Members of a community bowling club in a West Yorkshire village have been getting admiring glances from their rivals after winning funding from a renewable energy firm for smart new uniforms.
The committee at Aberford Bowling Club had been looking for ways to fund the purchase of new polo shirts and sweatshirts for its 40 members in order to make everyone feel part of their team and to create a more visible presence at matches against other clubs.
The Club was awarded an £895 grant by Banks Renewables from the community benefits fund linked to its nearby Hook Moor wind farm, which has now been used to buy new azure-coloured uniforms adorned with the Bowling Club’s crest.
And they’ve been such a hit that their opponents have been asking where they got them, so they can purchase their own!
Most of Aberford Bowling Club’s members are over 60 years old, with its oldest playing member being 85, and they are mostly drawn from across the village and surrounding communities.
Matches at its Parlington Drive bowling green regularly attract spectators who live in a nearby sheltered housing complex, who benefit from the chance to socialise with friends and neighbours whom they might not otherwise get the chance to meet.
Sue Hancock, secretary of Aberford Bowling Club, says: “We’d previously had some club uniforms which dated back several years and they were naturally starting to look somewhat faded, but given that most of our members are pensioners, we didn’t want to ask them all to pay for replacements out of their own pockets.
“Our members are all loving wearing the new kit – everyone loves the colour, it’s made us all feel even more part of the team when we’re playing our matches, and we’ve had lots of opposing sides asking us where we got our shirts from.
“We try to encourage the social side of the club as much as we can, and getting local people along watching our games, especially older residents who live in the sheltered housing complex, has a very positive impact on relationships across our community – lots of good friendships have been formed over a cup of tea and a biscuit in our clubhouse!
“Banks Renewables’ generous support has given a real boost to the sense of togetherness that we all feel, and everyone knows who the Aberford bowlers are when we turn up for matches!”
Eligibility for funding from the Hook Moor Wind Farm Community Benefits Fund is normally restricted to schemes within the parishes of Aberford and Micklefield, but projects outside these areas may be eligible if it can be shown that they benefit people living within them.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at Banks Renewables, adds: “As well as giving its members the chance to keep playing sport and stay active, Aberford Bowling Club has a big impact on social cohesion in the area, and we’re really pleased to hear just how positive an impact their new club uniforms have already had. I’m thinking about joining the club myself just to get my hands on one of the new uniforms!”
Groups interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 to check if their group or project is eligible.