Carpet bowlers at a popular Darlington community venue are on a roll thanks to a four-figure grant from a renewable energy firm.
Hurworth Village Hall has used a £1,958 grant from the community benefits fund linked to Banks Renewables’ Moor House Wind Farm to buy a new 40m mat for its carpet bowls club, as well as a new roller on wheels that will make it easy to put into place.
Founded four years ago, the carpet bowls club has a membership of around 20 local people who meet every week to play matches among themselves and share social time together.
Until now, the club has had to use a heavy second-hand mat that is both difficult for the hall’s caretaker to manoeuvre and too long for the space available, meaning that it needs to be rolled up the walls at either end of the hall, potentially creating a trip hazard for players with limited mobility.
Originally built in the 1860s as a temperance hall, Hurworth Village Hall plays host to a wide range of community groups and activities, ranging from yoga, pilates, dance and fitness classes through to a craft, art, embroidery and quilt-making groups.
It is also available to hire for private functions and is used as a venue for plays, concerts and a free monthly cinema show.
Bill Drumm, bookings secretary at Hurworth Village Hall, says: “The bowling club sessions are always well attended, with the social interaction that its members enjoy being every bit as important as the games that they play.
“Getting this generous funding from Banks Renewables means we can focus more of the money we have on other improvements that we want to make.”
“The equipment used by the club was second hand when we got it and has never been right for the venue, so upgrading it has been something that we’ve wanted to do for a while, especially as it’s hard work for our caretaker to move the mat into place and then take it up.
“The quality of the new mat has made a real difference to the enjoyment that players are getting from their games, while being able to use the roller to move it into place has made setting things up much less of an effort for our caretaker.
“Community venues like ours are never short of running costs to cover, especially as things stand at the moment, so getting this generous funding from Banks Renewables means we can focus more of the money that we do have on other improvements that we want to make.”
Over £750,000 of community funding will be generated by the Moor House Wind Farm, which sits to the north east of Barmpton, over its 25-year lifespan.
Well over £100,000 has been allocated to dozens of local community projects since the wind farm began generating green electricity at the start of 2018, with Banks Renewables actively looking to increase the number of grant applications from local groups and good causes.
Lewis Stokes, senior community relations manager at The Banks Group, adds: “Hurworth Village Hall plays a big role in supporting the vitality of its community and we’re very glad to be able to improve what it can offer to local people.”
Anyone from a community group close to a Banks Group project who is interested in applying for funding from the Banks Community Fund should first contact the fund manager via email@example.com or on 0191 378 6342 before applying for a grant to check if their group or project is eligible.