Friday, 16 November 2018

Social club back in the black but more donations needed

THE Henley 60-Plus Social Club is on a firm financial footing with it having received more than £25,000 in donations in the last year.

Gills Dodds, chairwoman of the club’s management committee, revealed a surplus at its annual meeting held on Monday last week.

The most significant amounts were £10,000 from the Tony Lane Foundation, £10,000 from insurance broker Manning UK and £2,000 from funeral directors Tomalin & Son, both based in Reading Road.

This was on top of the £10,000 grant it receives annually from Henley Town Council.

In 2017 the club achieved a surplus of £9,367 because of the increase in donations, whereas in 2016 it recorded a deficit of £10,385.

Mrs Dodds said money from the foundation meant they could install new cupboards, replace kitchen equipment and subsidise its meals for two years — last year and this year.

Visitors can have a hot meal at lunchtime on three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

However, Mrs Dodds said the cost of these would now likely have to increase from £5.50 to £6.

She explained: “Our lunches will have to go up, not only because we have lost the Tony Lane subsidy, but food costs generally are going up.

“It’s been lovely to have the subsidy but sadly, unless some fairy godmother turns up to subsidise the lunches, they will have to go up a little bit.”

Mrs Dodds said they now needed to raise about £5,000 to plug the funding gap this year and the club has been chosen as a beneficiary of this year’s Henley Living Advent Calendar.

She said: “We have been very lucky in having support from the community. It’s a community facility so it’s quite important to keep it going. I think it’s hugely valuable to the town. If you talk to people here it’s really their lifeline. It’s heartwarming — it’s hugely important in their lives.”

The land and building in the Greys Road car park are provided rent free by the town council and Mrs Dodds thanked the council for its support.

For the year ending December 31 membership fell from 126 to 120 and about 3,900 meals were sold to members during the year.

Various social events and outings were also arranged, including the spring and autumn holiday breaks and donations were used to provide a spring tea party and a Christmas lunch free of charge to all members.

It has also let out the premises to bridge clubs two nights a week and a catering business two sessions per week, to help boost funds.

The club’s report said that the town council had continued to carry out small maintenance projects when necessary while the club continues to benefit from surplus energy produced by its solar panels.

It also explained that it was the intention of the management committee that the club continues to provide a “safe and varied” social club for the 60-plus age group and will remain open five days a week.

The report also paid tribute to the club’s many helpers. It says: “Mrs Janet Richmond, our hairdresser, has again continued to provide a valuable service to our members, and on occasion has stepped in as manageress and assisted with meals.

“The management committee would also like to thank our chiropodist, Mrs Alison Barton, who continues to provide a well-used facility to members on Mondays. Several members help the staff in the day-to-day running of the club and their help is very much appreciated.”

Meanwhile, Connie Butt, who is co-manager at the club, is stepping down after 10 years in the role.

Ms Butt, 75, who lives in River Terrace and has collected for the Henley Poppy Appeal for more than 25 years, will officially leave in October.

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