Nevilles Cross bowlers walking on air thanks to Banks Group grant

February 11, 2015 | Browney Lane News

The playing surface enjoyed by members of a community bowls club in Durham City this season will make their opponents green with envy after a four-figure grant from a local employer paid for the purchase of a new turf aerator.

Nevilles Cross Bowls Club had been looking into how it could best manage its facilities and continue to take responsibility for its own grounds maintenance.

The club’s existing ‘tining’ equipment, which is used to encourage grass growth by aerating the soil, had become obsolete, and its weight made it difficult for its members, who are mostly older people, to manoeuvre around the bowling green.

But now, after receiving a £5,000 grant from The Banks Group, via its Banks Community Fund, the Club has purchased a petrol-driven turf aerator which can be much more easily managed.

And the club’s management committee is hoping the improvements to the green that the aerator will allow for will support their drive to further increase membership.

Located in the sports and recreation area adjacent to St Cuthbert’s Hospice, the Nevilles Cross Bowls Club has around 35 members, and will start the new season in April on the back of a very successful 2014, when it won promotion to Division One of the Durham & District Bowling League, as well as winning the mid-week league and finishing third in the veterans’ league.

It’s the second time that Banks has rolled up with funding for the Club, with a £6,670 grant in 2013 helping them purchase a high-specification Dennis mower, which club members use to carry out maintenance and management work on the green more quickly and easily than previous equipment allowed.

Brian Slinn, assistant secretary at Nevilles Cross Bowls Club, says: “There are always lots of jobs to do to keep the green in the best possible condition, and we’ve been carrying out an increasing amount of this work ourselves, but the equipment we had to help with this work was rather out of date and difficult for our members to use.

“The new aerator is a great deal easier to use and maintain, and comes with the equipment we need to keep our playing surface in the best possible condition.

“The club is in very good health both on and off the green, and the generous support we’ve had from Banks will help us build on everything we achieved last year.”

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, adds: “The Nevilles Cross Bowls Club is a long-established community sports club that is keen to attract more local people to become members, and we’re very pleased to be supporting their work to provide a first class playing surface and to increase their numbers even further.”

The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of both operational and proposed Banks Group projects, with funding decisions made independently of the planning and project development process.  Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

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