Bright future for threatened club

Joy Jackson (centre) with colleague Jan Bouhajeb (far right) and club members (left to right) Luke Hardy, Kelly Herring and Kenny McLoughlin at Owton Manor Social Club

Joy Jackson (centre) with colleague Jan Bouhajeb (far right) and club members (left to right) Luke Hardy, Kelly Herring and Kenny McLoughlin at Owton Manor Social Club

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SOCIAL club bosses are looking forward to a brighter future and being on the road to recovery after hitting a financial crisis.

The future of Owton Manor Social Club, in Hartlepool’s Wynyard Road, looked bleak fifteen months ago with mounting debts of around £480,000.

In a bid to save the club, the committee took the unorthodox route of hiring a paid manager and the venue is now on the road to recovery.

Joy Jackson answered the call and the 40-year-old has been at the heart of the transformation.

The debt is down to a far more manageable £280,000 after unwanted contracts were stopped, the amount of council tax being paid was reviewed, along with all other aspects of the business.

The club also made headlines in October after assistant social club stewardess Teresa Ross won a £16,000 payout after she was forced to quit when she was demoted to barmaid.

But club bosses say they are “very much” open for business, despite rumours that they were closing.

Joy, 40, said: “The message is clear, we are still here and very much open for business.”

Owton Manor Social Club, which employs 10 members of staff, has a main bar, a lounge, separate games area and concert room which can cater for 350 people, one of the biggest in the region.

Joy has praised the 10-strong committee for its dedication and hard work in helping turn the club around.

She said: “Dedication is the word.

“They work all week, but still come in and hold meetings every Saturday morning to go through the business.

“They all play an integral role.

“We had to look at absolutely everything and to see where we could make savings.

“If we are here this time next year, then we will have nothing else to worry about.

“I am very confident of that, which is not something I would have said last year” added Joy who also praised bar supervisors Karen Sharp and Jan Bouhajeb for their efforts.

The mum-of-three added: “The staff are all firmly committed to the club, members too, and it is in everyone’s interest to keep it going.”

The club has 373 members, 53 life members and 36 female members.

Joy, who admits the toughest part was getting used to the male-dominated club culture, added: “I am really pleased with the uptake since we started welcoming female members.

“The ladies all play an active role and help fundraise.”

Many of the members are joiners, plasterers, decorators and plumbers and Joy said they all help out when it comes to doing odd-jobs around the building.

Joy, who lives in Seaton Carew with partner Andrew, is mum to Danielle, 20, Chloe-Ann, 18 and JosieLeigh, 13.