Ipswich: Bourne Vale Sports and Social Club needs £12,000 in just three weeks to survive

The Bourne Vale Club in Ipswich are facing closure. Back L-R: Steve Youngs, Peter Laflin, Front L-R: Sharon Reeves, Ann Jordan, Vivien Knights and David Knott. The Bourne Vale Club in Ipswich are facing closure. Back L-R: Steve Youngs, Peter Laflin, Front L-R: Sharon Reeves, Ann Jordan, Vivien Knights and David Knott.

Friday, April 11, 2014
10:00 AM

One of Ipswich’s most popular sports and social clubs faces the “major threat” of closure, the Star can reveal, with £12,000 needed in just three weeks to keep it open.

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Members of Bourne Vale Sports and Social Club have made an emotional plea for donations and help with urgent fundraising after being told growing levels of debt had become “unsustainable”.

The club’s committee ruled that £12,000 must be raised before the lease expires on April 30 – or the club, which dates back to the 1930s and is used by dozens of sports clubs, will close.

Speaking exclusively to the Star at their Halifax Road site yesterday, senior members expressed 
their shock at the news, pleading for people to come forward to help save “the legend of Bourne Vale”.

The news was broken to members and sports clubs in a newsletter three weeks ago.

David Knott, treasurer at the club, said it would be a “tremendously sad day” if the club was forced to close.

He said the decision in January to reduce the lease to three months was not one taken “flippantly, or without a tear in the eye”.

He said: “The club has operated since the late 1980s as a members club, but in recent years due to the economic downturn and fragile employment situation has seen its revenue decline to the present point where continuance of the club is under major threat.

“The club is losing money month by month. The situation has to be addressed very quickly to stave off closure.

“Meetings have been held with local bodies regarding saving this major sporting and social facility for the community but to date no firm rescue package has been forthcoming.”

He said members and the sports clubs have formed “action committees” to raise funds and awareness, but added “more is required”.

The club is used every weekend by football clubs, including Ipswich Athletic – which has five youth teams and a senior team.

The Caribbean Cricket Club is the last remaining cricket club, while the number of club members has been dramatically cut from 600 eight years ago to just 192 last year.

In the same time, the bowls club membership has fallen to 18 from 64.

Amie Howard, treasurer of Ipswich Athletic and part of the club’s fundraising sub-committee, described arranging urgent fundraisers as “a bit of a nightmare”.

“It was a really big shock,” she said. “We have held meetings to see what can be done to save the club. It hugely benefits the town.

“Members are absolutely devastated and a lot of clubs will have to find an alternative venue.

“But fundraisers are rallying around for the community. We are pleading for people to help us.”

Peter Laflin, chairman of the fundraising committee, said the club has been buoyed by recent fundraising efforts, with more arranged for over Easter.

He insisted progress has been made, but admitted that even if the club survives beyond the April 30 deadline finances will have to be assessed every month.

The club house has a dance/event hall, a bar, a snooker room, a large Sky Sports screen and kitchen facilities.

The sports ground covers 11 acres, featuring four football pitches, a cricket pitch and a bowls green.

To help, call the club on 01473 687 685 or email thebournevaleclub@btconnect.com

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