A COMMUNITY bowls club is calling for improved security to protect its facilities from vandals.

Consett Park Bowling Club, at Blackhill, which sits in the middle of a Victorian park, continues to be targeted by young people from the surrounding area.

The roof of the club’s pavilion has been damaged by people climbing on it and now leaks.

The problem is so bad the club has had to close its disabled toilets.

Members are now calling on Durham County Council, which owns the pavilion, to repair the roof and fence off the green to protect it from intruders.

David Storey, secretary of the Veterans of Consett Park Bowling Club said: “The pavilion is getting damp in there, and it is starting to cause damage to the clubhouse. Something needs to be done.”

The club, which was opened in 1923, is also looking for new people take up the sport to secure its future.

As part of a two-pronged approach to combat the anti-social behaviour, it is also encouraging young people to come along to try the game so they learn to respect the facilities.

Mr Storey said: “We are thinking of getting floodlights because the kids come down on their bikes and are skidding all over the green.

“There was even a guy playing golf, digging holes and using it as a putting green.

“It is disgraceful but it is because the council won’t fence it off.”

The club is holding free sessions for people of all ages to give the sport a try every Sunday, from 2pm, with refreshments available.

The club also has a function room with a licensed bar and kitchen facilities available to hire for social events.

Paul Burr, Durham County Council’s buildings and facilities maintenance manager, said: “We have not been made aware of any recent anti-social behaviour at this site or of any other issues but we are very happy to speak to the bowls club about its concerns and see if there are any ways we can help.”

The club has recently bought new indoor carpet bowls facilities, so can members can still play when the weather is bad, using a £500 grant from Project Genesis.

Chairman John O’Connor presented the club with a cheque from the organisation’s community fund on Wednesday.

Mr O’Connor said: “Part of Project Genesis’s reason to be is to recycle the money made from the regeneration to the former steelworks site and that is what this is all about.”