Use club or lose it

Chinchilla News - - NEWS -

PRES­I­DENT of Chin­chilla RSL Peter Bel­grove ap­peals to the Chin­chilla com­mu­nity for sup­port as the club em­barks on ex­cit­ing changes. We sit down with Peter for a chat about the role of com­mu­nity clubs in the mod­ern era and what the fu­ture holds for Chin­chilla RSL.

Q. Peter, you have a long his­tory of in­volve­ment in com­mu­nity clubs such as the Chin­chilla RSL. What drives you to keep sup­port­ing them? A. I firmly be­lieve that our com­mu­nity clubs are a vi­tal part of our com­mu­ni­ties. They are a way of draw­ing our com­mu­ni­ties to­gether and of sup­port­ing wor­thy causes. Too many of these clubs have closed in nearby towns re­cently and ev­ery time I drive past one of these closed clubs it mo­ti­vates me to en­sure the Chin­chilla RSL re­mains open for our com­mu­nity.

It pains me to drive past what was the Dalby RSL, where my dad man­aged for 30 years, and to see what my home town has lost through its clos­ing and es­pe­cially when the town was not aware the club was in fi­nan­cial trou­ble.

I would like to let the com­mu­nity of Chin­chilla know that un­less we get the sup­port of the mem­bers, the club will close. Other lo­cal towns to have watched their RSL clubs close are Gat­ton, Miles and Goondi­windi.

Q. Chin­chilla RSL has had a tough few years re­cently. What steps have you taken to en­sure the fu­ture of the club? A. Ev­ery lo­cal busi­ness has felt the ef­fects of the boom and bust here in Chin­chilla and we are no dif­fer­ent. Added to this are new trends and changes in the ex­pec­ta­tions of peo­ple in Chin­chilla. Our com­mit­tee, with the help of our staff, have worked hard to en­sure the sur­vival of the club and to set it up for the fu­ture.

We have taken a few im­por­tant steps re­cently, in­clud­ing ap­point­ing new man­agers to over­see im­por­tant changes. They have rein­vig­o­rated our food of­fer­ing and are en­sur­ing our menu and our ser­vice pro­vide a great ex­pe­ri­ence for ev­ery­one who vis­its us. They are help­ing us to stream­line our costs and en­sure we are re­ward­ing our loyal mem­bers in the right ways. We have in­structed them to sup­port our lo­cal busi­nesses by pur­chas­ing lo­cally as much as pos­si­ble, which they are keen to do.

At the start of June they ap­pointed a new head chef, Mark Minczanowski. The feed­back we are re­ceiv­ing gives us great con­fi­dence we can put Chin­chilla RSL back on the map as a des­ti­na­tion for excellent food.

Lastly, we have worked very closely with our bank here in Chin­chilla, West­pac. Through open and hon­est dis­cus­sions, we have worked out man­age­able fi­nan­cial plans. To their credit, they have been very sup­port­ive. Q. How con­fi­dent are you that you can keep the club open? A. I get great con­fi­dence from the de­ter­mi­na­tion of our hard-work­ing com­mit­tee mem­bers. True com­mu­nity spirit is seen in how hard these vol­un­teers work to sup­port our club. I have been en­cour­aged to see new vol­un­teers step up and put their fresh ideas for­ward. Com­bin­ing this with the ex­per­tise of our new man­agers and the hard work and care of our pas­sion­ate lo­cal staff, I am con­fi­dent we have the right for­mula.

What we need, how­ever, is the sup­port of ev­ery­one in Chin­chilla to check out the changes we are mak­ing around the club. The club ex­ists to sup­port our com­mu­nity and we in turn need the sup­port of ev­ery­one in Chin­chilla to en­sure the club’s sur­vival.

An­zac Day was an­other strong mo­ti­va­tion, as an im­por­tant re­minder of our club’s true pur­pose. To see the club work­ing with the sub-branch in putting on a suc­cess­ful day of com­mem­o­ra­tion was a hum­bling and re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It re­minds us all how im­por­tant it is to save our club.

The bot­tom line is that the club will sur­vive only with the sup­port of ev­ery­one in Chin­chilla. Whether that is through en­joy­ing a meal here, book­ing a sem­i­nar or a fam­ily gath­er­ing, or just calling in to catch up with friends for lunch or a drink. If we as a com­mu­nity don’t rally around our RSL club, we will lose it just like the towns I men­tioned ear­lier.

PHOTO: MADI­SON WATT

DIRE STRAITS: Chin­chilla RSL pres­i­dent Peter Bell­grove is afraid the com­mu­nity will lose the club.

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