Calls to support club amid fears Warwick RSL might close
CONCERNS our town could lose one of its most popular social venues have been put to bed by executives, who say the Warwick RSL Memorial Club is thriving and will be a viable business in the Rose City into the future.
Calls for the community to rally behind the Warwick RSL Memorial Club have come alongside reports of tension surrounding the leadership and direction of the beloved establishment.
Manager John Gartside left his position in late November, shortly after handing in his resignation.
Mr Gartside said he chose to quit over disputes about the direction of the club, which is trying to recover from substantial debt.
In April, the Warwick Daily News reported the club had a $793,584 loss last year.
"The committee and I went in different directions and we have some different ideas and that is OK," he said.
President Geraldine O'Neill said rumours about turmoil, mismanagement and the prospect of closing were completely untrue.
Attracting 200 new members in the past year, Mrs O'Neill said she was confident about the venue's longevity.
"We have got a good committee who are really keen to keep the club going and we depend on the support of the community to do that," she said.
As the club seeks to hire a new manager, Mrs O'Neill said it was business as usual: "We are carrying it on as a good, viable, professional club."
"We like to think the club is a home away from home for people."
However employees have recently spoken out about a "toxic" culture that arose from staff shortages and inadequate training.
One employee, who will remain anonymous, said some staff were working up to 60 hours each week and taking on additional responsibilities "just to keep the club open".
"I am very passionate about the club and I really love the customers and I don't want to see it close," the employee said.
"It has so much potential and these are dedicated people and staff in there who are really trying so hard to make sure it keeps going."
The Daily News understands workers approached the committee with concerns, but Mrs O'Neill said she was unaware of understaffing issues.
"I know we have enough staff there to operate the club," she said.
The employee urged members of the community to rally behind the RSL.
"It's so much more than just a place just to have a beer," the employee said.
"If the community gets together and give us ideas about what they want for the club and they start spending money in the club and getting involved in the committee then the club can get back on track."
The next annual general meeting for the Warwick RSL Memorial Club is in March next year, where members can have their say, vote on a committee and show their support.
Membership is $7.70 per calendar year.
It can be bought at the front desk.