Scoonie bounces back

Scoonie Bowling Club - Leven - Fife - 'Brian Christie, Nicky Munro, Mary Parry, Lian Hudson and Andrew Mann -'credit - FPA -
Scoonie Bowling Club - Leven - Fife - 'Brian Christie, Nicky Munro, Mary Parry, Lian Hudson and Andrew Mann -'credit - FPA -
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Three years ago, Scoonie Bowling Club shut up shop.

After nearly 90 years, member numbers had dropped to their lowest point, and the decision was taken to close the club for good.

But that was just the beginning of the story for Mary Parry and her dedicated bunch of volunteers.

Desperate not to lose the Scoonie Crescent base as a community space in Leven, MyBus - the local community transport system which Mary manages - set up a public 
consultation which asked locals what they would like to see were it to take over the lease of the town centre 
building.

Alongside the retention 
of bowling were requests for social events and a lunch 
club for Leven’s elderly residents.

Fast forward to 2015, 
and the team now caters for between 15 and 35 people - from West Wemyss to Largo - every day, five days per 
week.

The service is provided by Mary and approximately 20 volunteers, who range in age from just 18 to 87.

Mary is delighted with how successful the venture has been.

“I just smile when I’m doing it because it’s fantastic - there aren’t any other words to describe it. You get to see the big change in the members and the volunteers too - I couldn’t do it without the volunteers.”

One such volunteer is 22-year-old Andrew Ward from Leven, who first experienced Scoonie while on a work placement. He loved it so much he returned and has been helping out for over three years.

“Its really good to see all of the older people coming along and having a good time, that’s why I enjoy it.”

Mary explained that throughout the week, some people will come every day, while some might only come one day out of five.

“It’s called a lunch club, but it isn’t really that, it’s more of a friendship club. Apart from bingo, we don’t really have to organise any activities because they all get along so well and just enjoy the company. We started off with a small group of people and the service has developed and evolved into what the members wanted.”

She continued: “We work with social work departments and the day hospital at Randolph Wemyss and local GPs who will refer people to us. Usually these people are socially isolated and need that extra bit of company. It’s intervention really, because social isolation can lead to illness through depression and things like that, and when they come here, although we can’t provide personal care, we can keep an eye on them and report any concerns.”

Since taking over the building in 2012, the team has completely refurbished the inside and out, installing a new accesible ramp to the bowling green - which they maintain themselves - a disabled toilet and an updated kitchen.

They provide training in things like mini bus driving through MyBus, hospitality and greenkeeping, and provide placements for students such as 19-year-old Graham, who is blind but is given the opportunity to help out every week with the support of a carer.

As well as the daily lunch club, Scoonie is also available in the evenings, with many weekly bookings already 
in place such as the Tuesday Club for adults with additional support needs, a Bible study group and the fellowship group, and a new booking due to start at the end of the month.

“Scoonie is available to everyone to use,” said Mary. “It’s been used for things like fundraisers and kids parties, so anyone can look at using the space if it’s available at the time.”

Anyone who wishes to enquire about a place at the lunch club or use of the building is encouraged to call 01333 429066.

Mary is also keen to hear from anyone who might be willing to sit on the committee.