BOWLS: Facilities are badly missed

editorial image

How ironic for open days to be held at Ashington Leisure Centre, Concordia (Cramlington) Leisure Centre and Blyth Sports Centre to supposedly showcase facilities and support on offer for adults aged 65 and over, (News Post Leader, October 12).

It is even more ironic when over the past two to three years the most popular and appreciated facility of all for that particular age group, namely indoor bowls, was taken from us by the then county council in collusion with Active Northumberland.

Bowling club representatives stressed health issues and the value of indoor bowls in keeping minds and bodies active, and the total suitability of bowls as a sport for older people, plus the social aspect of meeting regularly with their fellow bowlers.

However, these points of view were dismissed at the time with arrogance by the county council and Active Northumberland.

And, of course, no provision was made for indoor bowling facilities at the newly-built Ashington Leisure Centre.

In 2014, facilities were removed at Concordia (later replaced by ten-pin bowling), and indoor bowls ceased at the old Ashington Leisure Centre in April 2016.

Thus, after 40 years, there are now no indoor bowling facilities at all in Northumberland.

I understand it is the only council area in the UK to be without at least one indoor bowling facility, yet a few years ago there were four.

Before the old Ashington Leisure Centre closed, indoor bowls was being played every day – morning, afternoon and evening – illustrating the popularity and support it received for many more clubs and bowlers.

I hope, on behalf of the many bowlers and clubs in our area, that a more rational and considerate approach will now be taken by our new Northumberland County Council administration, in consultation with leisure providers Active Northumberland, with the intention of preserving indoor bowling facilities.

The Portland Park site would be ideal, but anywhere would be welcome.

If indoor bowling facilities were restored within south east Northumberland, the most heavily populated area, it would surely be a legacy worthy of our new county council.

There are at least four or five indoor bowling facilities in County Durham alone.

Jim Robinson

Bedlington Welfare Bowling Club