Try Bowls Initiative Bridging Generations

May 27, 2020

As part of our Sport Focus on Lawn Bowls we take a look at Bowls Scotland’s Try Bowls initiative, helping Scotland’s 850 clubs bring the sport to a new audience and strengthen their links with their local communities.

Bowls Scotland’s international stars are a force to be reckoned with on the global stage with consistent podium finishes at World Championships and Commonwealth Games, but for the sport in Scotland their success is just the tip of the iceberg. With one of the highest levels of club membership of any sport in Scotland, the heart of the sport is the huge participation across all age groups and abilities, with many bowling clubs embedded in the life of the local town.

Created in 2016, Try Bowls is Bowls Scotland’s national campaign aimed at getting new people into bowls, creating stronger links with local communities and increasing membership in clubs. From fun activities that introduce young players to the basics, through to the full game there’s something for everyone.

Through a resource pack, advice and input from their development team, event promotion and access to equipment, Bowls Scotland supports clubs to hold Try Bowls events each year to introduce the sport to a new audience or reignite a love for the game in those who have played in the past. With the sport one that can be enjoyed by all ages, some events have even seen four generations of the same family take part – from children four years old up to great-granddad at 87.

The initiative has continued to go from strength to strength, with clubs reporting increased numbers attending their events and going on to join year on year. Lundin Bowling Club in East Fife has welcomed over 100 brand new bowlers to their club coaching sessions in the three years they have run Try Bowls events, including 47 in 2019 alone, while Nairn Bowling Club has seen interest grow from 22 attendees at their 2016 event to 122 in 2019.

The initiative has introduced hundreds of people to the sport with 1 in 5 people who attended a Try Bowls event in 2018 going on to join a club.

Rosslyn Bowling Club’s event was a huge success for the club, almost doubling their membership.

Head Coach Douglas Todman said: “Through holding the Try Bowls event we were able to attract 26 new bowlers, seven of which were juniors, and a further 14 new associate members. I’d highly recommend it, it was a really successful event, it got bowls out there into the town and there was a nice wee buzz around Rosslyn Bowling Club.”

While clubs’ Try Bowls plans for 2020 will be on hold for now due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is some good news for Scotland’s 56,000 playing members, with Lawn Bowls named as one of the outdoor sports able to make a return this week as lockdown restrictions are eased.

While a long way from a return to full operations, this will allow clubs who are able to adhere to social distancing and safety protocols to open their doors as a first step in the sport making a phased return and a welcome boost to the physical activity and mental well-being of members across the country.

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