Gainsborough Indoor Bowls Club members feel ‘penalised’ by the council’s decision to close hall

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Members of an indoor bowls club in Gainsborough say they are ‘shocked’ to learn that their hall is to be closed at the end of the season.

The indoor bowling area at West Lindsey Leisure Centre is due to be scrapped as part of plans to turn the space into a large health and wellbeing area, making way for a range of other opportunities which include short mat bowls.

Chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee at West Lindsey District Council, Coun Sheila Bibb, said: “The decision was made as part of the proposals for £1.4 million to be spent refurbishing the West Lindsey Leisure Centre, concentrating on bringing under-utilised areas in to wider use.

“Given the need to maximise income and reduce public subsidies, the fact that the bowls area is only used during the winter months brought the sustainability of the facility under scrutiny.

“Members of the bowls club have been invited to look at the plans and meet representatives of the council and Everyone Active. The open forum will be held at West Lindsey Leisure Centre at 1pm on Thursday, February 22.

“Details of alternative facilities and activities will be provided on the day.”

Indoor bowls social secretary, Barry Grocock, said: “The present bowls hall is a wonderful facility in Gainsborough during the winter months for some of the older members of the community to try and keep themselves active.

“It is also used during the summer months by certain bowls members who are not strong enough to bowl outside. 

“We are always being told to think about our health by our doctors and the media and to keep active, but the council is deliberately taking the very thing away from us we do to keep active. Of all the community, it seems very unfair to us that it is the older generation who will be penalised.

Club treasurer Enid Underwood said the news had come as a shock: “Out of our 172 members 99.99 per cent of them are pensioners. You hear so much on the news about loneliness and depression, and this helps towards combatting that. It doesn’t seem fair.”