Corrimal RSL Club is celebrating being able keep on 17 of its staff after applying for JobKeeper assistance from the Federal Government.
Chief executive Sara Watkins applied for the JobKeeper scheme the day after the initiative was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Ms Watkins said retaining its highly trained employees was a priority for the club.
So it was a great relief when JobKeeper was approved in parliament last Wednesday.
The payroll is the club's largest expense and it means the government will subsidise the wages so Corrimal RSL can keep its valued workforce.
Ms Watkins said she was very happy for the 17 people who meet the JobKeeper criteria who will be able to stay on the books despite the doors being closed and no revenue coming in.
"It feels fantastic to be able to assist our employees through this extremely difficult time," she said.
"I am thrilled to be able to offer it to them. There were a few tears shed when the announcement was made.
"It is lovely to know we are going to be able to keep these vitally important people who are the face of our club. It is such wonderful news".
Ms Watkins said it means the staff will be there when the doors eventually re-open.
"We have invested significant time and money into each of our employees," she said.
"We provide them ongoing training. To have them stay means it is going to be a much easier transition for us when we get to the other end of this.
"It will also be great to still have those familiar faces there for our members and our community who have been expressing concern for the welfare of our employees".
Ms Watkins said the club itself was doing everything it can to survive the next three to six months.
It is reducing other expenses as much as it can and is using this time to stay connected with the community that supports it.
During the last couple of weeks the club has been making phone calls to check in on its members to see if they are going okay.
"We are checking on their welfare and seeing if there is anything we can provide them," Ms Watkins said.
"We started by selecting our older members first".
There are more than 2000 aged over 70 and the club wants to check in and see how they are going at this uncertain time.
"We want to see if we can provide any assistance such as getting groceries for them," Ms Watkins said.
"It is about having a general catch up and a chat and being that social network for them. Which as a club is something we provide".
Staff retained with JobKeeper will be able to assist with staying connected with the members they have developed a good relationship with.
"This is such a difficult time. Our doors may be closed but we are still here behind the scenes trying to have that active engagement with our members," Ms Watkins.
"We have had a few Easter Egg raffles online using the egg hampers that were delivered after we had to close," she said.
And the meat trays delivered just prior to the club closing were also put to great use.
"We worked in with our sub-branch and asked their welfare officer to identify and deliver meat trays to 40 of our veterans and their families. They were just so thrilled to receives these".
The Illawarra Mercury has launched a Taking Care of Business campaign.
Each day we will highlight a local business who is adapting or evolving to be able to keep operating under these trying times.
If you know of a business adapting, please send us an email titled Taking Care of Business to email@example.com.
We have also put a call out and will run a list of cafes, restaurants and clubs who are offering takeaway or delivery on our Facebook page. If you know of an outlet now offering home delivery or takeaway, please let us know and add it to the list.
Here is more about the campaign:
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- Stuck at home - is your family up for the COVID-19 dance challenge?
- Country Grocer says thank you to health workers with free coffee
- New same day contact-free alcohol delivery starts
- Facebook foodie group 'Illawarra Menus' racks up 20,000 followers in six days
- Liquor and Gaming Authority allows Grill'd to deliver beer or wine with meals
- How to plan a wedding in 23 hours because of COVID-19
- Wollongong's Deli and Dine on Market offers grazing boxes
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