THE Royal British Legion Club in Minehead is to close at the end of the month after 68 years of trading from its premises in Bancks Street.
The decision to close the loss-making club was taken by the committee because of falling numbers of members using the facilities.
Club secretary Sally King said: “It will be a very sad day. We are just not having the customers come in.
“In Minehead, we have Wetherspoons and the Minehead Social Club and they are well supported and sadly we are not.
“I am afraid we are just not taking enough money. There is so much we need to take each day to make us a going concern and we are taking probably one-third.
“We have made a loss this year. We cannot survive. We have to recoup that money.”
Mrs King said the decision had therefore been taken to close the club from November 30.
She said people should not confuse the club with the Legion’s Minehead branch, which was a separate organisation.
Mrs King said: “I have had several ’phone calls asking about the Poppy Appeal, but the branch does the Poppy Appeal, and the parade is on as usual on Sunday 13th and the service in Wellington Square.”
She said the branch would still organise the Remembrance parade starting at the club at 2.30 pm and anybody was welcome to join in.
Mrs King said the club’s problems stemmed from the national Covid lockdowns and although it had received Government grants, this had only ‘kept us going a bit longer’.
“During Covid we lost a lot of regulars who used to come in, especially after work for a couple of pints before they went home,” she said.
“Now we are just not having the numbers. You can come in some evenings and there is four people.
“My chairman went in one Saturday to watch the football and there was only one person there, and when the match started he was the only one.
“I feel sorry for the regulars who use it, the few die-hard regulars, but sadly coming in to play darts and have a couple of pints is not going to keep the club going.”
Mrs King said most people were unaware the club did not receive any financial support from the Legion branch, to which members paid an annual £18 fee.
She said: “People are paying £18 thinking they have to pay that to come into the club, yet we have no financial support from the Legion.”
Mrs King said technically, people who belonged to the British Legion could use the club, but in her 10 years at the club she had seen branch membership fall from 450 to 194.
The Bancks Street premises has been rented by the club since 1954 and offers a function room, a full-size snooker table, pool table, several darts boards, and a skittles alley.