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Page last updated at 06:23 GMT, Monday, 1 March 2010
Facing the Cuts: Indoor bowlers lose Blackburn home
"It's a crying shame," says chairman of the bowling committee Bill Stemp
"It's a crying shame," says chairman of the bowling committee Bill Stemp

Indoor bowlers in Blackburn are another group "Facing the Cuts" in Lancashire.

The 200-strong members of Blackburn Indoor Bowling League lost their home at Albion Mill in the town in August 2008.

They had been playing there for 20 years when it was closed down by the private company that owned it.

The bowlers approached Blackburn with Darwen Council for help with finding a new base for the sport.

'Crying shame'

They were offered the chance of £130,000 towards converting a unit at Glenfield Business Centre.

Work progressed, planning applications were made and the bowlers were optimistic for the future... but then the budget was cut.

"At a meeting in December 2009 we were told the money wasn't available. It was just cut back, so we were left with nowhere to go," explains Bill Stemp, the chairman of the bowling committee.

"I feel really sorry for those who now can't play at all. There are people who've played at a good standard, played nationally and played at county standard who are not playing at the moment because they just haven't got the facility, which is such a crying shame."

'Expensive'

Newton Hall Indoor Bowling Centre in Staining
The Bowling Centre in Staining is a 60 mile round trip for Blackburn players

Some of the bowlers, who can afford it, are now having to make a 60 mile round trip to the nearest facilities at the Newton Hall Bowling Centre in Staining near Blackpool.

"People come three or four times a week so you're talking about more than 250 miles in total. It's quite expensive with the travelling," said Bill.

Other bowlers say they feel let down by the council but say they will continue to campaign for a replacement bowling rink in East Lancashire.

Blackburn with Darwen Council say they are supportive of the bowlers' project but there are a number of demands on the budget in a difficult economic climate.

They intend to continue working with the bowlers and help them find alternative sources of funding.




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