Gildredge Park Bowling Club has received a £75,000 grant from Sport England to fund its extension.
As a result the club has been hailed as ‘one of the best facilities for indoor and outdoor bowling in the county’.
The new facility was opened by Eastbourne’s Mayor, Councillor Janet Coles, on Saturday, April 16.
The grant is Sport England’s maximum amount for sports clubs and Gildredge Park was the only sports club in Sussex when it was announced.
It follows the award of the influential Clubmark, described by Sport England as the universally acknowledged accreditation scheme for community sports clubs.
Club chairman Frank Eveleigh, who was project manager, said, “It was a lot of hard work by many club members to achieve such a wonderful finished product. Without all of their support the project would not have happened. This extension also helps us to welcome our regular visitors from the Eastbourne Blind Society, who play twice a week at the club during the outdoor season. They often play on one rink while a visiting team is hosted on the other. With blind or visually-impaired players, it wasn’t even safe to allow both matches into the old pavilion for tea at the same time.
“This season we’ll be entertaining some 30 touring teams from as far away as Cumbria, Wales and the Isle of Wight. Most of them stay in Eastbourne hotels for several nights.
“Gildredge Park will again host the prestigious Eastbourne Open Tournament in July with a top prize of £1,000, which also attracts bowlers from miles away.
“We reckon that something like 12,000 people a year visit the club during the outdoor season or for short mat bowls in the winter. An increase to over 15,000 is predicted within three years now that the project is completed.
“I think we can now claim to have one of the best facilities for indoor and outdoor bowling in the county.”
Costing over £110,000, the extension was also funded by the club’s reserves, a £5,000 grant from the John Jackson Charitable Trust in Eastbourne, a special lunch at the Langham Hotel which donated its proceeds, a £500 legacy, a club raffle and a buy a brick scheme.
The project, undertaken by local architect, Greg Laye Ltd, finished five weeks ahead of time and within budget.
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