By Luke East
A Te Awamutu sports club has upped its membership fees by 60 percent – just to keep the lights on.
The Te Awamutu Croquet Club, which played its first game in October 1911 and has withstood two World Wars is facing its biggest battle yet as it attempted to keep up with rising maintenance costs.
Club members Melva Carter and Jean Fisher say that despite the club having more than 40 members and a spate of wins in recent years they’re finding it more difficult each year to keep up with the financial that the sport requires.
The Bank St club recently applied for funding from the Te Awamutu Community Board just to cover the costs of mowing their playing lawns.
Despite increasing membership costs, gaining sponsorship, attracting more members and other initiatives, maintenance costs such as mowing, fertilising, aerating, rolling, watering and dethatching lawns absorb most of the club’s funds.
There is nothing left to spruce up the clubrooms for the first time since 2006 or undertake other improvements to the club.
The Te Awamutu Community Board has put up $600 towards costs – but the maintenance bill is $4000.
Club President Yvonne Hamilton and members gathered for a round on Monday morning and reflected that the surrounding scenery had barely changed in over a century and that it would be a shame for Te Awamutu to lose a club which has been a central part of our community for so long.
Yvonne and Golf Croquet Captain Chris Page say they met Mayor Jim Mylchreest and staff to discuss the maintenance costs and warn that the club is at risk of collapse if it cannot secure funding to cover their lawn maintenance.
Members at Monday’s game of Golf Croquet (a more fast-paced version of the game) say the club is an asset to the community and is a good way of keeping fit, getting outdoors and staying connected. They are hopeful the community will help to keep their 110-year-old club going for future generations of Te Awamutu residents.