Refurbiushed green will help keep club at the heart of community

Hereford Times: 1414_22004 Opening of new facilities at Wellington Bowls Club.
Bryan White, Chairman of Herefordshire Sport who officially opened the new facilities. (5177123) 1414_22004 Opening of new facilities at Wellington Bowls Club. Bryan White, Chairman of Herefordshire Sport who officially opened the new facilities. (5177123)

WELLINGTON Bowls Club are looking forward to a bright future after the official opening of their new green.

A big turn out of representatives from the village and the bowls community of Herefordshire came to celebrate with club members as the new facility, which cost around £70,000, was opened by Herefordshire Sport secretary Bryan White.

The majority of the funding came from a £50,000 grant from Sport England's Inspired Facilities Fund.

But club members have worked hard on a series of events over an eight-year period to ensure that the dream has been realised.

"We have raised more than £20,000 over an eight-year period," said club president David Wood.

"We have had a couple of concerts, Stephanie Best who is an accomplished soprano from the village sang for us and we had the Hereford Rail Male Choir out here.

"There have been a series of whist drives and all sorts of other events."

Their reward came with a turnout approaching 100 to see the green opened.

"There was a really good turnout and Bryan White did a cracking job for us with a very humorous speech," said Wood.

"He gave out a very strong message about how sport is at the heart of a community.

"Everyone said how much they enjoyed the day and we were delighted that 15 of the 16 bowling clubs in Herefordshire were able to be represented.

"The only down side to that was that, when we had a roll-up after the opening ceremony, they all had a chance to try out our green so now they will have an advantage over us when we come to play them in matches later in the season," he joked.

The club's refurbishment has not stopped at the green.

"Our old shelter, which basically used to be a bus shelter, has now been fully enclosed so that we can call it a proper pavilion, with blinds, chairs and an electric fire," said Wood.

And now the emphasis will be on recruiting new members to enjoy the facility and to ensure that the club remains a key part of the Wellington community.

"As part of the grant process, we had to have a development plan and a big part of that is to increase the membership," said Wood.

"We have already had three ladies join the club as new members.

"But a key element is to get youngsters involved in the club and we would very much like to work with the village school to further that.

"We have around 40 members at the moment and they are mostly retired people."

Another part of the development plan is that the club have to try to improve their league position.

"That should not be too hard," he admitted. "We finished bottom of the league last season."

Wood, however, admitted that it was the Sport England grant which had effectively secured the future of the club.

"The green, which is basically a carpet, was laid when the club opened in 1996.

"Without the green there is no club so this grant has enabled us to build for the future.

"A carpet will last for around 15 years so the fundraising never stops.

"We will now have to start working around to raise £3,00 each year so that we can buy the next one."

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