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Seaside Bowls Club rescued

As Covid-19 spread, Benllech and District Recreational Association on Ynys Mon feared the worst. Financial forecasts looked bleak and concerns deepened that it may need to force its close its doors permanently.

Known locally as Benllech Bowling Club, it also has tennis courts. The pretty club enjoys sea views and attracts holidaymakers during the peak season. The tourism income, which looks set to drop this year, helps the club to survive all-year round.

Yet a grant from Sport Wales’ Emergency Relief Fund, supported by Welsh Government, has helped the club stay afloat. And last week, the club was given the news it had been waiting for. It could open its doors once more – albeit with strict restrictions in place.

Benllech Bowling Club
Benllech Bowling Club

“We managed to get up and running quickly as we were actually ready three weeks before,” explains club treasurer Geoff Heald. “So far the whole process has gone very smoothly. The booking system seems to be working well. As for hygiene, we have not opened our toilets or clubhouse and members seem happy to bring their own hand sanitisers.” 

And there was more good news. In the first five days since reopening, the club increased its membership by 33%:

“On balance it’s looking very promising. It is too soon yet to quantify what the final impact will be on our finances. When we try to look just one year ahead, we must consider the age mix of our club members. They are mostly 60 to 80 years old and therefore some may consider it too risky to socialise again or to play league matches. They may not even join next year.

“We also miss the holidaymakers who provide useful revenue for us from their use of the green and the courts, but we can’t have everything!”

Booking in to play at Benllech Bowling Club
Booking in to play at Benllech Bowling Club

Meanwhile, the club felt it should halve its membership fees. However, it is hopeful that it might be able to extend the playing season by four weeks until the end of October before it officially turns in for the winter. 

“We provide a vital community service as we're the only bowls and tennis facility in the Benllech area.”

New funding to help protect and prepare Welsh sport

The Benllech and District Recreational Association were one of over 300 community clubs and organisations that shared more than £600k of Emergency Relief Funding from Sport Wales, supported by Welsh Government. 

To help protect even more community clubs and organisations across Wales, and enable them to prepare for sporting life alongside Covid-19, we’ll be announcing a major new fund on Tuesday 7 July. Make sure you’re kept fully informed by signing up for our Be Active Wales newsletter

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