timebomb” - exactly a year after it avoided closure.
The warning comes from its chairman Sam Berg, a solicitor, who said the club had been “failing over many years” and was making a loss - and that in order to avoid closure, the club must become profitable. He said: “We face the harsh reality of time and the fact that the club’s reserves will no longer subsidise its losses.” He puts the blame for the dwindling finances on ‘ineffective’ past management. In a hard-hitting letter to members, he says: “To be put simply, the club’s expenditures exceed its income as the club’s current offerings of events did not generate the income necessary for self-sufficiency, and members failed to recognise and mitigate this.”
Mr Berg said that under his chairmanship overheads and contracts had all been reviewed, and that over the past two months the club have attracted 45 new members - but that is still not enough. “In order to avoid dissolving, the club must become profitable. Therefore, income must be generated through either membership subscriptions and/or in bar takings,” he said.
He said that bar prices and subscriptions had already been raised, and now the only choice was to become an apolitical social club. He said: “The only viable option I see the club has to defuse this imminent timebomb is to increase the accessibility of new memberships to the community by disassociating from the Conservative Party and reforming the club as an ‘apolitical social club’ with the object of promoting local charitable causes.
Mr Berg added: “This should have the effect of increasing membership and income.“ As a professional and over the course of the past year, I have reached the conclusion that the club has been failing over many years.” He claimed the club was “crippled by a culture ... among many, that change is unnecessary”. “This has been clearly evidenced by the repeated failures of the many committees preceding this one to manage effective pricing, scrutinise service and supply contracts and see to effectively employ the club’s resources appropriately and in a proportionate manner,” he added.He warned that if steps aren’t taken, the club will fail.“Should the members choose to not disassociate and introduce fresh members, the club will fail unless the members step forward, take ownership and responsibility, and learn to share the facilities with other members competing interests,” he said.
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