Dunmow Flitch Friendship Club faces uncertain future

PUBLISHED: 09:00 04 December 2009 | UPDATED: 07:28 30 May 2010

A CLUB which looks after the welfare of the over 55s is in danger of folding because of a shortage of volunteer members. The Dunmow Flitch Friendship Club, which has 113 members, is losing its chairman and secretary next year after husband and wife team,

A CLUB which looks after the welfare of the over 55s is in danger of folding because of a shortage of volunteer members.

The Dunmow Flitch Friendship Club, which has 113 members, is losing its chairman and secretary next year after husband and wife team, John and Janet Penfold, decided to quit after 10 years at the helm.

Mrs Penfold said: "At the AGM in October 2008 John and I announced to members that we would be retiring from the committee at the AGM in 2010.

"We asked for volunteers from within the club to come forward but so far there has been no response from members to take on some of the tasks involved. As a result we have had to apply to Volunteer Centres to seek replacements."

Formed over 40 years ago, the club is classed as a charity and was originally formed to take care of social, welfare, recreational and education benefits for people aged over 60.

However, the age limit for the club was reduced to 55 in 2007 in a bid to attract younger members who could then take over some of the leadership duties.

But Mrs Penfold said there has been no positive action since that time.

"We have reminded members of our forthcoming retirements from the committee and of the ultimate closure of the club should volunteers not be found," she said.

Main duties involve managing trusteeships, reporting to the Charity Commission, signing cheques, compiling membership records and producing membership cards.

The secretary books halls and transport and replies to any correspondence, and represents the club at other organisations within the town

Mrs Penfold added: "We have come to realise that the amount of work is considerable and becoming more difficult and restrictive as we have aged over the last ten years."

Currently the group holds monthly meetings at Foakes Hall, Great Dunmow, and hosts around 20 Saturday afternoon meetings, held fortnightly at the Day Centre. They also publish a monthly newsletter which goes out to members.

If you are interested in helping out contact the Dunmow Broadcast by e-mailing nick.thompson@archant.co.uk or calling 07501 482 135 and we will put you in touch.

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