Return to the Green Story: Tweedmouth BC

Tweedmouth BC – A Sustainable Return to the Green Story

Many clubs have taken the time to make improvements to their facilities throughout the lockdowns over the past year, but Tweedmouth BC have taken a ‘green’ approach to their renovations in a bid to start future-proofing the club for future generations of bowlers.

We spoke to David McClymont, the club’s development officer who was asked by the club committee to look into the opportunity of raising funds for the replacement of the locker room/maintenance room facility as it had reached the end of its useful life. During the process of producing a design and navigating the planning process, David was also looking into grant funding opportunities as Tweedmouth being a relatively small club, had limited financial resources to spend on the improvements.

Grants and funding…

As David found out more about the grants available, he realised that funding bodies did not always wish to fund capital building development but were happy to accept applications for sustainable energy projects or to improve access to the sport of bowls... The decision to “go green” was submitted to the club committee; One element was rainwater harvesting that would be used to support the green irrigation system and the second was the provision of solar panels to reduce our energy costs. Initially the installation was only for solar panels but after reviewing a proposal for a battery back-up system against the club’s energy usage profile, this seemed the most advantageous to Tweedmouth and the committee agreed to take this forward on the understanding that they needed some grant capital funding to be in place.

David told us more about the club’s position in the community and describes the funding process for the club: “I was already aware of at least two “major” opportunities for capital funding & in addition had discussed some financial support from the two county councillors who’s wards the club covers. I received tremendous support as although we are primarily a bowls club, we are also seen as a community hub for all our local residents, with weddings, birthday parties and funeral teas all being ‘day to day’ business. The club also has two pool teams, two darts teams and host a local football club. We are an integral part of our community and any area where the club can manage its finances more efficiently will ultimately benefit the whole community in keeping costs to hire and use the facility manageable… in addition the club does not charge anything for some local charity groups using the building. Covid hit us badly, with no income being generated but members have rallied round, the first coffee morning & plant sale this year raised nearly £1,000 for the developments fund and my four ‘key’ funders came up with the support after grant applications and lobbying. Members are now more focused on any ventures that will raise finance as well as providing entertainment and this makes going to grant funders easier with that type of support.”

The future’s green…

The club agreed to the final proposal and signed off the contract for the solar installation, hoping to have it fully installed by September 2021. This will not only minimise the energy payments but will also future proof long-term energy requirements for the club. When Tweedmouth finally switch from the gas combi boiler, the system can be upgraded for domestic water and with the battery back-up it can ‘pump prime’ any air source heat pump for our domestic heating requirements. David hopes that by the community investing in this venture it will give them a feeling of being part of that drive into energy conservation and sustainability that they can feel justly proud of.

 

What else is in the pipeline for Tweedmouth BC? Up next on the club’s radar are plans to continue raising the finances for the rebuilding of the locker room and looking further into the rainwater harvesting initiative. David will be “looking to engage with our local schools and sports facility provider to give and ‘access for all’ approach to giving bowls a try, not just for the physical stimulus it brings but also for the mental stimulus, especially during these trying times with Covid.” A fantastic idea to reconnect people with the bowls club at the centre of the Tweedmouth community.

Thanks to David and Tweedmouth BC for sharing their story with us. If your club has a Return to the Green story to share with Bowls Scotland, please get in touch via: info@bowlsscotland.com 

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