National Volunteer Award Profile - David Kelvin

The second winner from round 3 of our National Volunteer Awards goes to David Kelvin of Motherwell Miners Bowling Club. David is a District Youth Coordinator for Bowls Scotland’s District 18 and was nominated for his contribution to the local community, excellent leadership and commitment to introducing youngsters to our sport.

We spoke to David to find out more about his involvement in his club, a member since he was 13 he is keen to grow junior membership at the club to protect the future of the club…

“I first joined Motherwell Miners Bowling Club in 1999. I was only 13 years of age at the time. This was from a try bowls poster that was placed in my high school. So myself and a few others from school attended the opening day, the two coaches at that time, Jim Houston and John Kerr, gave us shoes and bowls and took us on the green. That’s when I fell in love with the game. This has always been my club and I never plan to move away.

"In 2014 I joined the club committee and then assisted with opening days, closing day and other club events. In 2015 I was vice president and in 2016 I was club president. A role I truly loved and would love to do again.

"I would say I am a very hands-on member and try to come up with new ways to make our club great. From 2016 up until last year we had very little junior members at the club, this is where I wanted to focus as bringing in new junior members ensures the future of our club. In 2020 we had planned to try new ideas like the try bowls day but lockdown hit us that year. I had set up a Facebook page to try and raise funds for the junior section. We played games, held Christmas raffles, and got a lot of support from small businesses in the community who gave donations, for which we were really grateful. We raised over £1000.

"Last year when the club opened back up, I made plans for Friday fun days during the school holidays where kids could come and try the game through fun new ways and we also had our official try bowls day for juniors and adults which was a huge success. We have kept the Facebook page going and are still playing games and our funds are still coming in which is great. We also on opening day played new games to raise funds for the junior section and had an auction again was a great success.

"We now have 17 junior members ranging from the age of 7 to 14 years old. We plan to have our fun days this year again every Friday and another official try bowls day.

"This year also I applied for the position of District Youth Co-Ordinator and was successful in that it will take me a minute to get on my feet, but I plan to help the clubs in my district grow just as we have."

David selflessly admits that the reward of seeing the club he loves so much grow is reward enough for his volunteering efforts. We asked if he had any favourite memories from the club and how the fundraising has been put to use by the club committee…

“Seeing these kids love the sport the same as all the members is great to see. I get a lot of support from the members and committee members who I couldn’t have done all the fun days and try bowls events without. I am very proud that all the hard work that we put in is paying off. 

“With the money we have raised we purchased new t-shirts for all the junior members. We also used some of the money for the fun days to provide food and juice for the kids, we also got them shoes to wear on the green and purchased the cones and mats for the games as well. With the money that we still have we plan to get them all their own towels and jackets. 

“My favourite memory would be the junior championship which we held at the club in 2021. We decided to hold a one-day event because of the amount of new junior members we brought in over that year, we wanted to make sure they had the support they needed rather than them playing ties between them all. Seeing our green full of junior members was great.

“Another fond memory will be opening day this year after I was presented with this Bowls Scotland award and the junior members also presented me with a medal each as a thank you!” 

David was nominated for the award by his wife and fellow club-member Christine, we asked her about why she submitted the nomination and why volunteers are so important to our sport. She said: I nominated David for the award because I truly believe he deserves to be recognised for all the hard work he has put in to our club over the past couple of years. From raising funds through Facebook to bringing in an incredible amount of junior members and some new adult members through fun days and try bowls days. He pours his heart and soul into this club. He doesn't give himself the credit he deserves and winning this award means so much to him. 

"He has given the club a feel of youth, before David started working towards bringing in more junior members we only had a couple of juniors and he has changed that. He has also arranged many days for the juniors to help support them well the learn to play the sport and the kids are loving it.

"Volunteers are massively important to help our bowling clubs grow, without them our clubs wouldn't be where they are today. Motherwell Miners BC are so grateful for David and his team, I think seeing all the new members and juniors on the green on opening day was amazing.” 

Bowls Scotland’s Vice President Ron McArthur attended Motherwell Miners opening day in April 2022 to surprise David and present his National Volunteer Award trophy.

“It felt amazing to win the award I am over the moon about it. I was so surprised. I was just in shock to be honest at the time. It is great for our club to be recognised as well and to show the kids that all the hard work we do pays off. This is a club has been such a big part of my life now my wife is also a bowler and I have two young kids who love being there I want our club to be around for our kids. The same way it was for me.” 

Finally we asked David to share some of the experience from the successful Try Bowls events that the club have run so that other clubs could follow the example of Motherwell Miners and introduce more children to ‘the sport for all’ across Scotland. We hope this strategy of keeping things fun and being flexible continues to see growth in membership at the club. David’s passion for our sport is infectious and we are delighted to not only present him with this award, but to have him involved as an ambassador for bowls in his Youth District Coordinator role…

“On our try bowls day we had a different activity on each rink from target mats, cones, we even had a paddling pool with a ramp in one of the rinks! We did have a rink to actually practice properly and also another rink with different length Jack's and off set Jack's. And we would change it up. For the kids we play for sweets for the winner.

“The advice I would give to other clubs is to make it fun. If you go straight in with set rules people and especially the kids will lose interest. There is plenty of time to introduce all the rules but bombarding new members with them all could end up in losing interest of the new members, I would also advise to be patient and friendly.” 

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