Many of you are already aware that times are tough for community bingo halls. With people cutting back on their spending habits, these local businesses are feeling the pinch too, and since the introduction of the smoking ban back in 2007, times have been even harder, with visitor numbers dropping markedly.
This was certainly the case in Edinburgh, Scotland, according to a recent article we came across, and the residents of North Edinburgh lost their nearest club in West Granton many years ago. This was despite the fact that in its heyday, the hall was packed to capacity, with queues forming before sessions as players jostled to get the best seats.
Recently, however, a resident of the Muirhouse district, Jackie Brown, heard about an opportunity to reintroduce the game to her local area courtesy of an Inspiring Scotland programme called Link Up, who wanted to work with individuals and groups in the area. Jackie says that after the closure of the Granton club, bingo “has been sadly missed by many” and realised that they could benefit from the Link Up scheme.
Thanks to the programme and Muirhouse Millennium Community Centre, Jackie was able to make North Edinburgh’s dreams come true when the first bingo evening in years was held in late September 2012. Apparently, on the night, there were butterflies all round due to a tendency for local events not to attract much take-up. However, there was no need to fear after all as a group of 29 people turned up, all desperate to call a full house. During the interval, the players chatted and joked amongst themselves, saying what a fantastic event it was.
Due to the success of the trial evening, Jackie’s continuing to organise monthly sessions, and is hoping for even more people to walk through the Community Centre’s doors at the next event.
Here at BingoHideout, we love a happy-ever-after, and this lovely story just goes to show that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. We’re wondering whether any of our readers have tried to organise (or would like to get help in organising) similar events in their area? Perhaps you too have lost your local club, or are in danger of doing so, in which case, do you think residents should take more decisive action in helping keep bingo in their communities? Maybe you think that the Government, or other organisations and charities should help?