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Bowls players from Southgate Bowling Club say it is an 'awful shame' their club is being forced to close due to dwindling membership
Members of a bowling club say it is an “awful shame” their club is being forced to close.
The Southgate Bowling Club in Broomfield Park – which was set up in 1921 – will not play again this summer due to dwindling membership.
Club members claim talks with Enfield Borough Council to provide emergency funding and on-site parking to encourage new members to join were unsuccessful.
Secretary Michael Davis, who joined the club in Palmers Green in 1999, said: “Nobody wanted to close but we have got to.
“The council don’t seem to care that we are going to close when they are supposed to be providing activities for younger and older people.
“We had meetings with the council but nobody is prepared to do anything, although I don’t know what they can do.”
He said without on-site parking, members - many of which are pensioners - found it difficult to walk with heavy bowls to the club house.
He said the club's closure will make a huge difference to many of the players’ lives as during the summer, each member visits the club daily to play games.
Membership had fallen from more than 200 people when it first opened 91 years ago, to just 32 people this year.
Members of the committee made the tough decision to close the club before it fell into debts next year.
The private club leases the club house from the council, leaving members questioning what the authority’s plans are for the building and the bowling green.
Players competed against other clubs as part of a league, but Mr Davis said low membership meant they were concerned they would no longer be able to source enough players during games.
Coach Iain Walls said it is “very sad” the club he has been part of for 25 years will have to close, but said the sport is not as popular as it used to be.
The 80-year-old, who expects to join another club in Enfield, said: “It has been a very happy club and it’s an awful shame, but we can’t find the members.
“Parking is absolutely atrocious around there.”
Mr Walls has organised annual galas at the club for the last eight years, raising more than £2,500 for the North London Hospice.
He believes the sport is “dying”, with many of its older players leaving the club to look after grandchildren or parents.
Although he knows “nothing” about the future of the club house, he hopes the council will look after the green before it starts to deteriorate.
The Enfield Independent is waiting for a comment from the council.
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