BowlsMark Gold Case Study: Freuchie BC
A huge congratulations to Freuchie Bowling Club in Fife, who are the first of our 816 member clubs throughout Scotland to have achieved their gold BowlsMark award.
BowlsMark is Bowls Scotland’s Club Accreditation Scheme which was first launched in 2019. The development programme aims to provide a nationally recognised standard that enables clubs to:
Develop safe, effective and welcoming environments, based on good practice
Improve participants experience through well trained coaches and volunteers
Encourage lifelong participation through sustainable development pathways
There are currently three different levels of BowlsMark, bronze, silver and gold which clubs can progress through and complete with the support of their National Development Officer for free. Achieving each level can assist clubs with membership growth and retention, obtaining external funding, and many other benefits.
To date, 38 clubs throughout Scotland have signed up to BowlsMark and Freuchie BC are the first club to boast achieving the gold award. A great achievement for the whole club and its members for completing the various steps on their journey.
We spoke to the Freuchie’s Secretary, Coral Gifford, to find out more about why the club signed up to BowlsMark. Read the full Q&A below…
Q1. Why did Freuchie BC sign up to BowlsMark?
A: “I became President in 2018 and at that time the club was struggling for members and any type of funding. I attended an event run by Fife Council where I noticed there was a Bowls Scotland stand. I spoke to Stuart Bell, who was our National Development Officer, and he explained the benefits of joining the BowlsMark process for our club and what we needed to do to attain the various levels of accreditation. I realised that Bowls Scotland were there to move our club forward and help us every step of the way.”
Q2. How has the development programme benefitted the club?
A: “I started the process for the club to get the bronze BowlsMark award and it was clear we were lacking in several areas. With the advice and guidance from Stuart we began to update many of the existing policies we had and create new ones for areas where we were lack. There was a plethora of templates on the Bowls Scotland website which was an enormous help for us for many of our projects. We used the templates to successfully secure funding towards an electronic score board thanks to the National Lottery and a new fitted kitchen thanks to Fife Council.
“Freuchie Bowling Club now has the governance required and clearly documented which will enable future Presidents and Committees to run the club effectively and with the knowledge that it follows all required procedures and has all relevant policies in place.”
Q3. Explain the process the club has went through to achieve gold accreditation?
A: “The whole process from bronze, silver and then gold takes a long time and a lot of dedication. To start we had to identify the specific areas where we were lacking for instance; do we have a Child Protection Officer? Do we have trained welfare protection qualified personnel? What policy documents did we need that we did not have etc.
“Once we had established what needed to be done, we arranged courses and got members qualified. Without the members willingness to do the courses to push the club forward it would have been very difficult but fortunately we had plenty of volunteers.
“Alan Hutchison, who is on the committee and a great asset to club, was an integral part of the policy writing process. Once we attained bronze, we realised that we were not far away from attaining silver and then ultimately the gold.”
Q4. What does it mean to become the first club in Scotland to achieve gold accreditation?
A: “After seeing the process through from start to finish and realising that we are the first club in Scotland out of 816 clubs, I can honestly say on behalf of all the members and myself as President we are extremely proud. When Alan McDonald, our new NDO, came to give us the award the buzz from all members and visitors was electric.
“Being the first club to get gold also gives us slightly more publicity with Bowls Scotland and the local press in Fife. It is always good to read positive and flattering comments about your own club which will hopefully encourage more new members in the future.”
Q5. What would your message be to encourage other clubs to sign up to Bowls Mark?
A:“The BowlsMark process may seem daunting, but it gives clubs who wish to enrol in it the peace of mind that they are compliant with all policies. Be it health and safety or equal opportunities and having all the qualified personnel for coaching and child welfare.
“If you want to attract new members including junior members, they need to know that they are joining a club that is dedicated to their welfare and enable them to learn the game of bowls in a safe, supportive and encouraging environment.”
Q6. How has the 2023 season been for the club? Do you have any future plans that are currently a focus point?
A: “The club has gone from strength to strength, and we’re hoping to recruit another 20 full members for the 2024 season. We will continue to run Try Bowls events to encourage more taster members.
“One of our highlights which we are extremely proud of is the new electronic score board which can also be used for advertising bringing revenue into the club. We are also proud to have David Stewart and Laura Duff playing for their respective Fife teams.
“Looking ahead, we are hoping to improve the edges of the green and update our natural banking’s to artificial banking’s pending funding. This would then allow us the possibility to host county games.”
Thank you to Coral for sharing an insight into Freuchie BC’s amazing journey over the last few years. Well done again to everyone involved at the club!
For more information on BowlsMark or to sign your club up, please visit: https://www.bowlsscotland.com/club-development/bowlsmark