Chair Statement - July 2021
Dear Clubs, Members and Partners,
I hope you are all safe, well and enjoying the sunshine. I have really enjoyed seeing all the Return to the Green stories, with clubs sharing their extraordinary experiences so far this season. The positive effect bowling has on people really comes through in these social media stories as well as how local leaders within clubs continue to think outside the box to further develop our sport. Whether it is encouraging more females into bowls, ensuring clubs are inclusive and accessible to people with a disability, or thinking about being more sustainable and environmentally friendly. I am immensely proud of our clubs for continuing to show resourcefulness, creativity and forward thinking to ensure bowling continues to thrive in communities across Scotland.
I mentioned in my last statement how delighted I was to see the launch of our Coach Education calendar after a hiatus due to COVID restrictions. Our courses have been very popular and congratulations to everyone who has successfully achieved their qualifications, I wish you well on your coaching journey. If you are a coach or thinking about coaching, I would encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities available and get in touch with Adam, our Coach and Volunteer Manager.
Our team of National Development Officers continue to provide support to our clubs on areas such as COVID guidance, Try Bowls, district forums, workshops and general club development support. Please continue to engage with Stuart, Daniel and Lawra, they have a wealth of knowledge and experience coupled with enthusiasm and love for our wonderful game.
We launched our National Volunteer Awards as part of Volunteer Week in May, and I am delighted to say we have had 33 nominations so far. Our panel, comprising of Bowls Scotland staff and board members as well as Bowls Scotland’ Presidents, Margaret and John, will shortlist the winners. This is another opportunity to celebrate and recognise the commitment our volunteers make to our sport, both locally and nationally.
The third round of our Club Crisis Fund grants saw £8750 awarded to clubs most in need of assistance. This funding aims to support our clubs who are in severe financial difficulty and unable to access the Government grants available via rateable values. Over the three cohorts, 40 clubs have accessed the crisis fund and I hope that this goes some way to help reduce the impact COVID has had on club finances.
We are always looking at new ways we can be more modern and efficient with our service to clubs and members. With over half of our clubs returning annual affiliation documentation either electronically or via our Online Club and Membership System, we will continue to look at ways of making our online system user friendly and clear and simple for our clubs to use. Keep an eye out for more information on how your club can utilise the online membership system in preparation for capitation next year.
Our planning for next year is already underway, with a focus on increasing members, the continuation and further development of our services and support to clubs as well as the return of our competitive schedule. Thank you to all our clubs who returned this year and whilst we saw an overall decrease in membership of 7.8%, we are confident that by working collectively we can bring this back to pre-COVID levels.
As always, I am proud of our collective response to the challenging circumstances we have faced and continue to face. Our board, staff, Presidents, Vice Presidents, and District Co-Ordinators continue to work in partnership and in line with our values of collaboration; inclusivity; integrity and clarity – ensuring clubs continue to be at the heart of everything we do.
Be Kind, Keep Connected, Stay Active.
Chair, Bowls Scotland