Northumberland club bowled over by £5,000 Banks Group grant

January 17, 2012 | Brenkley News

A popular Northumberland bowls club is finding the grass is much greener thanks to a four-figure donation from a north east developer.

The Alexandra Park Bowls Club in Cramlington is now enjoying the benefits of a new automatic irrigation system, which has been part-funded by a £5,000 grant from The Banks Group, via its Banks Community Fund.

The new watering system will ensure the bowling green remains in top condition and is helping to secure the long-term future of the club.

It has four nozzles set into either side of the green and can be set to come on whenever is best for the grass, meaning that the grass can be watered during the early hours of the morning when less water is lost to evaporation, which is better for both the green and the environment.

Founded in 1984, the flat green bowls club has  approximately 50 members, ranging from people who have retired  down to ‘youngsters’ who are in their 20s and 30s, and plays in regional men’s, women’s and mixed leagues.

“Club secretary Keith Thompson says: “Having a good playing surface is crucial to the enjoyment of bowls, and both over or under watering can have a serious impact – too little water and the green will dry out, too much and the grass becomes spongy and hard to play on.

“This is a fantastic bowling club with a strong social side to it, and all our members are enjoying playing on the improved playing surface.

“Controlling the water supply is very important and difficult to achieve by manual watering, so this new irrigation system is hugely helpful – since its installation, our green keepers have been able to produce a wonderful surface and we have had the privilege of hosting county competition finals.

“Our future is looking very bright and we’re very lucky to have a growing membership.  Having a really good green is certainly part of the club’s appeal and we’re very grateful to Banks for their generous help in making this happen.”

Banks Mining has operated several surface mines in south east Northumberland since the 1980s, and currently operates the Shotton and Brenkley Lane sites on the Blagdon Estate near Seaton Burn.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, says: “The Alexandra Park Bowls Club is a well established organisation that is well used by a wide cross-section of the local community, and we’re very pleased to have been able to support the improvements to their playing facilities.

“Banks has been working in this area for over a quarter of a century and we hope the new irrigation system serves the club members for just as long, if not longer.”

Projects, community groups, or organisations looking for funding in the vicinity of a Banks Group development should contact Clare Johnson at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

For further information on the projects visit

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