Show of support for Barrow sports club
Last updated at 17:13, Thursday, 10 October 2013
A RALLYING call has been issued by members of a sports club under threat of closure after it had its funding withdrawn.
The future of Hawcoat Park Sports and Social Club is uncertain after BAE Systems, which owns the site in Hawcoat Lane as a ‘corporate asset’, revealed plans to end its lease.
It means the Barrow club needs to raise at least £65,000 a year to keep going and so it can apply for grants to secure its long-term future.
Members of the public are being asked to sign up to a lottery scheme to raise the cash and to volunteer at the club to drive down spiralling maintenance costs.
An audience of around 200 people at the club was told on Tuesday night the withdrawal of the BAE subsidy would seriously impact on the club’s finances, putting its existence at risk.
Dave Coverdale, one of the club directors, said: “Support and commitment is essential otherwise we are going nowhere.
“We are at a pivotal time in the history of this club. This club is a community asset. It will be a tragedy to lose it.”
Directors believe a lottery scheme, at £1 a week, is the best way to reach the £65,000 target, which will show investors the club is still open for business.
They have launched a ‘Save Our Sports Club’ campaign and are encouraging the community to contribute towards securing the future of the site in whatever way they can.
Under the current agreement, the club receives a £17,000 per year retainer from BAE Systems as well as costs to cover maintenance.
However, BAE Systems has activated a 12-month termination clause in the lease agreement, which gives the club until September 27 next year to fill the revenue gap.
Donal Pettingale, commercial director at BAE, described the situation as “unfortunate”.
He said: “Essentially the company’s position in the current economic situation is that we don’t feel able to make a long-term financial commitment to run this facility.
“Our primary focus has been on returning shareholder value so we are looking in every area to reduce costs and make us more efficient and, regrettably, this is why we have arrived at this situation.”
Bob Woods, a director at the club, said the management of the facility was transferred from BAE Systems to the membership in 2008.
Under a ‘gentleman’s agreement’, Hawcoat Park took over the responsibility of running and maintaining the site, while BAE Systems provided the club with an annual retainer as well as a promise to pay to meet legal health and safety requirements.
First published at 15:59, Thursday, 10 October 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
If BAE are sincere in their stated intention
that the sports facility should remain in its present state for the benefit of their employees & local residents the least they could offer would be to fund any shortfall in income until the board are successful in their attempts to obtain grants from the various sports bodies etc.
This would be the best option to guarantee the continued operation of the club in its present form.
Retired long service employee.