Bowls Mark Bronze Case Study: Laurieston BC
Bowls Scotland aims to work in partnership with clubs to ensure quality, inclusive and positive environments and experiences exist for those taking part as well as the wider community. Our club accreditation scheme, BowlsMark, provides a nationally recognised standard to support clubs to develop safe, effective, and welcoming environments, improve participants experience and encourage lifelong participation in sport. The process is supported by our National Development Officers (NDOs) as well as resources, templates and guidance.
We caught up with Peter Alexander of Laurieston BC who received their Bronze BowlsMark Accreditation in January 2023 to find out more about their experience and the benefits it has brought to the club.
Q) How did you find the BowlsMark process?
A) The process was straightforward and email, telephone and face-to-face communication with our National Development Officer, Stuart Bell was excellent.
Q) How has BowlsMark benefitted the club?
A) By including proof of our BowlsMark certification in funding applications, it demonstrates that we are a well-organised club with a proven track record of improving our clubhouse, green and facilities, not just for the benefit of members and visiting bowlers, but villagers and community groups for our local area.
Q) Would you encourage other clubs to sign up to BowlsMark and why?
A) I would encourage all clubs to sign up to BowlsMark, as it provides an opportunity for committees to take a step back and evaluate and improve the processes they have in place. Particularly in relation to their constitution, which very often goes unchanged for years, and may be in need of an update to take account of societal and sporting changes.
With a club tagline of “Lets Build Community” and to ensure a welcoming, safe and inclusive environment for the community, Laurieston have recently implemented a number of improvements to their clubhouse and grounds. A committee room has been converted into an accessible toilet which is due to be completed in time for the 2023 season opening of the green. There have also been ramps installed at both entrances to the clubhouse for step-free access. We asked Peter more about the work done and the funding process involved…
Q) Tell us about the facilities improvements that have been done recently to improve disability access at the club?
A) We received over £30,000 in funding from FCC Communities Foundation to convert our committee room into an accessible toilet and provide ramp access to our clubhouse and green.
Q) The club has also received funding for 2 bowling wheelchairs… tell us a little about the funding process and why is it important to you to promote bowls as a sport for all abilities?
A) Last year, a wheelchair user from FK1nclude (a support group for young LGBTI people) attended a bowling taster session. She used her own wheelchair, which was fine, but due to the thinness of the wheels, left track marks in the grass. This prompted me to source funds to purchase two bowling wheelchairs. I applied for a number of grants and was eventually successful in securing £1700 from NHS Forth Valley’s “Investing In Health Fund” with the club contributing match funding of £300 to purchase two Para-Handy Bowling Wheelchairs at a cost of £2000.
Q) Is there any other club news which you would like to share?
A) We are hopeful of securing just under £5000 in funding from Falkirk Council’s “Community Choices” fund to purchase several benches made from recycled plastic. And the Transport department of Falkirk Council have offered to donate reconditioned bus shelter for use as a smoking shelter. With regard to membership, this has more than doubled since the pandemic to 120 and rising. Great for our club and the game of bowls – but now we need to extend our locker room. More detective work on sourcing funds beckons!
Peter’s dedication to securing funding to both improve the clubs’ facilities to benefit both the members and community is inspiring, it is great to see that the structure provided by BowlsMark has helped with the application process for the many grants Laurieston have been successful in. We wish the club all the best for the season and are sure to see them progressing onto the next level of the BowlsMark ladder soon.
Reflecting on the clubs’ journey with BowlsMark, Alan McDonald, NDO for the East of Scotland said: “Laurieston BC is an excellent example of a club demonstrating real leadership and understanding the need to progress our traditional sport in today’s modern world, and using the BowlsMark process to facilitate this. Signing up to the BowlsMark programme allows clubs to access focussed support via the National Development Officers, a multitude of resources and templates as well as access to free workshops. BowlsMark can assist clubs to increase their community engagement, support membership growth and boost their chances of successful funding applications.”
To find out more about BowlsMark, contact your NDO or click here.