Kettle BC Club Story

In 2018 Kettle Bowling Club in District 7 nearly faced closure due to struggling membership. We spoke to Jenny Murphy, Match Secretary at the club to find out more about how registering as a Try Bowls Club this 2022 season has helped create new connections amongst the local community and improve membership.

Read our Q&A with Jenny to find out about the support Kettle BC received on their Try Bowls journey as well as the secrets to their successful family fun day…

Q – Why did Kettle Bowling Club signed up for Try Bowls?

A- "We signed up for Try Bowls to increase our membership. In 2018 there were 12 members and very few of them still able to participate in Bowling, Kettle Bowling Club nearly closed its doors. Thankfully 6 couples decided to join the club in an attempt to keep the club going as it had been part of the Kettle community since 1894. Despite inexperienced leadership to run a bowling club and promote growth, since July 2018 the club has gone from strength to strength with an increase in membership both Bowling and Social. Very few of the new members were from the local community so a Try Bowls event seemed the ideal way to encourage local community engagement."

As part of the registration process for Try Bowls, clubs can choose to reach out to their National Development Officer (NDO) for support and guidance on holding membership recruitment events. Stuart Bell, NDO for Districts 1-10 helped with the planning and set up of Kettle’s first Try Bowls event.

"With support and advice from our local Bowls Scotland National Development Officer, Stuart Bell we held a planning meeting with club members willing to support the day. The event was called our “Try Bowls family Fun day” and was a great success. We advertised the event through our Facebook page and Kettle Village Life page. We had posters displayed in the local parks and notice boards, flyers to the homes in Kettle and surrounding villages, as well as large eye-catching signs on both entry and exit to the village and at the school gates.

"We applied to the council for funding and received £300 through Small Sparks Fund so the day cost us nothing but time. Thankfully the weather was nice! The green was set up with games and activities, using brightly coloured cones to attract attention. The grounds and the club were decorated with colourful bunting. We had a barbeque set up with burgers and hotdogs for sale.  Inside the club the carpets bowls were set up to allow Try Carpet Bowls encouraging winter participation. The kids who attended and tried bowls were given a token which they exchanged for a gift bag with goodies inside and a balloon on a stick. We offered free membership to Children under 16yrs and half price to any adult who signed up on the day. Also, weekly bowling coaching was offered to every child who was a member."

Q- Who from the club was involved in organising the event?

A- "The Try Bowls event was led by our match secretary and the club committee. Members of the club were asked to support the day with different roles being allocated. 7 adults were supporting the Try Bowls on the green 2 adults supporting carpet bowls. A meet and greet representative and the president available to anyone for questions as well as 8 others for kitchen/bar/BBQ and general tasks."

With a structured plan in place and dedicated volunteers committed to helping the event run smoothly, we asked how many people attended on the day and whether any new members came of it?

A- "On the day we had a great attendance: over 50 adults and 20 kids across approximately 3 hours of activity. 12 new Full members, 7 Kids and 4 social members signed up on the day. Within 2 weeks of the Try bowls day we had a further 8 full members, 9 kids and 4 social members and the numbers are still growing."

Following their highly successful Try Bowls event the club began weekly kid’s classes in mid-August, offering coaching to their new junior members. These classes have been well attended and will be moved inside to play on carpet bowls to keep participation up over the winter months. The club make use of their junior bowls, equipment and cones to make entry to the sport easy and accessible for all. Jenny told us more about why Kettle BC started these sessions and the benefits they are bringing to the club…

"We started the classes for three main reasons:

  • To encourage local community inclusion

  • To encourage young people to play bowls

  • To increase club membership with child & parent participation

"The kid’s classes commenced on 17th August on a weekly basis for an hour. We now have 19 children registered with the class. 3 coaches support the classes, and we request that the parent/carers must be in attendance at all times. Some parents have taken the opportunity to play lawn bowls themselves which has been supported by other club members.

"I have started a star reward system for good effort, behaviour and achievements. The age range is 3 years – 14 year old. They all appear to really enjoy themselves and have a break for 10 minutes to get something from the tuck shop we set up at the start of the classes.

"The classes have generated more social and bowling membership as well as an income over the bar, for soft drinks etc. Kids have been telling their friends at school the fun they are having and as a result more children and parents have joined, this has aided getting our clubs’ name and reputation out to the local community. We’ve also seen an increase in attendance of the clubs’ social events by members of the local community this season which is helping bring increased financial income to the club."

A success story from a club who has taken advantage of the support available through our Try Bowls programme and celebrated an increase in membership this season thanks to the hard work and dedication of it’s volunteers. We look forward to hearing more from Kettle BC as they continue to build and strengthen bonds with their local community and introduce more people to our wonderful ‘sport for all!’

Kettle BC are one of 255 Try Bowls Clubs across Scotland. If you’re club needs support with attracting new members into the club, and wants to benefit from resources, templates and support, email or click here.  If you’re interested in trying bowls for the first time our Club Finder Map is a great place to start, pop in your postcode to find your local club. Our open and inclusive Try Bowls Clubs are all marked with a purple pin.

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