Steve Barclay MP is supporting a local bowls club in its bid for funding to replace specialist mats that are worse for wear after 17 years of dedicated service.
The MP has written to the chairman of the Braza Short Mat Bowls Club outlining his backing for the bid which is being submitted to funding body Sport England.
The application for funding comes after the Club, which meets at the Braza in March, contacted Mr Barclay expressing concerns that the future of the club could be in jeopardy if replacement mats are not found.
Mr Barclay said: “Clearly after 17 years of being in use for three sessions a week, these bowls mats have seen a good innings and are bound to be in need of replacement. I fully support the members of the Braza Bowls club in their bid to get funding from Sports England to enable their revamp.
“The club does not currently benefit from outside funding and relies on a small members’ charge per bowls session to keep itself afloat. It would be unfair for Sports England to deny them funding because they play a less vigorous sport than, say, football or rugby.
“In light of the Olympic Legacy and wider concerns about the health and well being of the elderly population, I think that this request would help attract new members to the club and allow current membership to continue to enjoy their participation in short mat bowls.”
“I have repeatedly raised the issue that sports funding appears to be directed towards cities at the expense of rural communities like our own. This is an extremely strong bid and I am delighted to lend my support.”
The request for the MP’s support was made when club members realised that the foam backs of the green playing surfaces were peeling away, leaving the mats unusable.
The club currently meets at the Braza Club for short mat bowls on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and Thursday evening 49 weeks of the year at an annual subscription cost to members of £6 and a charge of £1.50 per session.