Barnet Council will explore ways to protect a blind and partially sighted bowling club from cuts to the green spaces budget, after Labour councillors raised the issue at the Environment Committee (29 Sep).
The Conservative council's plans to cut £100,000 by making all the borough's bowling clubs self-managing and self-funding could threaten the future of the blind and partially sighted bowling club which has been running for 40 years. The club's members include a national champion of blind bowling, their Team Captain is 92 years old, and their oldest member is 100 years old. The club plays at the Mill Hill and Barnet Bowling Clubs who currently allow them to use their bowling greens free of charge, but many of the club's members may not be able to continue to play if Tory-run Barnet's plan to impose self-management on all bowling clubs leads to unaffordable charges.
The Club's President, Ron Smith, and former Labour councillor, Geoff Johnson, who volunteers at the club, both addressed the Environment Committee in support of ensuring the club's future.
The Committee discussed a number of ideas to protect the club including that they could apply for an Area Committee grant. The Council will also do an equalities impact assessment. A report on the overall bowling club plans will come back to the Committee at a future date.
Labour’s Environment Spokesperson, Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: "We heard at the meeting from the club's president and a volunteer how much bowling means to their blind and partially sighted members and how the funding cuts could threaten the future of their club.
"The blind and partially sighted club survives on the generosity of members of the bowling clubs where they play and support of local volunteers. By imposing a huge increase in costs, bowling in Barnet would simply be unaffordable to many.
"I'm glad that the committee agreed to look at how the club's future could be protected and I want to see the plans for making sure that this happens."
1. Text of Cllr Schneiderman's member's item:
"Barnet's Conservative administration is aiming to save £100,000 by making all the borough's bowling clubs self-managing and self-funding with no subsidy from the Council. One of the bowling clubs affected is the Blind and Partially Sighted Bowling Club who do not have their own bowling green but play at the Mill Hill and Barnet bowling clubs. The Mill Hill and Barnet Clubs allow them to use their bowling greens without charge. The Blind and Partially Sighted Bowling Club has been running for 40 years, the oldest member of the club is 100 years old, the team captain is 92 years old, and another member of the club is a national champion. Many of the Club members may not be able to continue to play if plans to make the Mill Hill Club and Barnet Club self-managing and self-funding lead to unaffordable charges. I ask that the Environment Committee is updated with the latest plans for the Borough's bowling clubs and that, in particular, the Committee agrees to ensure that the future of the Blind and Partially Sighted Bowling Club is protected and that they are able to continue with their current arrangements for playing at Mill Hill and Barnet."
For more information contact Cllr Alan Schneiderman: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568