Longforgan BC Club Story

Next season is set to be an exciting one for Longforgan Bowling Club in District 6 who will celebrate their centenary in 2023. A registered Try Bowls Club and with their Bronze Bowls Mark accreditation in place, we spoke to Robin Gawn, President of the club to hear about the many improvements that the committee have been putting in place during the 2022 season. With many achievements already under their belt, Longforgan have more grand plans for Robin’s presidency and the clubs’ centennial celebrations…

A steep learning curve is how Robin explained his introduction to our sport, at the end of the 2021 season after only 2 months of bowling the club were looking for new committee members to help modernise and provide better structure to the club. Robin was elected as Vice President and subsequently work began on modernising all aspects of the club, from the building and the bowling green to the more hidden structures and functions that keep the club open.

“It’s been very busy, without a doubt! We had to start back to basics, you know getting ‘the boring stuff’ if you like out of the way before we could look ahead to other things. These were the most important things to the running of the club. In terms of our club governance, Bowls Scotland helped us put together a constitution and club rules. We had to introduce and set up health and safety, training, bank accounts really everything at the club… We did a lot of online information gathering on the (Bowls Scotland) website which was extremely useful that gave us the basis, if you like, of our constitution, rules and everything else that was required. We realised that if we could do all these things right, the good practice would be validated by the BowlsMark accreditation, so it all fell into place really.”

The club also submitted applications to the Perth and Kinross Council around their licensing and food hygiene practices, one of these applications featured in a press release from the local council which highlighted the clubs’ efforts to upgrade the club facilities and promoted their focus on including the community – unexpected, but positive publicity for the club.

“We’ve had to try and do as much as we can ourselves. And it’s paying off and becoming a tremendous success, for example with our food and catering, we now provide a limited menu on a Friday evening, and these are becoming hugely popular events. We have members and guests coming in regularly on Friday evenings now.

“One or two of the things we’ve been working on alongside the governance are the fabric of the building itself and the state of the green. Through local community contacts we had the electrics all certificated and updated, we’ve installed broadband – modernising in every way! One of our members Scott has been doing a brilliant job improving the bowling green itself which is a major step forward. We’ve had to replace equipment and Scott made a successful grant application for the National Lottery Fund for a new lawn mower.

“We’ve also obtained a new indoor bowling mat this season and throughout the winter the club hosts indoor bowls, pool, darts, and dominoes so our members are still connected by the club year-round when the green is closed. On the radar for 2023, we’re hoping to continue the improvements to the green. We’re also hoping to upgrade the kitchen and update the bar, these will allow us to continue to offer the space to community groups and build on those existing relationships we have.”

With their good governance basics ticked off and their Bronze accreditation achieved, Longforgan like many bowling clubs across Scotland wanted to focus on increasing their membership in 2022 and beyond and registered as a Try Bowls Club.

“With support from Stuart Bell (National Development Officer for the area) we held a Try Bowls Day and it was a huge success because on the day we had about 50 people there in total. A lot of it was family groups which was great. We haven’t had a junior section at the club for many years so one of our main priorities was to attract young bowlers, this was helped by a grant we received from ScotMid to purchase a set of junior bowls. Jim Cameron, who achieved his Level 1 coaching certificate this year was coaching ten to twelve kids every Sunday throughout the summer, and they’ve started playing games of bowls. So that has just been a major success and something that in 2023 we will absolutely have another Try Bowls Day and we also hope to link in with the local primary school too. It’s the future – you know we need the younger generation coming through the club. And if we can get families involved, it’s like a treadmill that if we can start it rolling it will keep generating each year thereafter. The mums and dads have started trying and they’re getting coaching as well, it’s just great. You can have from kids to granny and grandads, its outside its in the fresh air, they can play for as little or as long as they like. It’s fantastic!

“Longforgan village have a Gala Day so the bowling club are going to create a ‘mini green’ in the park on the Gala day next year and get kids and families involved that way. A further way to promote the club and promote bowling.”

Bowls Scotland are delighted to see a club so dedicated to improving their governance, facilities and introducing their local community to our ‘sport for all.’ We thank Robin for providing this update and wish him and all at Longforgan BC every success for their centenary year next season!

“It’s obviously a big thing for the club, we want to advertise this within the local community. In everything we do for our club members, we also share it on the community Facebook page to let people know what’s happening. An example of this is our upcoming Hogmanay party with a live band, and already after a few days we’ve sold 50 tickets! And it’s a way of bringing the community to the club and letting them see what we have to offer.”

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