The pins tumbled last month as Andover’s ‘Bowling Goldies’ group returned to the towns to ten-pin bowling facility for the first time since March.

Bowling Goldies, created three years ago by Valley Leisure Ltd in association with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Older People’s Mental Health Team, enables older adults space to get together, socialise, meet new people, play cards and read the paper to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness.

From the outset the group had a keen desire to have a go at ten-pin bowling, some of them for the very first time . The group has gone from strength to strength with an average weekly attendance of 18 people.

Ahmet aged 81 years is a regular and joined the group three years ago after seeing a poster on a community notice board in Andover town centre.

Ahmet said: “My wife died over three years ago; the highlight of our week was doing the shopping. After she died, I had nothing to do and no-one to see. I saw the poster and thought the group might be a way for me to meet some new people.”

“Bowling Goldies has made such a difference to my life. I look forward to bowling each week as it is my only outing and breaks up my week. I have made new friends and now have a social life of my own. I find myself chatting to people in the street who I have met through the group. I would feel quite lonely without this group.”

Amy Hickey, team leader for sales and service at Riverside Bowl said: “I feel so proud to work with the Bowling Goldies group, they inspire me each week. I love seeing the difference the group makes for every person, their faces light up with the enjoyment of being together and doing something fun. They look as if they are living and this spreads out to the rest of their lives.”

Bowling Goldies takes place every Thursday morning from 11am to 1pm term-times only at Riverside Bowl. For more information, call 01264 568192 or visit