Next generation of crown green bowlers battle it out in annual competition
Published by Kelly Elliott for Keepmoat in Housing and also in Communities
From left to right; Maureen Stanton and Margaret Turvill, of the Sharley Park Crown Green Bowling Club, the pupils who took part in the project, Clay Cross Parish Councillor Frank Rodgers and Parish and District Councillor Peter Riggott, who is also Chair
It is a game usually associated with older generations, but in part of Derbyshire, crown green bowling has been given a new lease of life thanks to a project to encourage young people to take up the sport.
A partnership between a Clay Cross bowling club and a local school, supported by local businesses and the parish council, has seen a new generation of players take to the green and try their hand at bowling.
The project was established after Margaret Turvill, of the Sharley Park Crown Green Bowling Club, contacted Sharley Park Community Primary School to see if any of its pupils would be interested in learning more about bowls.
Margaret, who runs the sessions along with fellow club member Maureen Stanton, said: “People have an image that bowling is an old person’s game but it’s not - it’s something people of any age can learn and enjoy together and we really wanted to encourage more young people to get involved in the sport.
“The equipment needed is quite expensive but we have been lucky enough to receive a few grants and donations which has allowed us to buy the smaller bowling sets needed for the children.
“They absolutely love it and we hope that many of them will continue to play in the future, perhaps with their grandparents or parents.”
The bowling project has been held for the last three years, with around 16 Year 3, 4 and 5 pupils visiting the bowling club once a week during the summer term. The sessions culminate in a competition in September with a prize giving ceremony then taking place at the end of the year.
Sharley Park Community Primary School head teacher, Geoff Leyland, said: “We’re keen for all our children to take part in sports which develop hand-eye coordination and bowls seem to ‘hit the mark’ extremely well!
“The children thoroughly enjoy their time at the bowling green and I feel it’s a wonderful opportunity for the different generations in Clay Cross and Danesmoor to get together and learn from each other. It has my full support.”
The project has been supported by local company Apollo, part of national housing and regeneration company Keepmoat, which provided two sets of special junior bowling ‘woods’ to be used during the training and the medals and trophies presented at the prize giving.
Keepmoat Contracts Manager, Andrew Durdey, said: “It was a pleasure for the company to be able to reward the children who took part in this initiative with their medals and trophies.
“The competition is such an imaginative way of encouraging young people to get involved in outdoor exercise by using facilities that are on their doorstep. It is also a great example of the local community coming together to bridge the generation gap.”
Apollo is currently working in Clay Cross on behalf of Rykneld Homes, replacing kitchens and bathroom to many of the housing association’s properties.
During the work the company has supported a number of local projects, working closely with Clay Cross Parish Council to identify schemes that require funding.
Councillor Ted Mansbridge, chair of planning and environment at Clay Cross Parish Council, said: “The bowling competition is a fantastic project and one which the parish council has supported since it was first set up three years ago.
“We were really pleased that Apollo chose to support the scheme this year and look forward to working with the company on further community initiatives in future.”