A YORK bowls club is preparing to host the Special Olympics this month after undergoing a £170,000 renovation.
New Earswick and District Bowls Club is looking forward to its first summer of sport after receiving grants totalling £70,000 from Sport England and City of York Council, and a £50,000 loan from Charity Bank.
The funding, which included £50,000 of the club's own money, has been used to modernise the indoor playing area and refurbish member facilities at the clubhouse, which was originally a storage facility for Rowntrees.
The renovation includes new LED lighting, and a new air conditioning and heating system, which has not only cut energy bills by more than 25 per cent, but will allow the indoor club to be used for more active activities in warmer summer months.
Andy Webster, stadium manager at New Earswick Bowls Club, which is home to nearly 1,000 playing and social members, said: "The loan from Charity Bank was crucial to the project and helped leverage additional grant funding thus enabling the project to proceed.
“The work will considerably improve the playing experience, especially during the summer months, for both our members and other community group users, many of whom are disabled or have special needs.
“It also makes the 600sqm summer floor space an attractive low cost option for potential clients as a trade fair, conference or evening social event venue for up to 400 people.”
Ahead of plans to host new activities over summer months, including football, hockey and seated volleyball, the club is this month hosting the Yorkshire and Humber Special Olympics on April 13.
The completion of work at the bowls club comes as Charity Bank has agreed a £14.5 million investment from Big Society Capital.
Jeremy Ince, Charity Bank’s lending manager responsible for York, said: “New Earswick and District Bowls Club is the type of organisation we exist to support.
"It was clear from our first meeting the club was committed to creating a strong social impact.
“I’m particularly excited because the new investment is a major vote of confidence in Charity Bank’s business and provides it with the financial fuel to work with more organisations like New Earswick."