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Bowls club to launch community hub to get people active

PUBLISHED: 11:29 29 August 2018 | UPDATED: 08:50 31 August 2018

Volunteers at Stowmarket Rookery Bowls Club Picture: STOWMARKET ROOKERY BOWLS CLUB

Volunteers at Stowmarket Rookery Bowls Club Picture: STOWMARKET ROOKERY BOWLS CLUB

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A Suffolk bowls club is launching a new community hub with the aim of improving the physical and mental wellbeing of people living in the area.

Councillor Nick Gowrley, who has supported the project Picture: STOWMARKET ROOKERY BOWLS CLUBCouncillor Nick Gowrley, who has supported the project Picture: STOWMARKET ROOKERY BOWLS CLUB

Stowmarket Rookery Community Bowls Group wants to help people living with dementia as well as those with disabilities.

The club is looking to get as many individuals and groups from Stowmarket and surrounding villages involved in the project with the goal of helping people both socially and physically.

The club already visits care homes in the area to put on sessions, but is currently updating its building at Finborough Road in the town to provide a fully accessible community hub.

Carol Pybus with visually impaired bowler Steve Gill Picture: STOWMARKET ROOKERY BOWLS CLUBCarol Pybus with visually impaired bowler Steve Gill Picture: STOWMARKET ROOKERY BOWLS CLUB

A new paved area at the front of the clubhouse will provide wheelchair access for visitors, and the facility will be equipped with dementia-friendly games at its community sessions.

The club has received funding from various sources for the work and the project is being supported by Stowmarket Town Council and Mid Suffolk District Council.

The hub will be launched in October.

Left to right: Peter Wallace, John Sewell, Andrew Pulford, Steve Gill and Chris Brooks (Steve's eyes). Picture: STOWMARKET ROOKERY BOWLS CLUBLeft to right: Peter Wallace, John Sewell, Andrew Pulford, Steve Gill and Chris Brooks (Steve's eyes). Picture: STOWMARKET ROOKERY BOWLS CLUB

Chris Brooks, chairman of the club, said: “It’s really taking off. It was something that the town really needed.

“There are so many people who are stuck at home for whatever reason and are not going out.

“We have received great support from Michelle Marshall and Stephanie Edmans from Stowmarket Town Council, councillors Lesley Mayes and Nick Gowrley, as well as Sue Calver, health and wellbeing officer from Mid Suffolk District Council.

“There’s a lot of work going on at the moment, with the paving and the flooring, and we are looking to launch the hub in the first week of October.”

The club currently has a visually impaired bowler, who has had lots of success competing against sighted competitors.

Steve Gill, who had never played bowls before, joined the club a few months ago with the goal of competing against sighted players.

After coaching from the club, he now competes regularly as well as making new friends along the way.

Mr Brooks added: “Steve was someone who had never bowled before when he came to us but we were able to provide coaching and now he is doing really well and has met some firm friends along the way.”

Visit www.rookerybowls.club or email Chris Brooks at chris@todd.co.uk for more information.

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