Parndana Bowling Club gets serious about inclusion for disabled, less mobile participants

WORKS PLANNED: Parndana Bowling Club member and disability accessibility project manager Scott Carter, president Chris Turner, local resident Anthony Freebairn and committee member and women's bowls representative Meahgan May. Photo supplied
WORKS PLANNED: Parndana Bowling Club member and disability accessibility project manager Scott Carter, president Chris Turner, local resident Anthony Freebairn and committee member and women's bowls representative Meahgan May. Photo supplied

The Parndana Bowling Club is embarking on a new project to service the needs of its aging membership and members with a disability or who have mobility issues.

The Disability Accessibility Project will result in an upgrade of the club's facility so that members and members of the Kangaroo Island community with a disability or mobility issues can access the facility.

Improvements planned include two disability car parks and a ramp, once funding is secured.

President Chris Turner said Parndana Bowling Club was a 100 per cent volunteer-run organisation. The clubrooms were built in 1974.

"Most Parndana's residents are elderly members of the bowling club or are regular users of the facility," he said.

"Unfortunately, members of our club and our community, who use wheelchairs or have mobility issues are unable to attend community events, bowling competitions and celebrations because the current configuration of the clubhouse is not compliant with Australian Disability Discrimination Act standards."

Parndana resident Anthony Freebairn is very supportive of the project, because the lack of disability access to the clubrooms has made it difficult for him to participate in events and activities.

"Recently, I've been invited to attend functions held at the Parndana Bowling Club," Mr Freebairn said.

"As a person who uses a wheelchair, I've found access to the clubhouse difficult and, at times, inaccessible."

Mr Turner said about 480 people from across Kangaroo Island used the bowling green regularly.

In addition, the greens were used for events and tournaments, such as a four-day carnival and inter-club championships involving 150 to 200 people, he said.

For Phase 1 of the Disability Accessibility Project, the Parndana Bowling Club is seeking grant funding to implement:

  • two disability car parks situated near the entrance of the facility
  • a ramp for wheelchair access to the clubhouse
  • a new gate that a person in a wheelchair or walking frame can use to access the facility

Mayor Michael Pengilly welcomed the plan and improvements.

"The clubroom is a space for social gatherings, critical for social wellbeing," Mr Pengilly said.

"On behalf of the Kangaroo Island Council, I commend the Parndana Bowling Club for their efforts to make their facility accessible to all members of our community."