THE historic 110-year-old Dobcross Band and Social Club is to reopen on Saturday for the first time since before the coronavirus pandemic.

Terry Lawless, club president, said: “It’s been three long months since lockdown, the music stopped and Dobcross Band Club closed its curtains on the outside world.

“It’s hasn’t all been bad news though as, ironically, just days before lockdown, we received confirmation that our lottery bid for almost £10,000 to refurbish the club kitchen had been successful.

“This funding will be augmented by monies from the Co-operative Community Fund and will provide us with excellent, modern catering facilities.

“A tremendous amount of work has been undertaken to improve the look and feel of the club, mostly by enthusiastic unpaid volunteers.

“In an effort to freshen up the appearance of the club, the carpets have been professionally cleaned and bright new tables and chairs have been purchased for both the lounge bar and the snooker room, creating more space and a more modern, welcoming look.

"The response of our skilled members to our call for support during lockdown has been heartening to say the least.

“Many of them willingly offering their services without even being asked. It reaffirms our belief that the Band Club is right at the heart of the local community, and that the people of Dobcross really value and support us.”

Things have changed drastically in the last 15 weeks and, as the country moves towards a new normal, the club is preparing for a carefully planned opening on July 4.

Committee meetings have taken place to consider the safety measures that would need to be implemented in order to ensure the safety of staff and customers.

Mr Lawless continued: “The club is in the fortunate position of having plenty of space, so will be able to adhere to the recommended two metre social distancing. Tables will be set out accordingly throughout the club, including the concert room, at least until the bands return to practising.

“Hand sanitiser stations have been set up throughout the club and risk assessments carried out, including on the use of the snooker table.

“There will be only one person working behind the bar at any time, a safe queuing system will operate, and we will be encouraging card only payments.

“Things have been very difficult for the last few months and as people start to look forward to better things, there is no doubt that financially, for Dobcross Band Club and many others, things will be challenging for some time, “ he added.

“The club will be particularly hard hit by the loss of significant revenue from private functions. The immediate future of the club will depend entirely on the continued support of members and visitors.”

The club will open its doors on Saturday at 2pm with new opening times on weekdays at 5pm until 11pm and at weekends from 2pm until 11pm.