Chair Statement - July 2020
Dear Clubs, Members and Partners,
I hope you are all well and enjoying getting back on the green with friends and family. It has been quite a journey over the last four months from being placed into lockdown at the end of March to some clubs welcoming members back on to the green two months later. Then into July and more clubs have opened their greens with people being able to travel to play or watch a game or two with friends; internal competitions are resuming; toilets have opened and clubs have been able to offer a drink to quench a bowler’s thirst whilst observing social distancing!
Looking back, we feared that our bowling season was over before it had started so whilst progress at times might have felt slow, we are gradually moving in the right direction. However, there is still work to do and my message remains to be patient, understanding and continue to work collectively to help our sport recover and start anew.
Of course, next week would have seen the 2020 National Championships played out at the National Centre for Bowling in Ayr. I am sure many of you will miss meeting up with old friends and making new ones too, but everyone’s health and wellbeing must be our number one priority for now. Instead this year, we will be hosting a Virtual National Championships on our social media pages all next week to help bring the event to life and share some of the best moments from the Championships over the last 10 years. We cannot wait to welcome you all back in 2021, but for now, just enjoy the memories which we hope will remind you of the power of our sport has to bring people together.
At Bowls Scotland we continue to listen to our clubs and provide regular and up to date guidance and support delivered by our dedicated staff. We were delighted to see our clubs participate in the social media webinars delivered by Darren and Ross, our marketing and communication duo. The session focussed on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and the positive impact that these free tools can have in developing your clubs. We will continue to deliver online workshops in the coming months on topics clubs identified in our COVID-19 club survey.
I highlighted in my last message how resourceful our clubs have been in securing funding or putting in place cost saving measures to help throughout this time. To date, 531 clubs have secured a total of £5.8 million from the Scottish Government’s Business Support Grant Scheme and the Third Sector Resilience Fund. In addition, we have awarded a total of £25,000 to support 31 clubs with rent, utilities, and green maintenance via the Bowls Scotland Club Crisis Fund. While this investment will help, we do know that some clubs will still be struggling, and we urge you to get in touch with Lawra, Daniel or Stuart, our National Development Officers, who are always here to help.
I hope you all managed to watch on YouTube our CEO, Alan McMillan, talk about how the Board and Staff are looking at how we work, what we do and why we do it as part of Project New Start. During lockdown we introduced a number of changes to allow us to support our clubs, including allocating our National Development Officers into three clearly defined District areas splits; the introduction of virtual webinars and meetings; a Club Crisis Fund and concise, regular and up to date club support guides.
We would like to continue to work more effectively and efficiently and we want to know from clubs, reflecting on the last four months, if you could do anything differently, what would it be? What changes would you keep from the phased return to the green, either from a club perspective or from how we have engaged as a governing body. Something to consider and ponder on for now, we will be in touch soon to explore this further. As always, our core values of collaboration, inclusivity, integrity, and clarity are extremely important to us, and we will continue to work to these as we plan for the future.
I am hugely excited by the launch of our Thank You Frontline Workers national campaign, giving thanks to our frontline workers for their dedication and perseverance during these difficult times. I would encourage all our clubs to sign up to the campaign and offer free membership to frontline workers and encourage more people to enjoy our wonderful game. Our National Development Officers are happy to support clubs develop creative ways to say thanks through small events on or off the green. If your club is already doing something to say thanks, please let us know and we can share with the wider bowling community.
My thanks as always, go to Bowls Scotland staff for demonstrating commitment, professionalism, humility, and kindness throughout this time. I am very grateful and proud of our team, thank you for all you do for our bowling community.
Be Kind, Stay Safe and Keep Positive.
Chair, Bowls Scotland