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Life in Lockdown

By John Rowlands South Cliff Bowling Club Scarborough

Wednesday, 15 June 2022


South Cliff Bowling Club Scarborough Contributor


Life in Lockdown – extracts for the Scarborough News Article

Saturday 14 March members of the Club were undertaking a spring clean and preparing for opening a few weeks later. 23 March we entered lockdown, emerging onto the green on May 23rd. We have battled many adverse impacts over the past 5 years, happily, those matters were resolved and we had just signed a 25 year lease, the club had been designated an Asset of Community Value, numbers were near 80, the gardens had been developed and we were looking towards redevelopment when Covid-19 appeared.

We were very fortunate in that the green was cut regularly and members who live in the immediate vicinity of the green looked after the area - weeding, cutting the grass normally cut by the Council - who were obviously short-staffed. Socially distanced work was undertaken on the off chance that we might get back on the green before the season ended and to keep the area looking attractive.

The stores and back of the clubhouse were painted, the veg patch was tended and a number set to and created a fairy garden and village, which became a significant attraction. The area around the green became one where people living in the neighbouring apartments could come and walk, and have a chat with some of the workers. We received many very positive comments from people for what we had been doing. One member made face coverings which people purchased in return for a donation. Over £100 was raised for the gardening group. Members were kept informed of what was happening by a weekly newsletter.

By May things were starting to improve and we were informed that we could restart bowling under strict guidelines. It took little time to get everything prepared and on May 23, we took the first tentative steps onto the green. We were the first club in the area to reopen and did so out of concern for the physical and mental health of our members, many of whom live alone in small retirement flats. Studies have shown that isolation and loneliness can hasten the onset of dementia.

A strict booking system has been set up on our website with everything done according to the regulations. Gradually the numbers returning increased and we attracted some new members. Although all competitive fixtures had been cancelled, we held a Pairs competition on Yorkshire Day, followed by a Singles tournament.

The green closed on 26 September; we feel we have made the best use of the hand we have been dealt. Financially, we have taken a hit due to lack of fixtures and the Scarborough Open. The closed season social sessions and events which generate a healthy income are unlikely to go ahead. We shall return next season ready to welcome new and existing members back to the green. I leave member Joyce to explain how it has impacted on her.

“I joined following a flyer posted through my door in 2015. An invitation to visit, and to try out a new sport. My visit was a success; members welcomed me, explained the rules, and gave me some bowls to try. Not a success – I could barely reach the centre of the green. Soon I was improving my game, still very ‘hit and miss’, but with encouragement and friendly coaching I gradually became competent and became an enthusiastic club member.

“The value of regular outdoor activity and the friendly social contact with a number of like minded people cannot be over estimated. Although just a summer activity, the club established weekly social meetings to enable us all to retain contact. When living alone, this can be a lifeline to some.

“Then came Covid-19. Long daily walks, telephone, and zoom meetings with friends and family were a blessing, but were no competition against actual social contact. In late May I was back on the green playing socially distanced bowls. We had lots to catch up on. Thanks to the opportunity to return to the green, my physical and mental health has been unaffected by the virus and all the associated problems. The chat, the laughter and the ability to care for each other at this stressful time has been the best prescription anyone could ask for.”

The full article appers on our Facebook page - south cliff bowling club.

Contact Information

John Rowlands

  • 07586 341 999
  • 01723 365 437

Find South Cliff Bowling Club Scarborough

Filey Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 2TP