MEMBERS of a social club which should be celebrating its centenary are instead fighting for its survival.

Highbridge Social Club is facing closure due to “severe financial difficulties”, management committee chairman John Akers told the Weekly News.

He fears closure could be imminent and said: “The club has served the people of Highbridge and the surrounding area very well for a century, but the financial difficulties which have beset so many such clubs are now so severe and our costs continue to rise.

“Despite all the efforts of the committee to contain costs and find economies, last year we made a trading loss for the first time and we can’t continue with that level of performance.”

The club, in a modern building in Church Street, is home to many skittles and darts teams, and has a range of facilities, including function rooms.

Mr Akers said the club has approached Sedgemoor District Council for hardship relief from its rates bill, which is about £850 a month.

He said: “One of the members has written to SDC’s leader asking whether other help might be available.

“We perform a vital function in a town with relatively few amenities or opportunities for socialising and recreation, so if we were to close it would be a grave loss to the community.”

A spokeswoman for SDC said applications for hardship are being considered by the business rates panel today (Thursday).

She said: “We understand the social club’s considering changing its format and perhaps becoming a sports or recreational club in the future.

“SDC’s discretionary relief policy allows other reliefs to be granted for these clubs, and any application would be considered at the appropriate time.

“Businesses and organisations are always welcome to contact Sedgemoor’s revenues team for friendly and helpful advice on rate relief.”

The ‘members only’ club is owned by its 250 members, and membership at £5 a year is open to men and women.

For more information call 01278-782446.