BOWLS ENGLAND NEWS(May 09, 2011)
Bowlers urged to back new campaign
Bowls England is urging all clubs to back a new campaign to secure the sport's future.
Local authority funding cuts and pressure from developers are just two of the issues threatening many bowling facilities.
Bowls England has teamed up with the Sport and Recreation Alliance to help clubs raise the profile of the sport of bowls among MPs - and therefore to increase the chance of future Government decisions favouring clubs at a local level.
Tony Allcock MBE, Bowls England Chief Executive, said: "Local authorities are making significant cutbacks across their services to meet the Government's deficit reduction plan, and feedback from clubs over the winter has shown that bowls is not, and will not, be immune. This could have a significant impact on our sport for generations to come if we do not take some positive action. We cannot reverse some of the decisions that have already been taken, but we can provide clubs with the best possible chance of staying open by raising the profile of the sport with their local Member of Parliament."
Bowls has already made the national news this year when John Woodcock MP introduced a Bill in Parliament in response to green closures in his own constituency of Barrow-in-Furness. The Bill seeks to give greater planning protection to greens from landowners seeking to build on them and could be used for all greens across the country. He also tabled an Early Day Motion (a petition) which has been signed by MPs from across the political spectrum.
Tony Allcock added: "This action generated lots of support in Westminster and many news stories across the country. We now need to build on this momentum and support the Bill when it gets a second reading in Parliament. The Bill and the Early Day Motion are two great ways to raise the profile of bowls and if we could get every MP as passionate about bowls as Mr Woodcock then there will be a bright future for the sport."
All clubs are being asked to write to their local MP, asking them to support the Early Day Motion tabled by Mr Woodcock.
The Sport & Recreation Alliance has warned the Government is currently changing planning laws, and therefore it is vital that sports facilities are protected because once they are removed they are unlikely to return.
Tony Allcock concluded: "We must ensure that bowling greens are given adequate protection in recognition of the unique sporting opportunity they provide to the community. In doing so Bowls England will be asking the Rt Hon Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to ensure robust protection of sports facilities, including bowling greens, in the new National Planning Framework and Neighbourhood Plans on behalf of our member clubs."