A new initiative that aims to help bowls clubs across England to develop, better sustain their current membership numbers and recruit new members in the sport has been launched.
The Club Development Programme has been created by the Bowls Development Alliance (BDA) as part of its four-year Delivery Plan funded by Sport England.
Every club that signs up to the programme will receive direct support from the BDA to create a Club Development Plan that will help the club not only to provide the best experience for its present members but support new recruitment initiatives to increase their current membership.
Susan Cooper, BDA Development Director, said: “The BDA was delighted to secure a further four years of funding from Sport England that will help to both sustain and grow the sport of bowls through to the 31st March 2021.
The Club Development Programme forms a key part of our overall Delivery Plan for this period. It is an invite only programme that has been created to directly support those clubs who are most in need of external support and have found it especially hard to maintain their membership levels and to recruit new members. We will continue to review the programme and more clubs will be invited to take part as we move forward.”
The BDA is working closely with Bowls England and the English Indoor Bowling Association Ltd to identify those clubs for whom participation in the programme will be of greatest benefit.
Tony Allcock MBE, Bowls England Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted that our clubs will benefit from this initiative. I am sure those clubs who do sign up to the programme will benefit from the specialist advice and support that will be available. We would encourage any clubs who are invited in future to take up this opportunity.”
Peter Thompson, EIBA Ltd Chief Executive, added: “The English Indoor Bowling Association Ltd is pleased that there is funding and support available to our Clubs who are wanting to maintain and ultimately increase their membership. The opportunity to utilise the services and experience of dedicated development staff is a huge boost for the growth of the sport.”
Clubs that have been selected to participate in Phase One of the programme are:
- Bilton Bowls Club (Warwickshire)
- Consett Park Bowls Club (Durham)
- Darlington and District Indoor Bowls Club (Durham)
- Entaco Bowls Club (Warwickshire)
- Horsham and District Indoor Bowls Club (Sussex)
- New Earswick and District Indoor Bowls Club (Yorkshire)
- Oxford University Press Bowls Club (Oxfordshire)
- Painswick Bowls Club (Gloucestershire)
- Riverside Indoor Bowls Club (Hampshire)
- Uxbridge Bowls Club (Middlesex)
Clubs for Phase One were identified using the following criteria:
- Clubs must be affiliated to either Bowls England or the English Indoor Bowling Association Ltd
- Clubs must not reside in a 2016 BDA Hotspot area
- Clubs must have the capacity for membership growth
- Clubs must have had significant membership percentage decline or gross membership loss over recent years
Clubs who take part in the programme will meet with a BDA Club Development Officer and agree as a partnership a Club Development Plan that will focus on the needs of the club. They will work to complete the actions within the Development Plan across an agreed time frame. Clubs will be supported throughout by the BDA and they will receive £500 to support actions identified within their Development Plan.