The Narrandera Bowling Club is one of 20 projects throughout the Narrandera Shire nominated for consideration under round two of the Stronger Country Communities Fund.
The Bowling Club is seeking funds for an upgrade to the lighting on the bowling greens, install a new irrigation system and access ramps down to the greens. The ultimate aim in seeking the funding is to improve facilities for bowlers as well as other members of the community that utilise the club facilities.
“It will be a great asset for not only bowlers but the entire community if we are successful,” said Narrandera Bowling Club Vice president Tom Ryan. “The lighting and the irrigation are both about 40 years old and they need to be replaced. As for the access ramps – even if we don’t get the grant, we’ll try to provide those anyway. If they are installed there are a few more players we can get back to the club – people who have problems with their hips and knees and don’t like the stairs.”
The Bowling Club undertakes a great deal of work with other community groups in the town. Schools have utilised the greens to teach local kids how to play bowls and Narrandera Out of School Hours (NOOSH) Care has also had bowls sessions for children. The Narrandera Town Band uses the club for rehearsals (“they’ve got some amazing musicians in there,” Mr Ryan added) and the Auto Club and the Vintage Machinery Club have also used the club for their functions.
“The club is open seven days a week. Some days for limited hours, but it’s utilised every day of the week. Recently we’ve sponsored the Narrandera Lizards Rugby League team in the ProTen Community Cup. There’s a large Narrandera Bowling Club logo on their jumpers which look really good. It’d be great to keep it going year after year, “ Mr Ryan said.
June 16 will be a big day for the Lizards, as it is their home game in the ProTen Community Cup and the Bowling Club is looking forward to hosting the teams’ celebrations after the games.
“When the six teams in the Cup have played they will be coming back to the Bowling Club.”
Grant funding would enable the club to be upgraded without having to rely on the community, Mr Ryan said. “With this application, we’re then not asking Narrandera Shire Council or the ratepayers for any money whatsoever. We’re trying to get these projects done out of grant funding.”
That said, a lot of the preliminary work has been offered voluntarily by Bowling Club members to offset the costs.
Mr Ryan elaborated on the type of support the club was already receiving in its quest for funding.
“We’ve got a guy who did our planning for us voluntarily; we’ve had a couple of consultants on getting the correct lighting levels for the new lights. We’ve got a couple of blokes in the club who are work health and safety managers so they’ve taken on that part of the project. Otherwise you lose a lot of funding by paying someone to do all that stuff, because it’s required,” Mr Ryan explained.
He said when the club undertook consultations they tried to make it as unobtrusive as possible by ensuring the neighbours weren’t getting a floodlight through their window when a competition was taking place.
There are 25 volunteers involved in the club who ensure its smooth running. Cleaning, administration, general maintenance and bartending are all undertaken by these volunteers, who have worked hard to improve the club’s financial situation.
“We’re finally starting to get our heads above water,” Mr Ryan said. Some of the club’s success is owed to some seriously innovative thinking on the part of these volunteers. For example at the 2017 AFL match the club advertised moderately-priced schooners and promoted themselves as an ideal location to grab a few drinks before the game.
“In 2022 we’ll be celebrating our 10oth year. We’ve got a few blokes who are determined to still be there, serving as volunteers, when we reach the centenary,” Mr Ryan said.
Support from Bowls NSW
Bowls NSW has thrown its wholehearted support behind the Narrandera Bowling Club’s application for Stronger Country Communities Fund Round Two funding to carry out upgrades to the club.
The club is seeking to improve its amenity and ability to serve as a real community hub and as a valued and integral community asset for Narrandera Shire.
Bowls NSW said the installation of greens lighting proposed as part of the upgrade would enable bowls to be played at night and thereby increase participation by all members of the community. Assisted entry ramps and rails would also help mobility impaired bowlers to enjoy a healthy active lifestyle and boost overall participation in the sport by the local community.
Perfect playing conditions on natural grass greens was an important asset in this day and age and this would be achievable with the proposed installation of an automatic sprinkler system, which would have the added benefit of conserving water usage.
“Beyond being a sporting facility the Bowling Club is an important gathering place, hosting social events, meetings and functions and it has the means to provide a boost for the community and local economy,” said Bowls NSW State President Vince Beard. “It will provide the community of Narrandera Shire with a modern multi-use facility that can continue to serve the local community.
“Bowls NSW strongly supports and recommends the proposal as most worthy of consideration for funding.”