A CLACKS bowling club has announced that all membership fees will be waived for the coming year.

Alloa Bowling Club, which celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2020, has announced that all fees, for current and new members, will be waived for this year.

The club normally has a number of membership categories including full playing, partially playing and non-playing, however this year the only membership will be a full playing membership and it will be free of charge.

George Barr, president and secretary of the club, says the move comes from the club being in a good financial position and the drive to recruit new members.

He said: "There's two reasons; obviously, because of Covid-19, we hardly played at all and this year it looks like we won't be able to play until the end of May.

"The membership now isn't as big as it used to be. We used to have about 150 playing members and nowadays we have about 70."

Now, thanks to a combination of the club receiving some funding through grants and last year's fees being paid by members despite barely being able to play, the club's committee thought it would be a good idea not to charge the members for this year.

"And then we thought," George continued, "While we're at it, we'll try and encourage people to come along to the club and see what we're like and try bowls: why don't we make this year's membership free?"

The idea is to allow people to come along and experience everything club has to offer for free and then when it comes to next year's renewal, they can decide whether they would like to re-join and stay as full members.

A full membership is full playing rights, a partial membership allows people to play on a Wednesday or if invited to play by a Skip on a Saturday.

A non-playing membership is intended for people who may not be able to play, but still enjoy the fellowship and camaraderie of the club.

George adds that a lot of women members use the club through the winter, saying: "It's not a social club but it's a sociable club.

"It's a place to get outdoors, get a bit of exercise and meet new people.

"We're a sociable bunch."

Despite the Covid-19 lockdown forcing the club to miss its anniversary last year, George is hopeful that some kind of celebration can go ahead this year.

Asked how he felt to have to cancel the plans, he said: "Gutted...dreadful. We had a full programme and every single club that we play in friendly matches on a Saturday were due to play.

"They were all coming to us and we had it all set up. Hopefully, this year we'll be able to attract some of them back."

Anyone interested in joining the club can visit facebook.com/alloabowlingclub or call 07375 749525.