Senior Citizens club to close and be sold

IT WAS a sad day at Goonellabah Senior Citizens club last Monday as members and guests raised their glasses for last drinks at their last lunch.

With only eight registered members remaining, the club is closing its doors and selling up – reverting to a rule in its constitution it never thought it would need.

“Our constitution says if we close, we have to sell the building and donate the proceeds to charity,” club secretary Helen Wynd said.

“It has to be a registered charity so that’s the big thing we have to decide when this is all over. There are a lot of worthwhile charities.

“I know it seems drastic and it really is sad, but with only eight members we have no choice.

“And some of them can’t even get here because of transport problems.

“We can’t operate like that, not with public liability bills of $1800 a year – we simply can’t afford it.”

While senior citizens and sociologists will be scratching their heads trying to figure out how membership has declined to such a critical level in an era of unprecedented aging, ultimately it will be a question for the historians to answer.

While new elderly social groups like Probus are cashed-up and capable of providing transport to members, some traditional groups like the Senior Citizens clubs are struggling.

Miss Wynd is no more enlightened as to the causes and puts the decline down to the changing times as she flips through a scrapbook of Northern Star clippings plotting the history of the club.

Formed in 1976, the club has had a rich history of community service.

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell, Nationals MP Thomas George and former mayor Merv King joined other local dignitaries to toast the club.

“We can’t explain it, really we’ve tried,” Ms Wynd said.

“We’ve tried to get members, but it is difficult to get here now. Perhaps it’s the transport. You’ve got to take the bus downtown. And then you’ve got to go back via downtown to get home. Perhaps it’s too far.

“We’ll be holding a special meeting in a couple of weeks with the solicitor, who will let us know the rules.

“First of all we have to find someone to sell the building for us.”

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