Locals ARE fighting to save the New Cumnock Working Men’s Club as it grapples with historic debt and struggles to cope with the impact of COVID-19.

New Cumnock Working Men’s Club is one of the last remaining working men’s clubs in Scotland, funded by miners to provide a space for local people to socialise and participate in different community activities.

Despite the want to preserve it for future generations, the club now faces a fight to survive as it is blighted by historic debt, the after effects of coronavirus and growing demand for its Food Larder service.

A new committee has now been set up to try and restore the working men’s club back to its former glory.

Heather Montgomery, committee member, said: “We are one of the only clubs left in Scotland but we are crippled with historic debt. We had to form a new committee due to the debt that’s not been paid in the past and we’ve been excluded from some grants because we weren’t registered properly.

“The miners paid for this to get built but the place is in a shambles. We’ve been running the Food Larder and doing what we can to help while struggling to survive ourselves. If we weren’t operating the food bank, we wouldn’t be running.

“We’ve no community centre so we have to go to the town hall but that’s just not for some people. We want to keep the food bank going even when this crisis is over too.”

The club is holding regular raffles and fundraisers to raise essential funds for the Kid’s Cove, run by Sheryl Graham in the premises.

Members are also renovating the club with the help of locals who have offered their services often free of charge, although maintenance issues persist such as a leaking roof.

Heather said: “We’ve had volunteers helping as well as local businesses which have given us vouchers which has been amazing. Miners have sweated and died for the club. We need to save it.”

New Cumnock Development Trust are also assisting with funding and writing up a new constitution.

Tammy Borthwick, Project & Admin Officer at the Trust, said: “Heather, Sheryl and other volunteers got the larder up and running themselves and got the club back to a fit-for-purpose state but it’s getting harder for people to help as a lot are back to work.

“New Cumnock doesn’t have a community centre as such. If we lose the working men’s club we don’t have that facility where people can play bingo or dominoes. It is a hall for every one of every age.”

The club would like to thank Margo Telfer, Scott Mitchell, Jan Kay, Billy McLoud, Robert Lind, Robbie Wilson and many others for their help.