Haydon Wicks Spring Report

Well what a Spring we have endured, not only the Covid restrictions but this awful weather. I have been known to have 5 layers on when bowling! Yes we have begun bowling within the club. Dave Longhurst, our President has worked very hard getting up a Covid Singles competition, pairs competition and league competition for all of us who wanted to get back out there on the green. And, apart from the weather, it has been fabulous, almost back to normal, normal will happen when the clubhouse is fully opened along with the bar! Fingers crossed for the end of June to be fully open, playing against other clubs in both league and friendly games.

Not only has the Covid pandemic been very difficult and challenging for our members, but it has also been the biggest financial challenge the club has faced in our 28 year history. We have had all the costs associated with maintaining the bowling green and clubhouse without any income from membership fees, competition fees and social events. During the pandemic Sports England recognised how Coronavirus has hit sport and physical activity sector hard, so they modified their funding streams to help people safely return to play. We successfully applied for and received funding from Sports England under their ‘Return to Play: Small Grants’ fund. Our funds are being used in three ways, 1) support the running costs of the club, 2) to provide social distancing and hygiene measures for the safety of our members and guests, 3) to increase the quantity of our communal and disabled bowling equipment so we no longer have to share equipment during bowls games.  So a big thank you to Sports England for their support and a big thank you to our Treasurer Paul Horton for all the hard work he has put in to obtain these grants for us.

For those who are on Facebook and are signed up to the Haydon Wick Community page and for those who have read the notices on the Parish notice board you may remember reading about the Bowls Open Day we held on the Whitsun Bank Holiday Sunday as part of the Bowls Big Weekend  by Bowls England. The weather was fabulous and we were so pleased to have about 40 people through the gates, feedback was good, some took away application forms and some said they would be back to the Monday night coaching sessions. We are always on the lookout for new members. What was special this year is that encouraged by the parish council Young People initiative, we had quite a few children and youngsters through the gates – Bowls is not an old people’s sport (look at the champions, under 30!) tho I have to say it’s the older folk who have more time to play.

I would like to take the opportunity to tell you about facilities available for Disabled Bowlers, one of our coaches Nigel Morgan is heavily involved in this. There is a Facebook group called Swindon Manor Disabled Bowls which is open to anyone interested in Indoor and Outdoor Bowling. During the outdoor season the group meets at Stratton Churchway or Haydon Wick Bowls Clubs on Saturday mornings at either 10am or 11am respectively. The group welcomes existing and new bowlers and has a breadth of impairments from sight, hearing, physical or mental. There are five Coaches that are qualified and insured and have received training for an inclusive training experience. If you are interested then there are 2 options to make contact, either on Facebook by searching Swindon Manor Disabled Bowls or email email hidden; JavaScript is required

Haydon Wick Bowls Club is supporting the current English Visually Impaired B1 (totally blind) Champion in training for his National championship and will be working with one of our Coaches, Nigel Morgan, who is also Keith’s helper when competing . Nigel is also the current Visually Impaired International Squad Coach. We wish them both good wishes in defending their current title.

At Haydon Wick Bowls Club free coaching is available on Monday evenings from 6pm to 8pm except for Bank Holidays. Open to all age groups from 9 to 99! I know I tell you about this in nearly every article but we always like to have new members joining us.

I do hope that by the time you read this the restrictions will have been fully lifted and we have all settled back into our usual way of living, of enjoying bowls, holidays, being with friends and families and that we never have to go through anything like the last 18 months again.

Olwen Johnson, Haydon Wick Bowls Club member