PLANS by Manchester City Council to make budget cuts to the cities bowling greens have come under question after announcements they’ll be making £175k cuts to maintenance staff.
Geoff Carter, head of the Debdale Park bowling green club has submitted a consultation document to the council regarding the budget proposals which would see his club, alongside 15 other bowling greens, lose funding for maintenance of the greens.
“The main core of what we’re trying to do is reduce the budget from £175,000 to nothing. Some bowling teams have already offered up their second greens to cut the budget, we’re hoping to retain ours.
“We’ve got another meeting with the council on the 16th February to alert them of the decision of certain greens willing to cut their second pitches – which we hope will help us bring the cuts completely down and out of the budget.” Geoff said.
MP Gerald Kaufman, who holds the seat for Gorton North which is part of the Debdale area has supported the motion to fight against the proposed cuts to the greens maintenance programme for Debdale, and has opposed any form of vital funding in this area.
Geoff has also underlined plans of how if the bowling clubs can offer budget cut support to the council, then what can they do for the bowling clubs.
“We obviously would like to know what the council can do for us. Our clubs need investment and we want to work alongside the council to make sure we can get that.
“We also hope that rather than cuts, our representatives would encourage Manchester to provide more investments to clubs. Clubs can be used as medical centres for health checks, flu injections and CPR training amongst many others uses” says Geoff.
The Debdale society has over 100 members. “We have an estimate of around 60 males and 40 females who are all part of our senior clubs. We really do utilise the greens too.
“Regularly we’ll host mixed bowling matches which we do for charity. We have a bowling green each for the males and females. Both greens are important and we don’t want to risk losing them.”
The bowling season lasts from Easter till October, however the usage of the bowling clubhouse remains open every Thursday for the members, which enables them to meet up with friends to play cards, domino’s and socialise – something which Geoff believes is a very important aspect of the greens maintenance programme.
“Of course we do competitive bowling, but we also do social bowling as well, which is a way of keeping the team together and bonded. If people want to learn to bowl as well, we’re more than happy to tutor so that they can join the team. We want to create a strong social bond with whoever wants to get involved.” Geoff says.
For the incoming Mayor in this May’s DevoManc election, a new Mayor will be tasked with the job of looking after the Manchester regions budget, which includes transport, policing and all other facilities in the city. “I think the incoming mayor needs to be looking at how Manchester facilities can be best used, how we can make the city work best and allow people like us to still be able to socialise like we do through bowls,” says Geoff.
Such news come in the wake of plans launched late 2016 of the £330m renovation of Manchester Town Hall, which raised a few eyebrows considering the immense government cuts which are currently crippling parts of the population, especially in the North of England.
The final decision of Manchester’s 2018/2019 budget will be finalised at the end of March.