A special bond between two organisations is continuing through an annual fixture.
Each year Collingwood Bowling Club, in North Shields, takes on staff from North Tyneside VODA (Voluntary Organisations Development Agency) to celebrate their working relationship.
Over the last three years, VODA has been offering support to the club following its move to Heaton Terrace Bowling Park and transformation of its facilities.
Club trustee, Alan Hall, said: “When we inherited the green, we could tell there was an awful lot of work needed to bring it back to its former glory. The other members were all up for the challenge, but we knew we needed some support.”
The club has raised more than £29,000 from local companies and various funders for new equipment and greens care products while a recent grant from the Active North Tyneside Fund has allowed the club to purchase new guest bowls sets and offer free taster sessions on Saturday mornings.
Alan added: “We’re extremely grateful to VODA for all of the advice and support we’ve received and arranging this bowling match is just our little way of saying thank you.”
VODA is currently working with Collingwood Bowling Club on its plans to extend their pavilion.
Frank Gillender, VODA’s funding adviser said: “Collingwood are a great example of what a community sports group can achieve. Their members have been very ambitious and worked so hard to transform the club.”
He added: “We thoroughly enjoy our annual matches with them and look forward to many more in the future.”
New club member Helen Jobe, from Shiremoor, who was persuaded to take up the sport by her husband, George, said: “Bowls was always my husband’s game, but last year we did a tour of bowling clubs in Jersey and I was encouraged to give it a go and now I’m hooked.
“It’s a very sociable game and it’s great to see people of all ages enjoying it.”
Alan added: “As a consequence of the efforts of our members, volunteers and the staff at VODA, our green is now in a much improved condition. Our membership has doubled and brought many new starters in to the sport.”
Collingwood are holding free taster sessions on Saturday mornings throughout July and August (excluding July 22), from 10am to 12.30pm at Heaton Terrace, North Shields.
Contact the club on (0191) 257 1523 for more information.