Members are said to be "heartbroken" over the news that their social club will be closing in December.

People connected to Holyrood Social Club in Tolpits Lane, Watford, say the closure will have a "huge impact" on the community.

The venue is a "lifeline" for the elderly, particularly on Sundays for bingo, and a place for people to meet up and have a drink or watch the football.

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But the Watford Observer has been told the club will be shutting its doors on December 11 resulting in job losses and a hole in the community.

Watford Observer: Holy Rood Social Club in Tolpits LaneHoly Rood Social Club in Tolpits Lane (Image: Google Street View)

Mum-of-two Jessi Ryan, 40, who has worked behind the bar for four years, said: "It's heartbreaking for everyone. A lot of the elderly have lost loved ones over Covid and there solace is going to the bingo.

"The hall is booked out at least every other weekend and us as staff have lost our jobs ahead of Christmas. This will have a huge impact."

Member Paul Lambert, 62, who has been visiting the social club for around 20 years, said: "I will miss this place. The numbers have been dwindling but it's still a lifeline for the elderly and I'll come and have a few drinks and watch the sports on a Friday and Saturday."

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Watford Observer: Holy Rood Social ClubHoly Rood Social Club (Image: Jessi Ryan)

The site where the social club lies is reportedly owned by Holy Rood Catholic Church which is part of the Diocese of Westminster.

The Observer has been told there is upset from those at the social club aimed towards the parish over the closure. It is claimed the social club has been asked to pay rent it cannot afford - and until recently had never been asked to pay rent before.

John Lyons, who was involved when the club was built in the early 1970s and formerly sat on the club committee, said: "This [closure] is very unfair. The club has paid for all of the fixtures and fittings, the bills, the maintenance. The club doesn't make the money they are looking for. They never used to ask for rent."

Watford Observer: Holy Rood Social ClubHoly Rood Social Club (Image: Jessi Ryan)

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Westminster said: "The social club is a separate entity from the parish that has used the site on Tolpits Lane that is owned by the parish.

"Attendance at the club had been declining prior to the pandemic, which had meant essential positions of the committee were left unfilled and that rent was not paid to the parish.

"In essence, this has meant that the parish has been subsiding the club, which, as an independent entity that does not aid the charitable aims of the parish, is not permitted.

"Once the space is vacated, it will be used for the benefit of the parish."

The Diocese has been approached for further comment.

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