By Mike Anderson
With membership returning to pre-pandemic levels and building and equipment upgrades completed, thanks mainly to Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) grants, the Sutton Curling Club is rebounding nicely from COVID.
“We’re really happy that our membership is back up from COVID and things are going well,” said Steve Dover, President of the Sutton Curling Club.
“Our ice is really good. And we just had our Christmas bonspiel, which was sold out.”
Dover is particularly grateful for the OTF grants the club has received.
While past grants helped to repair the building’s roof, Dover says the most recent $10,400 grant allowed the club to purchase medical-grade HEPA air filters for the lounge and change rooms.
There’s also a $55,000 OTF grant to replace the building’s humidifier and heater.
Dover says the new air purification equipment should encourage more people to join the club.
“The filters will help address people’s concerns about air quality,” he said.
“This grant enables us to provide a safe environment for our members to participate in the sport they love.”
Dover says the grants have been a lifesaver.
“There are clubs that are folding because they don’t have the funds or the members,” he said.
“We’re a non-profit. Membership is around 200 and change. We have a lot of expenses to run the club. We also have equipment that’s getting old and has to be replaced.”
According to Dover, the grants have allowed the club to make upgrades without raising fees.
“We try to make it reasonable. I play four or five times a week and pay $500 for the year. Playing four or five times a week works out to less than $10 a time. What can you do for $10?”
According to Curling Canada, there are more than 1.4 million active curlers in Canada.
The sport is also growing as community curling clubs promote inclusivity and build a more diverse membership base.
“Curling gives you something to look forward to in the winter months. So you’re not sitting at home watching TV,” Dover said.
“People don’t think it’s a physical sport. But if you’re sweeping up and down the ice, you feel like you’ve had a workout.”
Curling has also adapted to accommodate people with limited flexibility or mobility issues.
Stick curling removes the need to kneel on the ice to throw a curling rock.
This means people of all ages, particularly those with bad knees, hips and backs, can participate equally on the ice.
The club recently held its Try Curling For Free session on January 7, which attracted more than a dozen people.
It also offers several Learn to Curl clinics.
“We’re a welcoming club. We’re always looking for new members,” Dover said.
“We’re still taking people on if they want to get in. So if they want to try it, there’s still an opportunity.”
The curling season runs from October to April, with 2nd Half Registration ending on January 14. To register, email Diane Jones at email@example.com.
For more information, visit www.suttoncurlingclub.ca.
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