Mission to save club
THE couple behind the popular ballroom dances at Ryedale Indoor Bowls Club in Norton are on a mission to save the venue from being sold.
Barrie and Pat Elener, who have raised several thousands of pounds for worthy causes through the regular get togethers, have announced the dances will come to an end and are urging supporters to join them on Sunday, February 3, at 3pm when an open meeting will be held to discuss the closure.
At a meeting last year, Ryedale District Council ruled that it wants to sell the centre in a move that could net it £400,000. Conservative councillors who support the closure argued that the bowls club is under-utilised with membership down to 156 people and that the authority effectively charges the taxpayer £27,500 a year as the club committee receives that amount in a discount on the £37,5000 rent it is meant to pay the council annually.
The bowls club is now due to shut in April.
But Barrie and Pat, speaking ahead of their “last dance” on February 15, are among a growing number of supporters who believe the venue should be saved from the axe as it caters for much more than bowlers.
“We are just one example of a friendly, socially active group, who regularly use the excellent facilities at the bowls club,” said Barrie, of Malton. “The Tory group have not just voted to sell the centre, they have decided to deprive the residents of Ryedale – and visitors too – of a unique indoor bowls and leisure centre where many community activities take place, dancing just being one example. And for what? The possibility of a ‘handful of silver.’”
“It just does not make any sense to close this vital community and sports centre in the heart of Ryedale. The town of Norton-on-Derwent has a youth centre and church halls but, correct me if I am wrong, it does not have its own community or leisure centre? Ryedale Indoor Bowls Club is the nearest thing that Norton has to a good community centre for people of all ages and religions.
“It could have been even better if the council had used even a small portion of the substantial rent it has received to help and assist the officers and committee who have strived to keep the club running over the past few years.”
For the past six years, Barrie and Pat have held ballroom dances at the centre, attracting people from York, Tadcaster, Scarborough and Northallerton, and raising thousands of pounds for different charities such as MacMillan Cancer Support, Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Marie Curie Cancer Care.
But they have announced that their Valentine’s Dance on February 15 will be their last – as there are no other venues which suit their needs as well as the club in Norton.
Barrie said: “Our chosen venue has been the Ryedale Indoor Bowls Club as it is virtually unique in Ryedale and convenient for ourselves. It offers a very pleasant function room where guests are seated at tables, on plush chairs, on a very nice carpeted area with wall-lights; importantly there is a good-size dance floor and a licensed bar, managed by regular staff and also a large car park, belonging to the centre.
“Regrettably, for ourselves, our loyal dance-goers and the charities that we support, the ‘sale/closure’ will mean the end of our Come Dancing charity dances as no other venue in Ryedale compares with the Ryedale Indoor Bowls Club.”
Barrie and Pat are now extending an invitation to members of Ryedale District Council to come along to the centre and the Valentine’s Dance itself to see the impact it has on the mostly elderly people who use it. That invitation is also extended to the open meeting where the bowls club committee will update the public on the latest developments and to see what could be done to secure its future.
Cllr Di Keal, the Mayor of Norton, said: “I would like to encourage anyone who would like to see the bowling club saved as a community sports facility and venue to attend the meeting on February 3. The bowling club is a great asset to Norton both for the members who bowl regularly and also for the wider community as the largest venue for events in Norton.
“I question whether enough was done to support the bowling club committee to improve the future prospects of the club before the decision was made to sell by the Tory group on Ryedale District Council. I also doubt that they will receive the predicted sum of £400,000 for the site as it stands in a flood plain.
“There is a lot of support for retaining the club and I would urge those district councillors who voted in support of the sale to start listening to their views – it is late in the day, but not too late to find a solution that will keep the club for the community, but also turn it’s fortunes around so it has a sustainable future.’
l The open meeting will be held at Ryedale Indoors Bowls Club, Norton, on Sunday, February 3, at 3pm. The Valentine’s Dance on Friday, February 15, at 7.45pm to 11.30pm.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Malton
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North