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Social events HUB OF THE C


SPECIAL REPORT BY BARRY STRAIN


In tough economic times, bowling clubs are opening up their doors to offer a variety of social events to help swell their coffers


T


he local bowls club may not be the first place that pops into your mind when you think about vibrant nightspots.


However, many clubs are finding that a packed dance floor is as important as a well-kept green for boosting their finances and attracting new members. Increasingly, the bowls club has become more than a place exclusively for those interested in the game. The tough economic climate means people are forsaking expensive nights out at hotels and night clubs, and getting their entertainment closer to home. Bowling clubs like Gidea Park, on the outskirts of London, are cashing in on the situation, stepping in to fill the void with low-cost function room hire prices


for birthday parties, weddings and even funerals. Gidea Park Secretary Stewart Goodwin said:


“It’s quite expensive to hire out other places around here, so we find a lot of people come to the club for functions. We have a purpose-built room that seats about 100 people and caters for just about any social event. “We are all conscious of the difficult economic situation. Our beer prices have barely gone up in the last four years, so we are able to compete with local pubs. People definitely see us as an alternative entertainment venue now.” Bankton Mains Bowling Club in Livingston,


West Lothian, has a growing membership due to the extensive steps it has taken to boost its social programme. Club Treasurer Bill Grier is particularly looking forward to the upcoming psychic night in June – though perhaps not just for the income it will bring the club. “I think it’s the responsibility of clubs like ours to


People definitely see us as an alternative


entertainment venue now


More people are holding weddings at bowling clubs during the tough economic times


34 NationwideBowler


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