Alstonville club bowled over

WHAT a turnaround.

In just four years, the Alstonville Plateau Bowls and Sports Club has turned an operating loss of $43,000 at the end of the 2006 financial year, and gone into the black to the tune of $140,000 at the last financial year, and an expectation the club will do well this year.

The club's financial comeback has led to it winning the ClubsNSW Outstanding Financial Management Award in the small clubs category, presented in early June at a function at Darling Harbour in Sydney.

Seven other clubs were finalists in the category.

The turnaround fulfils a promise made in 2006 by then chairman Alan Meres, who said the club would ‘bounce back' when a former employee was jailed for stealing $37,000 from the bowlo in 2005.

An audit at that time had revealed there was more than $74,600 missing from the club's books, but it couldn't be proven where the other money went.

The person who led the turnaround, secretary-manager since 2007 Melissa Brooke, was a finalist in the Young Achiever category at the awards – she has just turned 30. She accepted the Clubs NSW award with current chairman Richard Moxey.

Ms Brooke admitted it was a big turnaround, particularly in a climate that has seen many clubs – including big city clubs – close their doors for good.

She puts the comeback down to the plateau community.

“It comes back to community, and the community's support of clubs,” she said.

“Because that's what clubs are all about.”

The community has shown its support for the bowlo with their feet, with club membership now standing at 1700.

Ms Brooke said the Alstonville club took a closer look at some internal budgeting in order to get back into the black.

“We have put a lot of in-house audit controls in place to improve best practices with our process,” she said.

But that didn't mean the members had missed out on the services the club offered. she said.

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