Lithgow Croquet Club received a grant of $160,405 from Bathurst MP Paul Toole to expand its operation and host bigger competitions on Wednesday, November 7.
The funding is from round two of the NSW Governments Stronger Country Communities Fund.
MP Paul Toole announced the club would use the funding to upgrade and extend its playing greens, allowing more games to be played at the same time and in turn attracting more players and giving it the ability to host larger tournaments.
Lithgow Croquet Club president Cass Hawkins said the funding would make a huge difference as it would allow more elderly and young people to play.
“We will be able to do extra games on a weekend so working people and kids can come and learn the game,” she said.
Ms Hawkins was overwhelmed with emotion by the grant and said she was very pleased that the club received the grant because it would make the club that much better.
“We are not old fuddy-duddies like people say about croquet, we are actually quite fun,” she said.
Mr Toole said the improvements will include the removal and replacement of the existing lawn areas as well as the installation of extra greens, new sprinkler systems and new perimeter security fencing.
“The Lithgow Croquet Club provides an alternative to lawn bowls and plays host to special needs groups and the elderly,” he said.
“There are several different types of croquet games with the newest being ‘Gateball’ which is rapidly growing in Australia and is suited to players of all ages.”
Lithgow Mayor Ray Thompson complimented the club on the improvements the club has made over the recent years.
“I can remember going back to when I was a little fella, I think that this croquet club has been here for that long and the improvements that I’ve seen over the last few years have been amazing,” he said.
Mr Thompson said he hoped that the club could succeed in keep the cockatoos off the lawn.
“If we can keep the cockatoos away that’ll be good as I can see they are digging up the lawn there, making it hard to play croquet and gateball on those kinds of greens,” he said.
“From council’s point of view we will try to endeavour to keep up with some improvements around your club house and that as well.”
Mr Toole said this was the first time the croquet club had asked for any funding over the years he has been the local member.
“It was nice to give it to a group that asked for the very first time to receive this amount of money.
“However the size of the playing area has prevented it being able to host larger competitions,” he said.
“Having bigger playing greens and being able to hold more competitions would lead to more visitors coming to Lithgow, in turn providing a boost to accommodation providers, food outlets and general tourism activities.
“Overall this funding for the Lithgow Croquet Club points to a healthier, happier and more prosperous local community.”
Mr Toole said croquet is a low impact sport and can help fill the gap for seniors unable to play lawn bowls because of knee, back or other mobility problems.
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