Ballivor bingo volunteers (from left), Melanie Drake, Marian Hoey, Kathleen Faulkner and Kathleen Feeney.

Ballivor in need of a full house at bingo!

Future of centre in jeopardy as numbers drop

There has been a major drop off in the numbers attending bingo in Ballivor each week, putting the future of the local community centre in jeopardy.

The Ballivor Community Council is urging people to return to bingo to enjoy a fun night out and to help the local community.

“Our bingo is finally back up and running,” says Melanie Drake, former chair of the community council and member of the bingo group.

“Our numbers are down to around 90 people or so every Saturday evening. This means we are running at a continual loss.

“There was a time when we had around 170 people coming to bingo here. Even before Covid, the numbers had dropped off to around 120/130, but now the numbers are down to about 90.

“This is the bread and butter of our community in so many ways and it keeps the community centre up and running.

“We've even put on a small extension to the back of the community centre, all paid for by bingo funds.”

Melanie explains that the bingo has been running for the past 52 years.

The community centre was opened in the mid '70s and is host to the local scouts, Irish dancing, bowls and bingo and there are a lot of local community group and organisations that use it regularly.

“We had to close during the pandemic, but we took good care of it. We had to keep heat on to protect the wooden floor," Melanie explains.

“We also built a small extension during the pandemic.”

"We have buses running from Mullingar, and Delvin, with Smyth Bus Hire, and from Athboy with James B. Halpin Coach & Minibus Hire, proving a vital service for our Bingo community on a Saturday evening," Melanie explains.

"Our prices hadn't changed for twenty or so years, but we found this year, we had to increase our four-panel book, and the six-panel book to €5, and €7, respectively, however, our 10-panel book remains at €10. A set of sheets are €5, and that covers the jackpot, and quickie sheet for both games.

"Unfortunately, in May, we suspended our Jackpot of €1,500, as we couldn't afford to maintain a jackpot, until our numbers return to a full house! Hopefully now our numbers will increase and we can restore the jackpot to where it should be!