Club bowled over by improvement grant
30th May 2018
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A popular bowling club in South Ham is hoping to increase membership and encourage more disabled players to become involved in the game when its clubhouse has been redeveloped with support from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council. 

Howard Park Bowling Club in Russell Howard Park, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, has received a Local Infrastructure Fund grant of £150,000.  

The £180,000 project include plans for a new pitched roof, wall insulation and double glazing and a new layout inside the clubhouse to create a larger lounge and social area. 
This will improve facilities at the club’s base, increase capacity, make it more accessible for all, improve energy efficiency and attract more members. 

The introduction of a wheelchair ramp, already funded separately by the borough council, will encourage more disabled players onto the green and the club is planning to introduce short mat bowls inside the clubhouse in the winter months.  

The community-based club currently has around 80 members who enjoy regular matches as well as an active social calendar.  

When the refurbishment has been completed, the club hopes the facilities will also be used by local people for a range of community events. 

The council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Service Delivery and Improvement, Cllr Robert Tate said: “The redevelopment of the Howard Park Bowls Clubhouse will prepare the club for the future, bringing in more local people to keep it thriving. 

“The council’s Local Infrastructure Fund grants support community projects such as this which encourage local people to involve themselves in enjoyable healthy exercise and provide an opportunity to make new friends.”  

The club is fundraising for the remaining £30,600 to complete the project through social events. 

Clubhouse Improvement Project committee chairman Mr Bill Ray said: “I should like to thank the council for granting our application for the sum of £150,000 through their Local Infrastructure Fund.  

“This very substantial sum of money will now enable us to provide an excellent facility where the residents of South Ham and further afield can take advantage of the opportunity to become both physically and mentally more active. 

“Through the Disability Bowls England and British Wheelchair Bowls Association we are also endeavouring to encourage disabled players to become more involved in the game of bowls.” 
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