Hanging Heaton Working Men’s Club is bucking the trend of troubled WMCs

PULLING IN THE PUNTERS: Hanging Heaton WMC president Colin North says requests for membership have gone through the roof. (d17011208)
PULLING IN THE PUNTERS: Hanging Heaton WMC president Colin North says requests for membership have gone through the roof. (d17011208)

A WORKING men’s club is toasting its success after being named one of the best run in the country.

Hanging Heaton WMC has been chosen as club of the month by Club Journal, the Club and Institute Union’s official magazine.

The club, which has been in High Street since 1915, drew the attention of Britain’s biggest clubs organisation by increasing turnover by £38,000 last year.

While many clubs nationally were said to be suffering falls in turnover of around eight per cent, Hanging Heaton was notching up an increase of around 16 per cent.

Club president Colin North said paying off loans with the breweries and focusing on hiring out its function room had been the key.

He said: “We paid the breweries off five years ago and because we don’t owe anybody we can negotiate better prices.

“We also got a licence so we could have parties and things like that.

“Instead of us paying artists to sell beer, we’re getting people paying us for the privilege of having the room and buying our beer.”

The club was founded by a group of men who used to meet at Shaw Cross Co-op Reading Room in 1907, and was described in our sister paper the Batley and Birstall News as ‘a circle of men in search of more congenial relaxation and more varied entertainment’.

Today, anyone is welcome to hire the club’s function room which is booked up months in advance.

“It’s crazy,” said Mr North. “At least three or four weekends are booked in every month. We’re booked up virtually until October!”

The club also built new ties with Dewsbury Rams when it started sponsoring one of the team’s players last season.

In return, the rugby league club recommends the venue as a stopover for fans on the way to its stadium in Shaw Cross.

Mr North said: “We’ve got a group of supporters who come in before home games. On Boxing Day morning when the Rams had the local derby, they asked if we would open. By 11.30am you couldn’t move in the place and after the game they all came back. We took thousands.”

With its relationship with the Rams bearing fruit and demand for its function room at an all-time high, Mr North and the committee hope the future of the Hanging Heaton WMC was secured.

“We think we’ve got it right now,” he said.

Follow me on Twitter @ReporterGeorge. Email me at georgina.morris@ywng.co.uk