Legal row erupts between community centre and its social club

A typical Saturday night at Caister Social Club before lockdown was announced. Moya Pateman, who has

A typical Saturday night at Caister Social Club before lockdown was announced. Moya Pateman, who has worked behind the bar for years, said what 'makes the club so special' is that members who don't know each other 'soon will' after attending one of their many weekly and annual events. Photo: Moya Pateman - Credit: Archant

A legal claim has been brought against a social club by the community centre which hosts it following claims the former is “insolvent” and must disband.

The main bar area at Caister Community Centre, Beach Road, Caister. Picture: James Bass Photography

The main bar area at Caister Community Centre, Beach Road, Caister. Picture: James Bass Photography - Credit: James Bass

Caister-on-Sea Community Association (CCA) was established 32 years ago by villagers who wanted to repurpose a local infant’s school for community use.

Caister Social Club was formed shortly after as a way of generating income, operating as a separate entity.

But following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the CCA has declared the social club “insolvent”.

Now, a legal claim has been brought by the CCA against the club - ordering them to vacate the premises and pay outstanding fees.

The main bar area at Caister Community Centre, Beach Road, Caister. Picture: James Bass Photography

The main bar area at Caister Community Centre, Beach Road, Caister. Picture: James Bass Photography - Credit: James Bass

In a statement released by the CCA on Facebook, it claimed the pandemic has presented it with a predicted drop in income, and that the nature of the social club meant future attendance would likely decline.

It said: “The CCA can’t justify propping up a company whose purpose is for income generation, when it’s not predicted to generate any income.”

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But chairman of Caister Social Club, Ray Banwell, “wholeheartedly disputes” the statements made by the CCA and said its claims of insolvency were not true.

He said: “There’s no denying the pandemic has hit the club, but we’re keen to re-open and bring back members to help kickstart trade.

A summer barbeque held at Caister Social Club. Photo: Moya Pateman

A summer barbeque held at Caister Social Club. Photo: Moya Pateman - Credit: Archant

“We are a thriving local club and a key part of the community.”

Mr Banwell said there was a split among members of the CCA, with some even launching a Crowdfunder to raise money for the social club’s appeal.

The Crowdfunder has reached nearly £3,000 in the space of a week.

CCA was approached for comment, but redirected us to the Charity Commission.

Caister-on-Sea Social Club gathering for their Christmas event. Photo: Moya Pateman

Caister-on-Sea Social Club gathering for their Christmas event. Photo: Moya Pateman - Credit: Archant

A spokeswoman for the commission said: “We can confirm that the Caister Community Association has reported a serious incident to us, relating to the charity’s relationship with the social club, and a dispute among trustees about the future of the club.

“We have provided advice to the trustees on trading, and on managing disputes. It is now for them to resolve the matter.”

According to Mr Banwell, as far as the social club is concerned, the “resolution” is taking place this Friday at a special general meeting, requested by members, to discuss the issue and to elect new trustee members that will make up the number shortfall in the current committee.

The crowd funder launched by a CCA member to help save Caister Social Club. Photo: Go Fund Me

The crowd funder launched by a CCA member to help save Caister Social Club. Photo: Go Fund Me - Credit: Archant

The main bar area at Caister Community Centre, Beach Road, Caister. Picture: James Bass Photography

The main bar area at Caister Community Centre, Beach Road, Caister. Picture: James Bass Photography - Credit: James Bass