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Bowls club delight at new venue
10:10am Monday 18th February 2013 in News
DOZENS of bowls club members have been getting to grips with their new indoor venue after it opened at the weekend.
Swindon Manor Indoor Bowls Club (SMIBC), formerly Swindon Oasis Indoor Bowls Club, opened its new home at the Swindon Council-owned E2 building in Cheney Manor industrial estate on Saturday.
The council spent months last year working with the club to find it a new home after Moirai Capital Investments Ltd agreed to take over the Oasis Leisure Centre as part of a £65m scheme to build an indoor ski slope, an indoor arena and a water park.
Club president, Graham Titheradge, said: “Just over a year ago, rumours started going around that there wouldn’t be bowls facilities at the Oasis when it changed ownership.
“We didn’t believe it to start with because we were a thriving club with more than 400 members.
“When ownership changed, it became clear we were not in Morai’s plans.
“We asked the council what they were going to do. We told them they were taking away the only council-run indoor bowls facility in the town.”
After a series of meetings, it was decided the club would move to the council-owned building. The council spent £130,000 refurbishing it, while Moirai put in a further £70,000. The refurbishment included installing the bowls carpet, improvements to the roof, refurbishment of the toilets and electrical works.
SMIBC, who have also made a number of improvements including painting and decorating the building, will pay for the running of the building.
The club is also hoping other groups will use the spare capacity in their new home so the facility is used by the whole community.
“I have spoken to members and it is unanimous. Everybody is so pleased with what we have got. It has been hard work but we are there,” said Graham.
“When we left the Oasis, we thought we would lose members but we haven’t. It shows the commitment people have to bowls.”
They are planning to create a bar and to partition the snooker table area, and have also been tackling a leaking roof and heating problems.
Coun Keith Williams, Swindon Council’s cabinet member for leisure and strategic transport, said: “It has been a year of a lot of hard work but it is a superb facility.
“Today they have been saying this is a better facility than they had at the Oasis and everyone is glad they made the move.”
SMIBC have offered to accommodate snooker players who were displaced from Haydon Wick Leisure Centre.
SMIBC welcomes new and established bowlers and also runs junior and adult coaching sessions.
The club runs 12 competitive leagues for men and women and also has a programme of friendly games against other clubs. For information, call 07587 876560.