Gallatown BC Club Story

Like many clubs around Scotland, Gallatown Bowling Club in Kirkcaldy, Fife, was hard-hit by the effects Covid has had on the past two bowling seasons. Adaptability such as systems to book rinks and log track and trace details allowed a more normal season in 2021, but the club are looking forward to less restrictions this year to help with plans to build their membership. Dawn Hunter, Gallatown’s Club Secretary and Treasurer, decided to spend her ‘down-time’ from the green productively and we got in touch to find out about the various online workshops she has attended over the past 2 years. From Green Maintenance and Basic Finance to Bowlsmark and Online Membership we ask Dawn about the courses she’s joined and how this support is now benefitting the club as we look ahead to the 2022 season.

One of the first courses Dawn attended during lockdown on behalf of Gallatown was an introduction to Bowls Scotland’s Online Club and Membership System “as a club we found it very useful, the course was great and it saves time in doing all your admin. For me, as secretary of the club it’s an easy system to work with; you can go online to check things out or change your info, a lot simpler than having to go and phone or email wait for a reply, the new system is instant and up to date. You can also pay your fees online and as in my role as treasurer it’s much easier than sending cheques and getting them signed - you can just do it, no hassle. I would recommend doing this course, it will benefit your club and save administrators valuable time.”

Gallatown’s committee have also been working to achieve the Bronze BowlsMark accreditation award, Covid has caused a delay in reaching all of the Bronze criteria, but plans are in place to meet the outstanding requirements during the 2022 season. Dawn attended a BowlsMark workshop run by Bowls Scotland’s development team to assist with the application. “…this course shows what paperwork and policies your club should have and will help future committee members to come. If Covid wasn’t around we would have got the award, we need to wait for our AGM to amend our constitution and for the season to start so we can arrange a Try Bowls event. Try Bowls should help clubs get new members and I personally think we need to get more younger people involved in bowls. I have been in contact with a few schools in our local area to ask if they would like to bring some kids to the club to try bowls and all of the schools have said yes. I have also done my child and wellbeing protection officer training and have my PVG for the club which will come in very useful when the schools come."

Improvements have been made at the club to prepare to welcome new members with funds from Covid grants being put towards renovating the clubhouse. Updates to the facilities include: new carpets, painting, new blinds, chairs and trophy cabinet… “Our main goal for the year ahead is to grow our membership with a community newsletter, try bowls and an open day as we lost almost half of our membership when Covid hit.”

External improvements are also planned with painting, replacing fences and green edges these will make sure the club looks appealing to newcomers, visiting clubs and returning members. “Our club looks forward to welcoming visiting clubs for friendlies again as last year we only had a few as all others cancelled. Improvements made to the tea and coffee kitchen will help with the catering for these friendlies. In the past 2 years we have managed to do some internal competitions within the guidelines so looking forward hopefully we can get back to holding all our internal competitions again. We will look to grow our membership with a try bowls event and our first newsletter that we plan to hand deliver, with the help of my grandkids, to let the community know we’re here and all the activities that we do at our club.”

“2022 will be my 6th year as a member of Gallatown BC, my 5th year as secretary and 3rd as treasurer. In my 6 years at Gallatown I have seen some great things from our wee club. We welcomed Fife Deaf Club to use our clubhouse when their base was closed down and with that we now have over 10 deaf full members and I am trying hard to learn sign language. When I took over from the past treasurer I didn’t think the club would survive another year with its finances the way they were but we have come out the other side with a more sustainable club for our future membership. With this coming year we’ll hopefully achieve our Bronze BowlsMark and then aim for the Silver award the following year. All clubs need to grow with the times so in another 50 years’ time bowling clubs will still be around - thanks to our members help over the years, our club has survived since 1885.”

Dawn’s dedication and passion for the club is evident and like many club volunteers she covers many roles and responsibilities, the variety of online courses she has attended to help the club reflect this. The club hope to send a few members on coaching courses during 2022. Dawn plans to keep up her personal development by continuing to attend courses on offer: “The online forums were great as you got an overview how other clubs are doing and you can get some great ideas on how to improve some aspects at your club too. I love these forums will attend again.”

Bowls Scotland’s new Annual Calendar is a great place to start if you have been encouraged to look for courses after reading Dawn’s story.

Thanks to Dawn for sharing her story, we are looking forward to hearing more from Gallatown BC this season and wish them all the best for 2022.

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