THE plight of Ridge Hill Lane Working Men’s Club, whose future is under threat due to £40,000 of debts, has gone global…thanks to the Correspondent.
Since we spotlighted the issues at what is believed to be the country’s oldest working men’s club which dates back to 1860, it has received considerable media attention.
CEO Mr Bishop explained they have appeared twice in each of the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People and on BBC Radio Manchester as well as in the Manchester Evening News.
They have also been featured on BBC North West Tonight and an appearance is also lined up on The One Show who are trying to get singer/songwriter Lisa Stansfield to present the feature as she appeared at Ridge Hill Lane WMC aged 14.
“The article in the Correspondent was the catalyst. I didn’t think our plight would get any publicity outside Tameside. It has been a case of giant oaks growing from little acorns,” explained Mr Bishop.
An appeal on a crowdfunding page has been set up along which, along with other donations and bucket on the bar, has raised £1,100.
Mr Bishop added that included a cheque for £500 from somebody living in South Africa.
He explained: “The lady had only been once to the club for a funeral six years ago. She saw an article in the Manchester Evening News and sent us a cheque.
“We have also had visits from a couple of local councillors who have offered advice and put in touch with groups who may want to hire a room as it is all about getting money behind the bar.”
And looking at the overall financial picture, Mr Bishop said: “We are definitely more optimistic than I was, though we are not out of the woods.
“The brewery (Heineken) has helped out by offering us a better deal and we are starting an Under-19 football team which will play in the Tameside Saturday Morning League. We are trying to get more young people involved as we need more footfall.
“Since the article was in the Correspondent we have also signed up around 20 new members so everything is positive.”
When the present committee took charge “blindfolded” in 2011, they inherited debts of more than £200,000. They put in £30,000 of their own money and the deficit reduced greatly, but Mr Bishop explained they had now run out of money.
Donations can be made in support at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/paul-bishop-1
The club is also looking at selling advertising space, both inside and outside the club.
• A plaque outside the building details its rich history saying it was founded about 1860 and became Ridge Hill Lane Working Men’s Institute, Library and Reading Room on February 16, 1861.