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February 8, 2012

Bowled over by MyBus


When Fife Council decided it could no longer afford to run a local bowling green in Leven, it offered the entire facility to the membership. With an average age of 70+ the members concluded the challenge was beyond them and reluctantly turned the offer down.  But all was not lost.  Step forward MyBUS – principally a community transport project but with the capacity to fulfil the role  of a community anchor – and with an understanding of the crucial importance of retaining these local facilities




An abundance of ‘green energy’ at Scoonie Bowling Club has marked the end of the club with a new beginning. Community transport group MyBus intends to resume bowling at the famous Leven club on the first day of April – barely six months after it looked as if the last shot had been played.

The facility at Scoonie Crescent closed at the end of the 2011 outdoor season, after 90 years of sporting tradition and cameraderie. Members, many of whom were aged over 70, felt taking on the running of the club would financially be too heavy a burden, after an approach to do so by Fife Council.

However, within days of the closure, a consultation was mounted by MyBus and APW Associates CIC, of Kirkcaldy, asking what people in Leven would like the bowling green and clubhouse to be used for.  The vast majority of respondents wanted bowling retained at the green, and talks continued with Fife Council.

MyBus chief executive officer Mary Parry was delighted this week to confirm that bowling was coming back – and April 1 was the target opening date.

Work would be carried out to upgrade the kitchen and make the toilets more acessible, said Ms Parry, and MyBus would be forming a development trust to help with the club’s management.  A clean-up of the surrounding paths has already started, while MyBus is also teaming up with Elmwood College to offer greenkeeping training.

“It’s going to be a community bowling club but there will be members too,” said Ms Parry. “We hope to form a committee with the community, MyBus and the members.”

The mix of paid staff and volunteers had planned to run the club as a financially independent social enterprise, while raising funds and seeking grant assistance.  The green is likely to be open to the public on a membership or pay-as-you-play basis. Ms Parry said a number of bowling devotees among MyBus’ lunch club members, who could no longer play, would be able to come along and enjoy the games.

“I think it could be great inter-generational thing,” she added.