Barnet's Tories are planning to withdraw almost all council funding for the borough’s bowling clubs by cutting £100,000 from the current £111,000 budget. This cut is due to take effect in just two months time, at the beginning of the new financial year in April. The members of the bowling clubs would then have to take on responsibility for running and maintaining the clubs and paying almost all of the costs.
Under the plans, some bowling greens and buildings would be closed and some clubs forced to merge.
The plans are due to be discussed at a meeting of the council’s Environment committee on 11 January.
The council report admits that discussions with clubs have not been finalised, including over securing the future of the Blind and Partially Sighted Bowling Club.
Labour councillors will be putting forward a proposal for all the bowling club changes to be put on hold for a year in order to give the clubs time to recruit new members, assess fundraising options and enable them to work with the council to develop sustainable business plans that will give them a long term future.
Labour’s Environment spokesperson, Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “It’s vital that we give all of Barnet’s bowls clubs a long term sustainable future. The Tory plans to cut £100,000 from April have not been properly thought through and could force some clubs to close. I have spoken to clubs that are happy to work constructively with the council on developing a sustainable plan for their future, but that simply can't be done to such a rushed timescale.
"There is overwhelming evidence that a more active lifestyle is essential for physical and mental wellbeing and our bowls clubs play a key part in this, especially for older people.
"I hope that Tory councillors will agree my proposal and remove the fear from many Barnet bowlers that their clubs could be forced to close.”
1. A copy of the Environment committee report can be found here (agenda item 10):
2. For more from Barnet Labour on the bowling clubs:
For more information contact Cllr Schneiderman: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568