Grand opening

19 Nov

Rene Hidding (Ribbon cutting) The Honorable Rene Hidding, MHA (Liberal Member for Lyons) was on hand on Friday night to officially open our renovated clubroom.

Thanks to Rene for his efforts in securing funding for Phase 1 (office/bar) and Phase 2 (toilet block) renovations.

Thanks also to the Honorable Rebecca White, MHA (Labor Member for Lyons) for obtain the funds from Lara Giddings’ discretionary fund (back when Lara was Premier), we also have a disability toilet. We are “open for business”.

David Long - SpeechThe speech by President, David Long, is included below, with a few photos. 

On behalf of the Sorell Bowls & Community Club I extend a warm welcome to everyone here this evening and a special welcome to our guests. Firstly our political friends:

  • Rene Hidding, MHA for Lyons (welcome Rene)
  • The leader of the state opposition Rebecca White MHA for Lyons had a prior commitment and is represented today by her electorate officer Penny Goodland (welcome Penny)
  • Brian Mitchell MHR for Lyons (welcome Brian)
  • Mark Shelton MHA and his wife Merrilyn (welcome to both of you)
  • Jane Howlett MLC for Prosser (welcome Jane)
  • Mayor Kerry Vincent and other representatives of the Sorell Council (welcome Kerry)
  • The building designer – Gary Reid
  • Sam Spaulding & Paul Airey representing Bennetts Constructions – the builders
  • Our new bankers, Bendigo Community Bank, represented by Branch Manager, Alan Leedham, Lyn Rabe & Renee Boyles.
  • The Principal of the Sorell High School, Andy Bennett and teacher, Jane Lakey
  • Our bookkeeper, Peter Askey-Doran, and his wife Helen
  • And lastly our sponsors, members and friends of the Sorell Bowls and Community Club.

At this point I think we should reflect on the past. The club was formed in 1964 by a group of local people, many of whom were local farmers. Sorell at that time was a rural market town. We currently only have 2 members who are farmers which gives an indication how Sorell has changed.  Our founders started with nothing – not many grants in those days. They raised the money themselves and with the CBA bank acquired the site and proceeded to establish a bowls club.

On the monitor above the bar you will see early photos of the clubhouse, starting with a tin shed. I think in one photo they are serving drinks from a tent.  As the years went by the club house was built in stages until it became the existing building.  It should serve the community well for the next 50 years.

The current renovations started last year with Stage One.  This entailed widening the building towards the street, creating a new main entrance opening onto the street, a new bar, meeting room, office, and new furniture and décor.

This made a big difference, providing far more space for people. We realised more than ever that we needed to do something about the toilets so we decided to go ahead with Stage Two this year.  The builders started at the end of July and they finished about a month ago.

So now we have excellent toilet facilities, including a Disabled Toilet, a renovated Storeroom and new Hot Water service.  With these Renovations and our well-appointed kitchen, we have an excellent venue for small to medium size functions in Sorell.

David Long and Lyn Rabe
David Long and Lyn Rabe

Along with many other sporting organisations, Bowls is going through a tough period adapting to the changes in our way of life. We, along with the Bendigo Community Bank and the Sorell Council, saw the need to reach out to the local community and open the doors so the building can be used for community activities.  By doing this we should see the club prosper and it is important that the sport of bowls has a venue in this growing community.

There are a lot of people to thank for their input into this project.

  • Firstly Rene Hidding. Rene has been a great friend to the club, facilitating through government initiatives and grants a total of $250,000 which has made all this possible.  Rene honoured an election promise of $100,000 from the Liberal Government for Stage One, and by encouraging us to become a community club, he was able to facilitate a further $150,000 through the Sport & Recreation Fund.
  • Rebecca White has sponsored some of our club activities and presented $10,000 from the Giddings Labor Government’s discretionary fund for our disabled toilet.
  • I should also mention that the Club has topped up both grants from our savings with an amount well in excess of $100,000.
  • Brian Mitchell is one of our sponsors and is always makes himself available.
  • Mark Shelton sponsored our scorecards and keeps in touch and advising us of funding opportunities.
  • Sorell Mayor Kerry Vincent has encouraged and supported us.  The Sorell Council assisted in many ways including waiving a $2,000 fee which we really appreciated. Council staff greatly assisted us in completing all the paperwork involved with building permits etc and advising us on Grant applications.
  • Also, thanks to past president Chris Smith. Chris has been involved from the start
    – project managing and liaising with planners and undertaking other tasks as they arise since 2014.
  • Bennetts Constructions – we thank you for your workmanship and expediency in completing the job well on time. It was a pleasure to work with you.
  • Our new bankers, Bendigo Community Bank – we thank you for your sponsorship in the form of financial reassurance and look forward to working with you in the future.
  • Speaking of finance, thanks to Peter Askey-Doran for his bookkeeping and financial advice over the last 12 months.
  • Thanks to all our other sponsors – we value your sponsorship greatly and endeavour to support and promote your business anyway we can.  As an example we have initiated a rolling slideshow of your businesses and play them on the TV at functions – this is still a work in progress.
  • Thanks to past presidents Ron Cowen and Bill Butler, previous Boards of Management and many other members who have given their time and effort to this project.
Rene Hidding - Speech
Rene Hidding – Speech

[David asked past president (and building works manager) Chris Smith to say a few words]. If I have missed anyone, I apologise.

Chris Smith - Speech
Chris Smith – Speech

I will now ask Rene Hidding to say a few words and officially open the new section of the building by cutting the ribbon.

This concludes the formalities.  We invite everyone to join us for drinks and something to eat and celebrate the new building.

Thanks to the Provedore, Shirley Hay, and other members for the food.  Thanks also to our Bar Manager, Peter Self, and the team behind the bar.