kirkcaldy’s strong Polish community is prepared to battle for the future of its popular social club.
So says Renata Lopatowska, chairman of the club, the largest in Scotland, which is facing the threat of closure if the London-based parent club carries out its threat to sell off all of its buildings throughout the country.
The Polish Club in Forth Park Drive was set up as an ex-servicemen’s club in Bennochy House in 1953, to give Polish soldiers who fought in WW2 and settled in the town after demobilisation somewhere to get together and socialise.
Bennochy House was bought by the parent company which holds the mortgage, while local members paid subscriptions and saved up to pay the installments.
It currently has 76 members who are Polish or of Polish descent, and over 250 non-Polish members, making it bigger than either of the other two Scottish clubs in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
As well as a thriving social club with regular weekend entertainment, the popular Thursday-night Kirkcaldy Acoustic Music Club, and regular functions, it also hosts a parent and toddler group twice a week and a school where children of Polish descendants are taught the language and culture of their homeland by qualified teachers.
“Kirkcaldy has the biggest Polish Club in Scotland and we are proud of that. It has helped forge strong relationships between Polish and Scottish people in the town, and, although it is not as busy as it once was, it is still a thriving club which is very popular,” said the chairman.
Renata (57), who lives in the town’s Milton Road with her husband Sigmund, said the idea of selling off the building was first mooted back in 2010 when Polish Club Ltd. in London informed members it wanted to wind up the clubs in stages.
However, members, including the 10-strong committee, were shocked when, in February, they received a letter informing them plans had been brought forward to the end of 2012.
“We would hate to see our club wound up as it is a popular meeting place for lots of Polish people,” said Renata. “We will be talking to representatives from London this week, but we will be opposing any plans to close the club.”