It was interesting to read in the County Times the details of the new proposed leisure centre, enhanced and enlarged facilities and also an ice rink. But no mention of replacing the indoor bowls.
I suppose it is thought the members would be able to use the ice rink. That would be one way to get rid of the older population. They would all go to hospital with broken limbs, get infections, and be no more bother. With the recent reports of increased loneliness, bowls is an ideal pastime. We may be older, but just still as competitive.
With about 100 matches against other clubs, and participation in County and National competitions, not to mention club individual and team competitions, there is a need for the members to have this facility. Bowls gives the older members something to which they can look forward.
Sitting in front of the television, shivering because the heating is inadequate, and having to provide a meal, without any company can be soul-destroying. With a bowls centre, there is company and social interaction, a good meal at a reasonable price from our restaurant, warmth and a degree of movement.
All this keeps the mind and body functioning, concentration and bending and walking about half a mile in easy stages can only be good. Not to mention the saving on the bills at home with the television and lighting off, and no need to cook!
Yes, bowls is a game played mainly by the elderly, but there is also a thriving Junior section, taught professionally by dedicated qualified coaches. Saturday mornings sees youngsters, girls and boys aged from eight upwards, enjoying the game. It teaches team spirit and discipline along with the ability to enjoy the company of others. Not everyone is into football.
The cost to the council is nothing. The club is run by the members for the members, although
there are rinks available for the public. The cost is considerably less than a visit to the cinema.
In fact, the council benefits from the rent it charges the club, a monthly fee of some four
figures. The council will lose that income.
The cost of maintaining an ice rink will surely be considerable. A need for someone to always be on site, in the interests of Health and Safety, and the expense of maintenance and electricity will not be cheap. The council has agreed to provide a new running track, much needed within the district, but also an ice rink, with probably much less usage than a bowls club, which is open seven days a week from 9.30am until 9.30pm.
The current bowls hall is of International standard, and attracts County Finals, and also the English Bowls Youth Development Scheme Finals because of the great facilities it can provide.
I urge the council to reconsider the proposal to ignore a great asset to Horsham and the surrounding district.