A ONCE thriving club in Bodmin has hit financial difficulty and could cease trading this week.
The committee which runs St Lawrence's Social Club has been desperately seeking a way to keep it open but, unless financial assistance can be found as a matter of urgency, members have been told it will be closed down this morning.
A dwindling number of regular customers, resulting in fewer takings over the bar, has been blamed.
The current premises were purpose-built ten years ago, but there has been a St Lawrence's Social Club on hospital land off Boundary Road at three different locations over the decades.
The club was set up when the former mental hospital employed hundreds of people. It was run and paid for by trustees of the hospital.
The current club is run by a local committee. The health authority which is now in charge of Bodmin Hospital is no longer involved and is no longer paying the club's bills.
Social club committee chairman Mike Carter said they were trying hard to find the finance to keep it open.
"There is a possibility we can keep the club going but, because of the current financial situation, we have told people that we are expecting to close on Wednesday," he said.
"There are a lot of pubs in Bodmin and we are out of the town. If someone wants to come and have a drink here, they'll have to pay £3.50 for a taxi and, the fact is, fewer people are coming here."
Rob Jarrett, who has managed the club since the new premises were built ten years ago, said it had been difficult attracting enough customers.
"It looks as if this could be the end of an era really. That's a great shame as it was a thriving club years ago, with lots of people coming here, but not any longer.
"It will be sad for me if it has to close because it's been the centre of my social life for such a long time."
St Lawrence's Social Club had always been a venue prepared to put on live entertainment, and hundreds of bands had played there over the years at its various sites.
Last Saturday night, a special get-together was arranged for members to mark the club's impending closure, featuring rock band No Picnic.