Sports club crowdfunding for solar panels to combat looming energy bill rises – The Lincolnite

A bid has been submitted to Sport England for match-funding
With rising energy bills looming, a local sports club is crowdfunding for new solar panels to help safeguard its future as an essential part of the community.
Squash is a high-octane sport where the aim of the game is to play the ball off the wall and have it bounce twice before your opponent can reach it.
However, to residents in the Lincolnshire village of Metheringham, it is about much more than that. The local squash club serves as a community hub, a place to exercise but also a place to socialise and meet people – a chance to temporarily escape from the trials and tribulations of everyday life.
Metheringham Squash Club, on Fen Road. | Photo: Ellis Karran for The Lincolnite
Metheringham’s home of the high intensity sport known as squash. | Photo: Ellis Karran for The Lincolnite
Metheringham Squash Club has around 80 adult playing members and 30 juniors, it is among the best squash clubs in the county for Lincolnshire league performances, and it regularly lends a helping hand to the local community.
For instance: Last August, a thank you event was held at the club for Lincolnshire Co-op staff, showcasing gratitude for the key workers and their efforts throughout the pandemic.
It is so much more than just the squash, also serving as a great spot for the community. | Photo: Ellis Karran for The Lincolnite
The club birthed two-time Commonwealth Games medalist Mark Chaloner, a former world number 7 player. | Photo: Ellis Karran for The Lincolnite
The squash club also hosts events for the scouts, beavers and cubs, it is the primary organiser of the now annual Meg Beer Fest and offers regular coaching programmes for people of all squash abilities.
However, after all these showings of solidarity, it is now the club that needs assistance in the face of rising energy costs.
The committee members, all of which work tirelessly for the club on a voluntary basis, have submitted a bid to Sport England for match-funding of new solar panels – as the soaring cost of living continues to squeeze families, businesses and community clubs alike.
Metheringham Squash Club has set up a fundraiser (donate here) to try and reach a total of £5,000 funding in just eight weeks. If successful, Sport England will then look to match that funding and confirm the placement of solar panels on the roof of the club.
The members are now appealing for funds to help protect the future of the club. | Photo: Ellis Karran for The Lincolnite
“It’s all about safeguarding the club”, committee member Neil Reynolds told The Lincolnite. “It’s a bit of a fine balance with bills at the moment so if we are met with a hike in energy costs all of a sudden, we could face genuine trouble.”
Current electricity rates stand at around £375 a month for the club, and with energy companies announcing steep rises in bills, there are looming fears that a new bill at the end of their six month rate could spiral out of control.
Changing rooms were refurbished earlier this year as part of a revamp project for the club. | Photo: Ellis Karran for The Lincolnite
| Photo: Ellis Karran for The Lincolnite
A changing room refurbishment took place at the club earlier this year, and the view was to install the solar panels themselves, but with prices rising and purses tightening in the current climate, that had to be put on hold.
Garrie Darling, another committee member at the club, said: “This is even more of a necessity given the rising cost of living, we have to offset these hikes for the viability of the club.
“Solar panels tick all the boxes really, they are as good for the environment as they are financially. The club has a great social aspect and is here all year round for everybody to enjoy.”
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A positive conclusion to a horrendous ordeal
John Harding, Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin returning home after being released by Russian forces. | Photo: Cossackgundi via Instagram
Saudi Arabia has acted as a mediator to return five prisoners of war to the UK, including Newark-born Aiden Aslin, as part of an exchange between Ukraine and Russia.
A number of British nationals had been captured in Ukraine since the war broke out with Russia earlier this year, with two men in particular, 28-year-old Aiden Aslin and 48-year-old Shaun Pinner, making global headlines.
The pair were captured by Russian soldiers in the besieged port city of Mariupol back in April, before being paraded on Russian state television, appealing for their release as part of a prisoner exchange.
Aiden Aslin appearing on Russian state TV in April. | Photo: Twitter
Both men were held in detention and appeared in an internationally unrecognised court in the Donetsk People’s Republic – which itself is an unrecognised state held by pro-Russian rebels.
Aslin and Pinner, along with Moroccan national Saadun Brahim, were sentenced to death without the opportunity for witness evidence to be heard – a sentence they appealed.
Aiden Aslin (left), Shaun Pinner (middle) and Saadun Brahim (right) were told they would face the death penalty after being sentenced in an internationally unrecognised court in the Donetsk People’s Republic. | Photo: Telegram
The men were being tried as ‘mercenaries’ by the DPR soldiers, a claim which was often shut down by British politicians who insisted they be treated as prisoners of war – in line with the Geneva Convention.
Aslin, originally from Newark, first went to Ukraine in 2018 as a Marine and later became a citizen of the Eastern European nation with a fiancee living in the country.
Aiden Aslin when he was in Syria. | Photo: Facebook
After months of negotiations between nations to organise a safe release of the soldiers rather than see them killed as per the proxy court ruling, a solution has finally been found by the UK Foreign Office – allowing Aiden, Shaun and others to return home.
Details of how they were released have not been revealed, but it is believed that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, was involved in freeing the British nationals, as the Saudi foreign ministry confirmed on Wednesday that 10 prisoners of war had been released.
The news was welcomed by the British community and politicians alike, including Prime Minister Liz Truss and Aiden Aslin’s local MP, Newark’s Robert Jenrick.
Hugely welcome news that five British nationals held by Russian-backed proxies in eastern Ukraine are being safely returned, ending months of uncertainty and suffering for them and their families.
— Liz Truss (@trussliz) September 21, 2022

The Member of Parliament for Newark said: “I am delighted that my constituent, Aiden Aslin, and the other British prisoners of war held captive by the Russian authorities have finally been released and are on their way back to the UK.
“I am deeply grateful for the work undertaken by the Ukrainian government, the Saudi Crown Prince, Liz Truss, James Cleverly and the dedicated civil servants working in the FCDO Detainees team to bring their horrific ordeal to a close.
“Aiden’s return brings to an end months of agonising uncertainty for Aiden’s loving family in Newark who suffered every day of Aiden’s sham trial but never lost hope. As they are united as a family once more, they can finally be at peace.”
A protest was held in Nottingham calling for the release of Aiden Aslin and two other men that were sentenced to death in a Russia-affiliated proxy court. | Photo: BBC Local News Hub
Animals will be transferred to ‘reputable collections around the UK’
The zoo said the animals will be transferred to reputable collections around the UK. | Photo: The Jungle Zoo
The Jungle Zoo in Cleethorpes will close its doors for the final time next month saying “we have seen an enormous rise in general running costs and due to several factors it has become clear the zoo is no longer able to carry on”.
The business on Kings Road in Cleethorpes describes itself as an interactive zoo attraction “aiming to be the best small family zoo in the country”.
The Jungle Zoo will close on October 2 and all staff will remain employed and on site night and day as normal until the very last animal has left, the business said.
The animals will be transferred to “reputable collections around the UK, with only the best being chosen for each species and we are trying to keep them as local as possible so you can still visit your favourite characters,” it added.
The zoo announced the sad news of the closure on Facebook on Wednesday evening, which has already had over 1,400 reactions, more than 800 comments, and been shared over 500 times.
The Jungle Zoo said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers who have supported us over the years, you made us what we are and gave us plenty to smile about on a daily basis.
“We pride ourselves on being a friendly little zoo and we’ve made life long friends that have turned into our little ‘zoo family’ so from us. Thank you!”
The Jungle Zoo announced the news of its closure on Facebook.

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