Chesterton Indoor Bowls Club counts the cost of impact of pandemic
Chesterton Indoor Bowls Club is counting the cost of the pandemic in multiple ways.
The stringent measures that have been in place for much of the calendar year have had a significant impact on the club.
Given the uncertain times, they have seen the membership drop from 600 to around 400, and are also estimating a loss in revenue for the year of a minimum of £75,000, if the region stays in Tier 2 until the spring.
There are also concerns over the physical and mental health of members, who have seen their chances to play bowls curtailed.
“We are struggling with our financial side of the business but perhaps more importantly we, as a board of directors, worry about the mental effect it has on some of our members,” said CIBC chairman and fixtures secretary Roger Pawley.
“Being placed in Tier 2 is a massive blow to us all, as it means that we are all unable to mix indoors with people from another household.”
The fixtures for the new league season had been put in place to start on December 2, but with the tier restrictions that made it impossible to do so.
In the meantime, in an effort to be able to provide a place to play bowls, the club has opened up its doors three days a week.
The Covid-secure environment will allow no more than two people from within the same social or household bubble to play on the same rink, although singles can be played against someone outside the household.
They have been able to open six rinks at the club. The sessions are an hour-and-a-half long, and are being hosted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday.
“This will at least, hopefully, generate some much-needed rink fees and give members the opportunity to play,” said Pawley.
“Our main source of income is rink fees, but the current restrictions are blocking that revenue stream.
“In a normal season we would take in more than £70,000 in rink fees, so you can see the impact.
“We have been very prudent in the past, but the last nine months has made a massive dent in our reserves. We’re projecting if we continue in Tier 2 until the spring, we will be looking at a minimum £75,000 loss for the year.
“Although this will not bankrupt us, we do need to get back to full membership and league bowling as soon as allowed.
“I am sure that many businesses are in a similar situation, but we have been very fortunate to have members that really care about the club welfare and have paid their annual subscriptions and even made donations, despite us having to close.”
The non-profit making business, which is run almost entirely by volunteers, has so far raised more than £3,000 on a Justgiving page.
For more information visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ccibc2020.