Bowls club Covid jab centre gets membership boost

time:2023-06-01 11:18:13 source:CBS News

An indoor bowls club has seen its membership leap after it became an NHS Covid vaccination centre.

Cambridge Chesterton Indoor Bowling Club "was very worried" about its long-term future when it closed just ahead of the first lockdown in 2020.

General manager Kevin Kent said: "We did a recruitment drive as people arrived for their jabs, offering a £10 annual membership."

Membership has grown from 450 people to about 1,050 "which is just insane".

The club was opened in 1973 and has eight rinks, two of which were used by the NHS.

Mr Kent, who is also the club's finance director, said: "It was amazing the number of people who came in and didn't know we were here - we are little bit off the beaten track - and suddenly they started to join."

Not only were they able to recruit 684 new members, the NHS income helped with a £114,000 scheme to get all the rinks resurfaced, backed by a £40,000 grant from the Amey Community Fund.

"We've got a real mix of membership now too, aged from 40 and 50 upwards, which is fantastic, and such a nice mix of new and old members," he said, adding its 100-seater restaurant had also been upgraded.

He said more than 100,000 people were vaccinated at the centre during the pandemic.

"There's not much that's good that's came out of Covid - we lost some members to it which is very sad," he said.

"The only concern now is if a congestion charge comes in - a lot of members are pensioners and if they have to pay £5 to drive here they won't, plus a pensioner carrying four very heavy bowls is just not going to bring them on a bus."

The club ceased being a vaccination centre on 15 December.

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