Dicky Strickland admits he doesn’t have a particular connection to the Longside Club — he simply found the club’s plight touching.
The Longside Club, a social and recreational centre on Shaw Street in St. John’s, provides services to about 80 members with mental and physical challenges, including bingo, bowling, movies, karaoke and dances.
In 2012, the club lost one of its funding generators — a short-order cooking program it had operated for 18 years. The course was funded by government to help people get off income support and gain employment in restaurants, hotels and other service industries.
The club was in danger of closing this time two years ago, and organized a blitz of fundraising activities, including an art auction and recycling drive. But, Strickland says, with a cut in government funding, the club needs money to pay its rent and utilities by the end of the month: $1,824, to be exact.
“I saw the touching story on TV and I thought, I know musicians, I can do this,” Strickland says. “I posted on my Facebook status about wanting to do a fundraiser, and right away I had replies from people who were all willing to help out.”
Strickland, a musician with Sonny Trip and the Long Distance Runners, has organized a series of shows in support of the Longside Club. The first one happens tonight at The Levee, featuring The Beach B’ys, Courtney Day, The Daisy Cutters, Matthew Hare and Len O’Neill. Cover charge is $6, and showtime is 10:30 p.m.
Events will take place next week at The Republic and Distortion, with musicians like Maggie Meyer, Selina Boland, The Elizabeatans, Terry Reilly and Sonny Trip, and March 2 at The Ship, with artists like Katie Baggs, Steve Maloney, Joanna Barker, Chris Kirby and Sandy Morris.
“These are people just like everybody else,” Strickland says of the members of the Longside Club, “but they don’t necessarily have the social skills we have. It’s wonderful for them to have a place to go.”
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