Fighting fund is formed
MAY I, through your columns, make people aware that a group of Langholm Social Club members came together to form a fighting (community) fund to defend the Social Club's efforts to resist Legion Scotland's claims to owning the premises.
It claims this by virtue of its own constitution and in accordance with charity law because it deems the closure of Langholm branch in January 2016 also entails closure of the social club.
The club ran alongside the Legion branch for many years until relatively recently (2007/8) when the branch was required by its Edinburgh HQ to obtain charitable status. This did not extend to the social club and two separate committees were formed.
There is a long-held belief that the property was donated to the townsfolk and managed by the trustees of the social club. The trustees have fiscal responsibilities for daily operations and these never extended to the branch. This includes wages, utility bills, rates and, equally as important, the building's upkeep which is in need of key repairs.
In 2001 it is minuted in Dumfries and Galloway (Legion Scotland) area minutes that the clubs at Castle Douglas and Langholm were not owned by their respective branches.
Much of the work and recent decisions taken by the trustees have been carried out accordingly. Legion Scotland has never asked for copies of the annual accounts, on which the property is listed as an asset, since the split from the branch.
In June 2016 it wrote and asked that the keys to the building were handed over. This has been strongly resisted. The social club has stood alone since the Langholm branch folded in January 2016.
It has a constitution to improve the lives of the members, keep the building in good order and support the community when possible. However, legal advice has been costly and will continue to rise.
After the delayed AGM on March 12, a group of members decided to instigate the fighting (community) fund to raise cash to help cover the legal costs of further challenges from Legion Scotland.
The funds will serve another purpose. In the event these funds are not needed to cover further legal expenses, it is agreed that any cash raised will be made available to the town and surrounding community. This will be done in a timely manner, after which the members will close it.
Anyone wishing to help should contact Fiona Patterson or Trish Henderson at the social club.
Langholm Social Club