With rising energy bills looming, a local sports club is crowdfunding for new solar panels to help safeguard its future as an essential part of the community.
Squash is a high-octane sport where the aim of the game is to play the ball off the wall and have it bounce twice before your opponent can reach it.
However, to residents in the Lincolnshire village of Metheringham, it is about much more than that. The local squash club serves as a community hub, a place to exercise but also a place to socialise and meet people – a chance to temporarily escape from the trials and tribulations of everyday life.
Metheringham Squash Club has around 80 adult playing members and 30 juniors, it is among the best squash clubs in the county for Lincolnshire league performances, and it regularly lends a helping hand to the local community.
For instance: Last August, a thank you event was held at the club for Lincolnshire Co-op staff, showcasing gratitude for the key workers and their efforts throughout the pandemic.
The squash club also hosts events for the scouts, beavers and cubs, it is the primary organiser of the now annual Meg Beer Fest and offers regular coaching programmes for people of all squash abilities.
However, after all these showings of solidarity, it is now the club that needs assistance in the face of rising energy costs.
The committee members, all of which work tirelessly for the club on a voluntary basis, have submitted a bid to Sport England for match-funding of new solar panels – as the soaring cost of living continues to squeeze families, businesses and community clubs alike.
Metheringham Squash Club has set up a fundraiser (donate here) to try and reach a total of £5,000 funding in just eight weeks. If successful, Sport England will then look to match that funding and confirm the placement of solar panels on the roof of the club.
“It’s all about safeguarding the club”, committee member Neil Reynolds told The Lincolnite. “It’s a bit of a fine balance with bills at the moment so if we are met with a hike in energy costs all of a sudden, we could face genuine trouble.”
Current electricity rates stand at around £375 a month for the club, and with energy companies announcing steep rises in bills, there are looming fears that a new bill at the end of their six month rate could spiral out of control.
A changing room refurbishment took place at the club earlier this year, and the view was to install the solar panels themselves, but with prices rising and purses tightening in the current climate, that had to be put on hold.
Garrie Darling, another committee member at the club, said: “This is even more of a necessity given the rising cost of living, we have to offset these hikes for the viability of the club.
“Solar panels tick all the boxes really, they are as good for the environment as they are financially. The club has a great social aspect and is here all year round for everybody to enjoy.”