Over the years I’ve been a member of around a dozen Toastmaster Clubs and have seen the effects having to change venues has had on their health. Parramatta Club, the club I’ve probably spent more time with as a member than any other, although at the moment one of the strongest clubs in District 70, has not been exempt from these woes. But it did have a very long relationship with the Parramatta Leagues Club. The Leagues Club provided a room free of charge for something like twenty years. Two decades at the same location and free of charge is something that happens to very few clubs.
It couldn’t last. A change in the leagues club’s board of directors and a desire to make more money at last brought this to an end. The price they wanted the Parramatta Toastmasters Club to pay seemed exorbitant so we moved out. I say, ‘we’ but I’d already left the club in 1985 and the crunch came a little later.
From thereon Parramatta moved this way and that, a restaurant, another sporting club, another restaurant, then back to the sporting club they’d left a little earlier. Numbers dwindled. Parramatta TMC, which had always had around forty or more members, dropped way down a dozen or so. At one meeting only I and two others attended. It seemed like the end of the line.
Then, after some negotiations with Parramatta RSL, the club once again found a stable home. They’ve been there for a good fifteen years now. And, what to you know – membership has blown out to over sixty! Pretty hard to beat, eh?
The moral: if you can get a good, suitable venue, stay there. For a Toastmaster Club it really does pay dividends.