Here on this page and up until recently, we had a petition running asking for your moral support by signing the petition so that we could take it to our local politicians and banks to put pressure on them to help us secure Coronavirus related funding and to speed up the process.
First of all, we would like to thank all those families, customers, league bowlers, schools, charities, suppliers and people in the local community for your fantastic support. Especially the thousands of you that – in a matter of days – have signed our petition “Appeal For Urgent Action” and supported us on Facebook, Instagram, etc. AND, needless to say, a special thanks to our fantastic staff in these very uncertain times.
You haven’t signed our petition? You can do so here, and don’t worry, we are not asking for donations, just your moral support.
Whilst the past couple of weeks have been extremely hectic having been instructed by the Government to close our doors to the public on 20 March, we are now just waiting for our bank, NatWest, to respond to our request for a Government backed “Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme” loan (“CBILS”), but we are also approaching other non-Government controlled banks.
Everyone knows this is a major national emergency and that the situation is not going to get better anytime soon. The number of infected people and the number of deaths keep going up, which is both terrible and tragic. However, less covered by the press is the thousands of businesses going under each week and, as a result, the huge number of people losing their jobs and not being able to pay their bills, mortgages, etc.
To help businesses across the country, the Government put the very generous Government backed “Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme” (“CBILS”) in place with funds being made available immediately through most banks as of 23 March to save business like ours affected by the Coronavirus. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like our high-street banks have got the message yet…
And this is really bad news.
Forget GObowling, this is a much bigger problem for our country as a whole.
Go to any of the major banks’ websites and you really have to look out for any CBILS support offered by them. The big banks seem like they trying their best to avoid this scheme.
In a newspaper article on Friday, 3 April (2 working weeks after the Government’s generous CBILS was put in place, The Telegraph newspaper reported that “The BBB [British Business Bank – owned by the Government] did not report any loans made by Lloyds, Santander, Barclays or NatWest owner Royal Bank of Scotland…” AND “…BBB figures, which also suggest that fewer than 1,000 businesses have benefitted out of 130,000 expressions of interest…”. Needless to say, these numbers demonstrate an appalling response from the banks.
GObowling has been banking with NatWest (n.b.not the local branch) for 18 years. For the past 10 years, GObowling has not had any outstanding loans or overdrafts with NatWest or any other bank. After GObowling was instructed by the Government to close its doors to the public on 20 March, we applied to NatWest for a Government backed CBILS emergency loan in order to stay alive as a business, to look after our staff and – in the longer-term – continue to look after and provide a service to our customers and the local community.
If we don’t get access to such a CBILS loan soon GObowling will have to close its doors permanently – just like many other businesses in our community and nationwide.
We are critical of the banks’ slow response to providing the promised CBILS loans, not the Government itself. In fact, our local Member of Parliament for South West Bedfordshire, Andrew Selous www.andrewselous.org.uk has been very quick to respond to our call for support and has been most helpful.
Whilst this is an update for GObowling, it is important to stress that our business is far from alone being in this situation. Unless the banks get a move-on and do their bit for the country and quickly, so many companies will needlessly go under and many more people will lose their jobs.
We really appreciate all the support from the local community who has been very quick to sign our petition to keep GObowling going.
We were especially happy to receive this wonderful letter from one of our younger bowlers, Riley (7), who let us know how he felt – It brought tears to our eyes! Thanks Riley (and family).
We can’t wait until we are all bowling together again soon.
As a local centre within the community, we have had the privilege of interacting with a fantastic broad range of the local public, from young to old, families, groups going out for an evening’s fun, our league bowlers, our daytime Primtimers and all the charities and groups supporting people with disabilities and special needs that we work with. Our thoughts are with all our lovely patrons and – again – we hope you are keeping well while staying at home.
We really miss you all!
And lastly, thank you to everyone who is helping our local community in so many different ways right now. It makes us proud to be part of such a caring country!
We eventually secured the funding thanks to all the over 1,000 people who signed our petition, the many thousands more that supported us on social media, and one person in particular – Andrew Selous – who really went out of his way to help us and supported GObowling throughout this process.
We expect to be allowed to re-open GObowling on 1 August. We are currently working hard behind the scenes to ensure that, when we do welcome you back, we do so to an even cleaner, even safer and even more secure environment than we offered you before. In the months prior to us being instructed to close our doors on 20 March, we had put a lot of effort and money into modernising our bowling centre, improve the facilities, bowling equipment, and our food and bar offerings. These efforts will continue during the summer behind closed doors. Our staff are also working hard on all the training they need to do. So all in all, come 1 August, we will be in an even better position to look after our valued customers and ensure you have a great time when we meet again. Nearer the time, please visit our website regularly to check on updates, opening hours, as well as see information on guidelines and systems that we have put in place to keep you safe.
*GObowling is normally very busy in the evenings, on weekends and during school holidays. Please call and book in advance – 01582 472727
** We reserve the right to close earlier than the posted times, as well as making changes to the opening hours on short notice. Please double check our opening hours before you visit.