Downham and Clackclose Conservative Club

Newsletter 5      September 2022

Dear Members


We were expecting to have a quiet Summer after the Jubilee celebrations but the club has been very busy. “Off the Wagon” played at another barbecue, our latest Quiz was a success and we have had requests for a repeat of the Karaoke. The bar and kitchen are being well used and we have seen increased numbers of people using the club. We now have over 900 members. 

15th October 7.30pm Johnny Flinton.
22nd October: 7.30pm Class Act.
5th November Pie and Mash Night. Plus Entertainment
11th  November 7.30pm Horse Race Night
26th November: 7.30pm K J and the CATT.
12th December 3pm: Karaoke
31st December: Andy York.
Off the Wagon (dates to be confirmed) and so too more Quizzes! Lyn Thorpe our Entertainment Secretary is looking to book more Sunday Afternoon events..
Whist drives will restart on 14th September and continue on for the season.

Out caterers (Linda and Laura) have been with us now for three months and we have now issued a contract. We are very pleased with their performance. They are encouraging members back. We have run a number of events where non members can attend in the hope they will join us. We held a Steak Night and allow non members in for Sunday Lunch in the Function Room only.
Each day it is open the kitchen offers a special meal at a good economical price. Have a look on their Facebook page “Downham Con Club Kitchen”, or on our website:

                        Lunch                      Evening
Thursday   12.00 – 14.30        19.00 – 21.00
Friday        10.00 – 14.30        17.00 – 21.00
Cooked Breakfast   10.00 – 12.00
Saturday   10.00 – 14.30        17.00 – 21.00
Last food order at 8pm.
Cooked Breakfast   10.00 – 12.00
Sunday      12.00 – 14.30            Closed
(Sunday Lunch only – booking advisable)

External decoration has been completed at the rear of the building. Initial roof repairs have been undertaken over the bar area. We are still awaiting scaffolders to complete the higher areas. Once this is done we will decorate internally. As we reported in the minutes, We had a theft from the bar and police advised us to install cctv throughout and externally. This has been completed.

Our thanks to Dave Wilkinson who has agreed to act as our temporary Licensee. (Designated Premises Supervisor) He had hoped to retire but we persuaded him to help us out. We are pleased to announce the appointment of two new Bar Staff: Marion Simpson and Irene Garner.

Whilst the club is starting to thrive, we are still relying on our savings to keep us going. Our energy costs have risen astronomically. Last year our total energy bill was £6540, by the end of August we had spent £17625. There is no cap on business energy costs and we believe we will be lucky if we only pay £32000 by the end of the year. (£25460 more than last year.) We have seen considerable increases in staff costs. We estimate we could be paying an additional £27000 this year. It seems that our new Prime Minister is looking sympathetically at helping small businesses. Unless the government does something, our continued long term existence is dubious.

We have had a Quantity Surveyor’s Report which specified that the building needed  £56800 of work to be undertaken. We also had a Fire Safety Report which also outlined a number of costly requirements. To date we are making a trading loss of £31770. We need to add to this that, like everybody else, we face costs of living increases particularly increased brewery costs. We also need to be aware that in 2023 our fuel bill was projected as £50,000, nearly eight times more than last year. We have £260,000 in savings . The committee has been monitoring the situation and decided to write to members alerting you and explaining what we are going to do

Our primary aim and the reason the club exists is to provide services to members. Whilst undoubtedly the club will have additional burdens to face, so will our members and they will not have the benefit of large savings. We need to ensure that they can come to a club where prices are as low as we can make them, where they can get good food at reasonable prices. Where they can eat in safety and comfort in a warm and welcoming environment. If we are going to survive we may well need to dig deep into our savings. We will also need to raise our prices to keep pace with brewery and suppliers charges. There are some repairs and health and safety issues which require immediate attention. We cannot have a total moratorium on spending.

The whole committee had been looking at dealing with this, but the situation is now in need of really focussed attention and a finance sub committee has been asked to look at the way forward. They will meet between committee meetings. Their brief will be to look at our present costs, immediate savings and efficiencies, generating income, long term strategies. Their proposals will be reported back to you in the next Newsletter.

One immediate decision was required for next year: the price of subscriptions. The price of individual membership will rise to £25 per annum. We will however introduce a new category of Joint Membership for married couples / partners which will be £40 per annum. The Joining Fee will be £20 for both these categories of membership.