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An Ilford bowling alley has been taken over by a national chain that has already set about a refurbishment to attract more customers.

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1st Bowl, which has 35 bowling centres in England, bought Bollywood Bowling in Clements Road seven weeks ago as it was threatened with closure, according to new general manager Kul Singh.

The company has since added a bar to the bowling alley, which has nine lanes, and introduced more amusement games.

1st Bowl is the second largest bowling operator in the UK, said Mr Singh.

He added: “It [Bollywood Bowling] was going under.

“We have done the same with other bowling centres, we have kept them open.

“We have moved the reception, we’ve made it a more open space.

“We’ve put in a lot more amusements.”

With multichannel television, the internet and tablet computers keeping people occupied and countless options for leisure time from the cinema to the pub, ten-pin bowling as a pursuit has much to contend with.

But Mr Singh said a visit offers “something for everyone”.

He said: “Children who are six months old can play on little amusement games and a 60-year-old can throw a ball down the lane.”

The centre will now be known as 1st Bowl, while a bar and nightclub on the premises, previously known as the CO2 club, will become 1st Event.

The company has also taken over a 120-seater function room, which it will offer for private hire and conferences.

Mr Singh said Bollywood Bowling had struggled like many businesses in the current economic climate and said some people thought it was only aimed at Asian people.

He added: “1st Bowl is a little bit more inviting.

“Every business is in a struggle but we have a better work ethic than most.”

The business has also been quick to offer free discos at the nightclub to disabled people through the Uniting Friends project in Beehive Lane, Redbridge, and will offer discounted rates to disabled groups.

A new menu will also be introduced this month.

For more information, visit www.1stbowl.com/ilford.

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