Morwell Club given a Helping Hand

by Aidan Davis

Morwell Club Bowls Club has today become the first beneficiary of the Helping Hand Fund, developed by Bowls Australia (BA) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morwell Club, located in the Latrobe Valley area of Gippsland approximately 150km east of Melbourne, has been particularly hard hit by the effects of restricted trading, eradicating their ability to facilitate their usual bi-monthly raffles – a major source of revenue for the self-described ‘small club with minimal income’.

To make matters worse for the volunteer-driven Club of 61 members, this past weekend their locker-room/office was broken into and vandalised, with bowls equipment, umpire kits and their cherished defibrillator stolen.

With the Club already feeling the pinch due to COVID-19, and seemingly unlikely to ever recover their potentially life-saving defibrillator, BA has come to the rescue, courtesy of the generous donations provided to the Helping Hand Fund by the bowls community.

BA is pleased to provide the Club with a helping hand to the tune of $2,765 to cover the cost of the replacement defibrillator device, in addition to the $1,000 support already provided by the Victorian Government.

BA CEO Neil Dalrymple said he was pleased to be able to provide the relief on behalf of the entire bowls community.

“We know there are clubs that are doing it really tough at the moment, which is why we’ve established this fund in partnership with the Australian Sports Foundation and are calling on the wider bowls community to help contribute by donating to this important cause, if in a position to do so,” Dalrymple said.

“The Morwell Club Bowls Club is certainly one club that could use a bit of a helping hand to get back to a healthy position and it’s important that we provide this support to clubs quickly, when they need it most.”

Morwell Club Bowls Club President David Broadbent said his club was appreciative of the support provided.

“Our Club was really feeling the effects of COVID-19, being unable to fundraise with our usual raffles or any other means of generating cash flow, but then to be the victim of a break-in and vandalism, resulting in the loss of a life-saving device among other things, was really disheartening and upsetting,” Broadbent said.

“On behalf of all members and patrons, we express our sincere thanks to BA and indeed all of the bowls community who have donated to the Helping Hand Fund.”

To date, the bowls community has contributed $8,713 in donations to the Helping Hand Fund, with BA committed to redistributing these funds in its entirety to the clubs impacted most by COVID-19.

“On behalf of BA’s Board and staff, I wish to thank and acknowledge everyone who has donated to the Helping Hand Fund so far,” Dalrymple said.

“However, there’s still a long way to go to reaching the $150,000 objective to be able to provide meaningful support to the hardest hit bowls clubs nationwide that face daunting short-term viability issues relating to the impacts of COVID-19.”

Donations to the Helping Hand campaign are tax-deductible and BA are calling on all levels of the bowls community to show support to clubs in times of need.