Social club in Wembley to close after losing eviction fight against the Roman Catholic Church
PUBLISHED: 08:33 01 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:12 01 May 2016
A social club in Wembley described as a ‘lifeline’ for pensioners will close after losing an eviction battle against the Roman Catholic Church.
St Josephs Social Club in Empire Way, is being booted out of its premises next month by its landlords the Diocese of Westminster following a year-long battle to stay.
The club, which has nearly 400 members, opened in 1974 and is a hub to aging residents in Brent especially members of the Irish community.
The venue hosts a number of weekly events including a Thursday tea dance in association with the Brent Irish Advisory Service (BIAS), a charity that gives support to elders living in Brent.
Patricia Brophy, the club’s stewardess, said: “It was absolutely sickening when we received that first letter.
“So many people use this club; I don’t know what they going to do now.
“And they haven’t even told us what they want the land for.”
Tom Brophy, Mrs Brophy’s husband and a committee member, added: “Over the years, the club has done so much good. We’ve raised a lot of money for charity through events – £2,000 just this February.
“All we wanted to do was have a meeting with them to see what could be done to stop this, but no one would meet with us.
“It was like being hit with a sledgehammer. We’ve nowhere to go and we can’t afford to anyway, so we don’t know what we’re going to do.”
Despite being opening for 42 years the club has no formal tenancy agreement with the Diocese and has been unable to demonstrate its legal right to retain possession.
The club lost a battle to stay at the premises after Willesden Magistrates’ Court upheld the eviction notice served by the Diocese.
Mike McGing, BIAS director, said: “St Joseph’s has been a lifeline for people, many of who are widowed or have health problems.
“Most are between 65 and 95-years-old and it gets them out the house and stops them getting depressed.
“We are moving to Cricklewood Trades Hall but not all our clients will be able to make it that far; it’s a shame.
“It’s been a wonderful venue for us so we’re so sad to lose it.”
The Diocese told the Times: “The group is running a social club that is unaffiliated with the parish, in a manner that is not consistent with the charitable aims of the parish. After years of attempting to engage with them to establish a formal agreement, they have been asked to vacate the premises.
“Although no final decision has been made on the use of the premises, it will be for the direct benefit of the charity, in alignment with the mission of the charity.”