Palmerston News

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A target for reopening

The EIBA have just been able to advise (on 24 July) that indoor bowls can start on 25th July. We are aware that some clubs will have opened immediately but we still have preparations to make to ensure that our facility will meet the requirements to be Covid-19 secure. Therefore we will not open Palmerston until we are confident that all our planned preparations for the safety of our members are in place. At present the work to upgrade the club ventilation is in progress with completion targeted for mid-August. Deep cleaning will then take place, followed by the setting up of all other preparations before members can return. We are targeting an opening date for bowling of 31 August which will begin with booked rollups. A target for opening the bar and restaurant has not yet been determined. We will update you when we have further information on opening dates.

Prior to this we have to issue quite a lot of paperwork to members. This will cover the annual subscription renewals as well as all the information members will need about our safe operation arrangements so that they know what to expect and how they need to prepare.

We are also conscious that we have an overdue AGM as it wasn't possible to hold one as planned during lockdown. Even after we open it will be impossible to arrange in the normal way, considering that approximately 150 members attended last year's AGM. We therefore plan to keep the business to the minimum needed, i.e. mainly the election of directors and officers for the next season. We will ask for proxy votes to confirm these posts, so proxy forms will be included in the annual renewal pack. We trust you will be happy with this as a practical way forward. It's not the time to be considering rule changes as many normal rules cannot apply anyway.

Although we have stressed in these news articles the value of getting as much contact as possible via email, we still do not have email addresses for over half our members. This means there will be a lot to send in one large package by post to these members. In recognition of this communication problem, we will add a suggestion that members without email might possibly ask a close family member to receive emails for them which will give us the opportunity to keep all members informed on a more regular basis instead of once a year. Alternatively for the bowlers, another member of their league team could be an "email buddy".

If you have read the results of our survey you will see that there is a significant proportion of members who are not planning to return immediately. There will be an impact on many league teams and we will need to know which teams are going to be playing before we can work out the league schedules. This will involve team leaders determining which of their team members are going to play and whether they need to withdraw or could possibly take members of other struggling teams. We will be contacting team leaders when it is appropriate to start this process and then it will take time, so our intention is to delay the start of leagues for 3 weeks to 5th October. Schedules should be available sometime in September.

There are tentative plans to play the postponed club finals during a week in September. Palmerston was also the venue for the Hampshire mens and ladies finals which were also postponed. It is hoped to be able to organise these on suitable weekend dates in September. In common with other sports, it will not be possible to have spectators.

Unfortunately it is not practical to play the final 2 weeks of the summer league. When we open we will start with booked rollups. We advised in our 19th June bulletin that we will restrict play to 6 rinks and have up to 5 sessions each day, rather than 6, with half an hour gap between sessions. The number of sessions might be reduced further in the first few weeks, as we feel our way forward and depending on demand. Details of the booking arrangements (which will be by telephone) will be included in the annual renewal pack.

So please prepare for a large package of documents to land on your doorstep or email inbox and take your time to read them carefully. Arranging an indoor sports facility in these circumstances is very difficult, so we will need your full support in following our guides so that we can safely enjoy bowling despite the restrictions. We fervently look forward to the day when these restrictions are behind us.

PIBC Board of Directors

Sunday 26th July

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Members Survey Results

On 30th June we sent out a short survey to members to find what their thoughts were about the shut down of Palmerston and their intentions regarding returning when we are able to open. It was sent by email to 378 members. 327 read the email and 283 filled in the survey. The results have been analysed - click HERE for the graphs.

We were pleased with the high response and the results gave us some useful insights. You can see from the first two graphs that the vast majority of respondents play in the leagues and also play at least twice a week. More than half the bowlers who do play at Palmerston in the summer missed it a lot, but fortunately most of the others found other things to do instead.

Of course the really important question for us is how many members are planning to return soon. Not surprisingly, given our age profile, a quarter or respondents are nervous of Coronavirus and are likely to return much later when they are sure of being safe. However there is a large group of bowlers who we couldn't send it to by email, where we suspect there will be probably more than 25% who are equally nervous of returning. Some of the reasons were given in members comments that they added at the end of the survey.

We are drawing up strict procedures for safe operation and we hope that some of the concerned members will be reassured by them. On one particular point - ventilation - we can inform you that we are in the process of installing air conditioning equipment which will bring fresh air into and expel used air out of the bowls hall, the bar and the restaurant. This is hoped to be completed by the end of this month and we shall not open the club until at least when this is installed.

We are sorry to have to insist that members cannot use cash at the Stewards desk. The EIBA recommended clubs use non-cash methods of payment. Perhaps it is our good fortune that only last year we introduced member card payment. Given that 65% of you would welcome the opportunity to top up your member card online, we will be introducing that facility as soon as possible. You will still be able to top up at the bar when it is open, either with a debit/credit card (preferred) or £10/£20 notes. We do not want to handle coins.

It was pleasing to see that 43% of you might consider volunteering in addition to the 6% who said they would be pleased to help the 6% who already volunteer. We will need more help to maintain the safe procedures we are designing.

