Watchet’s ambitions to have a state-of-the-art Bowling Club are closer to being realised thanks to a £50,500 grant from a Leisure Fund secured from the Hinkley Point C project which is administered by West Somerset Council.
Watchet Bowling Club is keen to transform its facilities and provide a high-quality community venue for the area and the money will go towards the first phase of the project to replace old garages with a new indoor bowling rink.
The high-achieving club has a real track record: the women players reached the semi-finals of two trophies last season, while the men won the league and also swept the board in county competitions.
A new indoor rink will give the club the space for county-level competitions and make it possible for games to be played simultaneously, rather than have to wait for the one rink to become available.
The club has now gained planning consent for this project and is hoping the community will also support the initiative through the newly launched Somerset West Lottery. The club is one of the local good causes that will benefit from the weekly draws.
Tickets for the lottery are now available to buy and the first weekly draw takes place on 29 Jul, with a top prize of £25,000 on offer and a two-night stay in The Royal Seven Stars Hotel in Totnes as an additional bonus prize for this first draw. The lottery is a joint West Somerset Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council project to help community initiatives.
The Bowling Club started out on its journey to transform its premises four years ago and, after consulting the community, drew up plans to improve its own facilities while also providing a real community hub for educational, recreational, sporting and social activities for all age groups.
The initiative has three main strands:
- replacement of garages with a new indoor double rink bowling green with associated facilities
- internal and external alterations to the existing clubhouse to provide a quality community venue able to accommodate 150 people
- erection of an extension to provide a gym
The club is working in partnership with Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership and local providers and clubs.
The successful bid for funding from West Somerset Council will be followed by bids to other funding pots including Sport England, Power to Change and the Big Lottery.
Club treasurer, Marilyn Binding, said: “Watchet has no community venue able to accommodate large numbers. Our improved venue will fill this gap and it will provide somewhere for all sectors of the local community to take part in a wide range of activities.
“Our proposed project will act as an accessible and inviting focal point for our current population and newcomers moving here to work at Hinkley Point and join in with what is happening locally.
“The centre will make the most of the opportunity to target both workers themselves and their friends and families – encouraging them to participate together in community activities, including healthy living, educational, social and leisure activities.”
Cllr David Westcott, Lead Member for communities with West Somerset Council, said: “This is an ambitious project with a real community focus that will provide Watchet with facilities that many larger towns would envy.
“The Club has also shown the initiative to make a successful bid for funding from our Leisure Fund and to become one of the good causes supported by our local lottery.”