Volleyball, darts clubs have new hub

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Southland Darts Association president Stephen Padget, Volleyball Southland chairwoman Donna Milne and Invercargill City Council interim parks manager Michelle Fry at the former Southland Bowling Club in Forth St, Invercargill, which will house the newly-established Otepuni Community hub.

FORMER bowling club is set to become home to darts, volleyball and a place for the community to enjoy.

Southland Volleyball chairwoman Donna Milne would see her dream of creating a beach volleyball hub come to fruition.

When the Southland Bowling Club wound up in early 2020, Milne collaborated with the Southland Darts Association to join forces to write an expression of interest for what had now become the Otepuni Community Hub on Forth St, Invercargill.

Southland Darts president Stephen Padget said the cost of maintaining an independent facility was becoming increasingly difficult after running it independently for many years.

“To come together as partners with Volleyball Southland is a great thing for us, we’re really pleased. They have already helped us find funding we would have not received in the past, and we are knowledge sharing between the two sports. Now a home together will benefit both of us.”

Padget said the bowling club building was in good condition, well-suited for dart’s needs and big enough to cater for the nearly 60 members who played weekly out of a 100-strong membership.

β€œIt’s a perfect fit for us at the moment.’’

The exterior would undergo a transformation from bowling green to beach volleyball courts when Volleyball Southland hosted the 2020 South Island Junior Indoor and Beach Volleyball Championships at the end of November.

It would also host the Southland Open and Grand Prix, where they hoped to have 16 of New Zealand’s top beach volleyball athletes in Invercargill.

All indoor games would be played at ILT Stadium Southland, and all beach volleyball games would be played at the new Otepuni Community Hub.

Milne said they were expecting more than 2000 people to attend throughout the week for the South Island junior champs plus beach events.

Southland Volleyball would also run beach volleyball corporate and community competitions as well as coaching development programmes from the hub in the future.

“I am blown away by the Invercargill City Council, SIT [Southern Institute of Technology] and our fantastic local funders’ belief and potential investment into our vision for beach volleyball courts in the CBD, and having a community hub for people to play in, and take part in recreational activities,” Milne said.

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