Coledale RSL's future hangs in the balance. Picture: Facebook

Coledale RSL has launched a Go Fund Me campaign, so far raising almost $6000 for a much-needed cash injection for the struggling venue, north of Wollongong. Club secretary/manager Warrick Try said the club is on its last legs and will have to close at the end of September if there is no money to keep the venue afloat.

“If we have no decent cash injection, we will have to close otherwise we will be trading insolvently,” he said.

The Coledale RSL’s customers have changed in the past decade as sea-changers, Sydneysiders and commuters snap up coal miners’ cottages on the escarpment for a couple of million dollars. But they don’t play the machines and profits had been “practically non-existent”, in recent years, Try said. Members have already turned down a board idea to sell some EGMs to keep the club going. 

“We are not able to do that now so it limits our availability of cash,” Try said. An amalgamation is also an option.

Local resident Jen Pope, who set up the Go Fund Me Page, said it was “crunch time” for the club which offers the only seven-day-a-week restaurant in the town of 1200.

About 80 people also attended an extraordinary general meeting on Sunday, 21 August, to decide the fate of the club after renovations, Covid restrictions and wet weather all had an impact on the 75-year-old venue which had used up its limited resources, Pope said. 

“Unfortunately, in its current position, the doors will close at the end of September. So we need to act NOW!” she posted on the Go Fund Me page.

“I was at the Extraordinary General Meeting on Sunday 21 August where four local community members have put up their hands to join the board, bringing fresh ideas and renewed energy to the Club.

“With the warmer summer months approaching (and opportunities like the UCI World Cup Bike Race just weeks away) we believe we can turn things around. But right now it’s CRUNCH TIME for this Club!”

Coledale RSL, in the Northern Illawarra, south of Sydney, is under threat. Picture: Facebook

Coledale RSL was formed in 1944 with 18 members, each contributing £10 towards £2000 build costs. The hall was constructed from an army hut brought from Lismore. 

The venue opened on 31 July 1948 as the Soldiers’ Memorial Club and for the past seven decades has supported local community and sporting groups via sponsorships and donations.

Other regional clubs to have shut after struggling to survive, include Bomaderry RSL which closed after its final weekend in June, Narrabeen RSL which went into administration with the sub-branch putting the site up for lease and Monto & District RSL Citizens Memorial Club Inc in Queensland also going into voluntary administration. 

The RSL & Services Clubs Association also has the future of struggling venues high on its agenda for its annual conference in September.  The topic of the conference, in Adelaide from September 11-14, is Embracing Change and Transformation: Breakthrough innovation and creativity, leading change and re-engagement. Read the story here.                       

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