BowlsMark Gold Case Study: Nairn BC

A huge well done to Nairn Bowling Club, who have recently become only the second club in Scotland to have achieved their gold BowlsMark accreditation.

BowlsMark is Bowls Scotland’s Club Accreditation Scheme which aims to provide a nationally recognised standard to enable clubs to develop safe, effective and welcoming environments for all. The programme will also improve participants experience through well trained coaches & volunteers at clubs and 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.

Stuart Bell, Bowls Scotland’s National Development Officer (North), has supported Nairn Bowling Club in their BowlsMark journey since the programme was first introduced in 2019. Speaking on the amazing work the club has carried out in such a short space of time, Stuart said: “Nairn Bowling Club understands its member’s needs, and what it offers and provides to the wider Nairn community.

“Both the membership and club trustees are fully committed to ensuring the long-term stability and growth of the club and have utilised the BowlsMark programme to assist the club in moving forward.

“A fantastic club with a clear identity, plans and the correct structure in place to take the club forward and always a pleasure for me to visit.”

We spoke to Nairn’s President, Bob Ferenth, to find out more about the clubs journey in recent years. Read the full Q&A below…

Q1. Why did Nairn BC sign up to BowlsMark?

A: “Nairn Bowling Club feel very passionate about the support that Bowls Scotland has provided us through various programmes over the years. We have just emerged through the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am sure that most bowls clubs would have found it very difficult to get through the pandemic without the fantastic support provided by Bowls Scotland and their National Development Officers. 

“Our members are also proud to be part of a club that has an accreditation from their parent association. This further helps with the growth of the club.

“We at Nairn Bowling Club have embraced all these additional advantages. I would very much recommend that all clubs achieve the bronze foundation accreditation and reap the benefits that it attracts. It really does make a difference.”

Q2. How has the development programme benefitted the club?

A: “We adopted the programme when it was first released and found that we only had a few items to update to achieve bronze. Since then, we have progressed to silver and now gold or the hotel equivalent of five stars. On top of the advantages highlighted by Bowls Scotland there are others that are not so obvious, such as:

  • Grant Applications - your BowlsMark accreditation will help support your application. The potential funding organisation will have an external reference of the ‘quality’ of your club and its structure. 
  • Marketing - we are all looking to attract new members to our clubs. If you are planning to join a club and there are several in your local area, perhaps the BowlsMark quality accreditation will steer them to the club with the highest rating.
  • Sponsorship - sponsors like to attach themselves to a quality and a successful ‘brand’. BowlsMark will help persuade sponsors to come onboard.”

Q3. What would your message be to encourage other clubs to sign up to BowlsMark?

A: “BowlsMark provides clubs the opportunity and guidance to update all their processes, policies and procedures to ensure that they are compliant and relevant to today's society. This is a foundation for all active clubs, and we see bronze as a ‘must have’. The various levels of BowlsMark helps clubs focus on the future and what's required to grow the club, both competitively and socially.

“The programme is also a reference of ‘quality’ and the range of programmes that clubs offer to its current and future memberships. When you book a hotel, you look for its star rating. BowlsMark is a bowling clubs star rating.”

Q4. How has the 2023 season been for the club? Do you have any future plans that are currently a focus point?

A: “Our 2023 season has been another successful one as we are maintaining our year-on-year track record of attracting new members. This year we added another 15 members to our bowling family, including two juniors. We now have a membership of just under 100 and 90% of these are playing members.

“We have a rolling 5-year plan of development and improvement that includes the possibility of moving to a new location within the town and building a new facility to accommodate our growth and the challenges that it brings with it. Our overarching focus for the club is our people, creating new friendships and support mechanisms and ensuring everyone feels welcome and enjoys themselves. We are all about people!”

Thank you to Bob for sharing an insight into Nairn BC’s transformation over the last few years. Congratulations once again to everyone involved at the club!

For more information on BowlsMark or to sign your club up, please visit:

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