Professor Linda Hancock in last week’s Echo said it best: ‘It is important to defend and preserve community social sustainability.’ This is the primary objective that the Bangalow Bowlo’s board, management, team of staff and hundreds of members have set out to achieve these past few months by looking at a range of options before them to secure the future of what is their much-loved community asset with its rich history.
Not-for-profit clubs often sit at the core of the communities they are privileged to serve and are arguably more valuable in rural and regional communities. Clubs support kids in sport; they assist those less fortunate, especially during times of need; they employ tens of thousands across the country; have countless connected suppliers; rely heavily on local tradespeople and, most importantly, are a comfortable and welcoming place for local community members to meet and socialise.
The Bangalow Bowlo recently celebrated its 112th anniversary, making it one of the industry’s oldest clubs. The Club is so much more than just a venue that provides people with food, beverages, entertainment, community events, family gatherings, sports functions and gaming — and it must be preserved so future generations can enjoy what it truly represents.
The preservation of this community asset is an enormous responsibility that must consider the needs and wants of all people connected to it. Local Bangalow community members who enjoy playing rugby union, bowls, soccer, netball and cricket, as well as those that love to dance, dine, share a drink and even have a bet are entitled to make a decision that will see their club flourish for decades to come.
Just over ten years ago, the Bangalow Bowlo was lifted out of administration thanks to the fundraising efforts of many loyal Bangalow community members. The work to survive, whilst honourable, has seen the Club at varying times have to fundraise from members and the community, sell off a parcel of land adjacent to the tennis courts and sell gaming machine entitlements — just to remain open.