A POPULAR social club in the heart of a Port Talbot community has closed suddenly.
Residents in Velindre have been left devastated by the news that the Trefelin Workingmen's Club has shut its doors.
It was just four years ago when residents formed a committee to take over the Jersey Street club after it was forced to close due to crippling debts.
Since then it has been used by scores of residents for groups and gatherings. Due to its closure an 80th birthday event has been cancelled.
Doug Rees, a former secretary for 20 years, said Trefelin is not just a club. "It is very much a community centre," he said.
"There is nothing else in Velindre. But whether it will re-open as a club I don't know. It is such a blow."
Mr Rees said there are many teams who meet at the club, including three pool teams, a chess club, a darts club and Irish dancers.
"There is a women's section, and WeightWatchers and the OAPs, they are very fond of their bingo there," he said.
"The amazing thing is over the last 12 months other clubs have been closing so pool teams have been coming to the club. The numbers have swelled.
"There is an 80th birthday coming up, but sadly it is not likely to take place."
Mr Rees said when taking over the club four years ago the committee inherited a debt, which they have been paying off to brewer Heineken.
"They have struggled to keep up," he said. "They did find that the debt had been reduced.
"A public meeting was held on Monday to tell the locals about it," he said. "The next morning, the brewer shut the club. They have the legal charge because of the debt."
Another club member said they were "devastated" that the building, which had been open for more than 54 years, has been closed.
"It is not just about the money it is about the community," he said. "A lot of time, effort and money has gone into the building."
Port Talbot councillor Dennis Keogh said he was sad about the closure. "It is a loss to the community," he said. "It is the nearest thing the residents have got to a community centre."
Heineken UK spokesman David Jones said: "The new company that has been operating from the club premises (Trefelin Club Ltd) recently went into liquidation and the licence lapsed. "It was therefore necessary for the appointed Receivers to secure the premises and they have temporarily closed the club whilst they seek a buyer for the property in order that the club can be re-opened at the earliest opportunity."