Today I spent time with members of the Hove and Kingsway Bowling Club by the seafront. The Green council has already grassed over three lawns and they now fear for their 75 year history. The club has celebrated numero...us national and county honours and has seen various members go on to represent England in international tournaments - it would be a terrible loss to our community if this club were unable to survive.
Today I found out that bowling isn't just a sedate sport enjoyed exclusively by retired people as the stereotype has it. I met young people who spoke passionately about the sport.
I also learned that 40% of bowlers stop all sporting exercise when a club closes. We must do more to prevent this happening again here in Hove and Portslade.
Everyone needs help from time to time, so today I enlisted the expertise of John Woodcock, MP for Barrow in Furness. John is a superb community MP and is spearheading the fight to protect bowling greens across the country. He kindly made the journey to Hove today and I publicly backed his campaign. Together we spent quality time listening to bowlers at the club who are fantastic people and great advocates for their sport.
As a result of our meeting today I will be contacting the council to ascertain what plans they have to safeguard this wonderful club and others like it. Even in times of restraint a council with imagination and community-mindedness would be able to save money and keep community clubs like this safe for future generations.
After our meeting John and I met with campaign supporters at The Stoneham Pub And Pizzeria Hove, and then to Hangleton to listen to residents.
If you are worried about the future of your local community facility, please share your thoughts here as I would love to hear more.