RBL calls time on its 'insolvent' town club
WORK to support the aims of the Royal British Legion will continue in Cullompton despite the closure of the town's club.
Fundraising activities such as the Poppy Appeal will remain in the town after the military welfare charity launched a successful appeal for more volunteers to prevent the local branch from winding up.
The club however has struggled to make ends meet and John Prior, county secretary for the charity, said it has become financially unviable and has ceased trading.
Mr Prior said: "Unfortunately in these hard times a lot of clubs are finding it hard to make ends meet and we are losing them at a steady rate, I have to say. But we can't put money into failing clubs – the welfare of our beneficiaries is of paramount importance."
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Cullompton RBL Club Ltd, which operated from New Cut, paid the charity a license fee to trade under its name and was therefore separate to it. Members of the Cullompton RBL Branch were expected to make their final decision on formally withdrawing the club's license as the Gazette went to press.
The charity is neither obliged nor legally permitted to prop up failing clubs but the property in which it operated could be sold with proceeds being put into a trust fund for the branch and only its members will be able to spend the money.
Mr Prior hopes the 92 members of the former club will now throw their weight behind and strengthen the Cullompton branch of the charity by helping it to increase its involvement in fundraising events, including the Poppy Appeal, as well as other year-round activities.
"We are hoping we won't lose a great deal of those members simply because the club is no longer there, we are hoping they will continue to assist our charitable aims by staying with the branch," Mr Prior said.
"Unfortunately, what happened with the club is it became insolvent and has had to close.
"The club has to stand and trade on its own two feet and regrettably it's not the first to close in these hard times. Pubs are closing all of the time and legion clubs are run by volunteers and it is very difficult for them."
Mr Prior said he has already written to the club to inform its operators that it cannot trade while insolvent.
The RBL appealed through the Gazette six months ago for more volunteers in order to keep the branch running, at a time when a number of others across the county were at risk.
Mr Prior was pleased at the response and added: "This is now a perfect opportunity to strengthen the branch."