It is not practical to report the 100+ comments we received which we are very grateful for. It's a pity we had only 13 social members views, but this is because we have very few email addresses for social members. It was impractical to send out the survey by post due to the large amount of work that collating the responses would require, quite apart from the postage cost to over 500 members (over £300) and the time it would take. Some members asked about the bar and restaurant reopening - this is currently under detailed consideration.

We are grateful for all the messages of thanks we received as many members recognise the hard work our team is putting in to ensure that we can operate as safely as possible during these unprecedented times.

PIBC Board of Directors

Sunday 12th July

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Planning for reopening

We are pleased to tell you we have been given detailed guidance by the EIBA to enable us to begin planning for the reopening of Palmerston. At this time there is no indication of when indoor bowls will be permitted. We believe it is unlikely before August and may be even later, so we can only make tentative plans at present. The EIBA guidance is based on the current Government social distancing rules, which means that it will be necessary to set up fairly strict conditions to make sure everyone is able to play bowls safely.

You will be pleased to hear that we are able to consider triples as well as singles and pairs. This would allow us to plan for running leagues, although it looks as if there will be too little time to organise any remaining weeks of the summer league.

Some of the measures being considered are:

  • Strict control of entrance and exit.
  • Floor markings and signage to show a clear path from entrance door, via locker rooms and committee rooms to the stewards desk for payment and then to the bowling green, changing shoes at an appropriate position.
  • Doors latched open to avoid having to touch them. Only one person in the toilet at one time.
  • Take your bowls and shoes home to avoid using lockers as this would create congestion and not be compatible with social distancing requirements. Exceptions for people travelling by public transport or bicycle.
  • 5 sessions per day instead of 6, with half an hour gap in-between. This allows us to clear the building after one session before admitting the next session’s bowlers.
  • Play on 6 rinks: 1,2,3 and 6,7,8. With the middle rinks empty, along with use of the side walkways, this gives more space for bowlers to maintain social distancing.
  • Minimum handling of jacks - placed by foot on the T. The mat placed at the choice of the winner of the previous end. Rules to specify who should handle the jack, mat and electronic scoreboard. Sanitiser will be available as required for these items.
  • The bar may be closed initially, but this will depend on how Government rules are relaxed over the next weeks and months.
  • Bring your own drinks, vending machine out of bounds.
  • Payment of rink fees by member card only, no cash. Top up member card preferably by debit/credit card, or £10 or £20 notes.
  • Protect steward and bar staff by use of perspex screens.
  • Club ventilation is being examined to consider potential improvements.

Please bear in mind some of this may change. These are only tentative ideas for now as everything needs to be coordinated and we need to check where the bottlenecks will be. There will be a lot more detailed information to give you in due course, but we thought you would be pleased to see some light at the far end of the tunnel.

PIBC Board of Directors

Friday 19th June

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Email alerts

Please note that because no-one will be able to visit the club until we reopen, the most practical way to give further Palmerston news is through this website. If and when we do need to communicate with members it will help enormously if all members with an email address give it to us so we can alert you as soon as something changes.

Many thanks to the team leaders who asked their teams to give us their email addresses. This was done a few weeks ago and was quite successful. But with the rapid rise in the use of online communication in this lockdown, there may be more of you who now use email, so we urge you to contact us so you can stay up to date with developments. We don't do marketing so rest assured this is only used when we have something useful to communicate.

You can give us your email address by clicking HERE. If that doesn't work, send a short message to the email address on the front page of the latest Palm Reader newsletter available elsewhere in this website.

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Offer of help - Locks Heath area

Another generous spirit in our bowls community is offering fetch and carry help to elderly members who are having difficulties with being confined to the house for safety. She is even prepared to exercise the dog!

Mo Browne says "I too would like to offer my services to any elderly member in the Locks Heath, Warsash, Bursledon or Titchfield area, who might need shopping, prescription, dog walking or any other help they might need."

Of course not everyone has access to our web site or has an email address. So if you know someone who might need help and is unaware of this offer please check whether they are ok.

If help is needed please email their name and phone number to and Mo will get in touch.

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Offer of help - Gosport area

Apart from the bowls we can no longer play, many of us are missing the excellent meals in the club restaurant cooked by Debbie's team. There were many regular customers and Debbie was always busy. But now with the club closed, she finds herself at a loose end, having cleaned the cupoards several times over!

Therefore she has decided to offer fetch and carry help to any local elderly members who are having difficulties with being confined to the house for safety. She is happy to run errands: shopping, fetching prescriptions, etc. Even delivering prepared food if needed. Obviously she will observe the recommended social distancing practices and will not be able to enter people’s homes.

This is entirely on a voluntary basis, there is no charge involved, she isn’t expecting petrol money. She just wants to help where help is needed.

So if you find yourself in this situation or know an elderly member, in or near the Gosport area, who needs some assistance, please get in touch. Send an email to with the member's name and phone number, and we will pass the details along.

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Palm Reader

The latest March 2020 edition of the Palm Reader produced by Marie Leonard is now available.

Read the latest issue.