National Volunteer Award Profile - Jenny Murphy
The fourth and final winner from the sixth round of Bowls Scotland National Volunteer Awards is Jenny Murphy from Kettle Bowling Club.
Despite only joining the club in July 2018, Jenny has already made a long-lasting impact at Kettle BC which is greatly appreciated by her fellow club members and the local village community. Jenny decided to join the club five years ago and offer her support as the club was on the brink of closing.
Speaking on her journey since joining the club, Jenny said: “When I joined Kettle BC, it was very close to closing as there was only eight members and very little money in the bank.
“We joined at the request of my brother who lives locally near Kettle. He told us the club had been part of Kettle for years and it was about to close and would we along with five other couples join to see if we could help but also enjoy an activity together. To be honest at the time I thought ‘no way that’s for old people’ but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I decided to join to do an activity that both my husband and I can do together and support my brother’s idea. I found I really enjoyed playing bowls, learning a sport, and how a club runs. I got a crash course!
“Since we joined, the club has gone from strength to strength. The first year was spent learning how to play lawn and carpet bowls, we also carried out a lot of fundraising and encouraged our friends to join. Within a year most of the original members had left the club leaving us with very little clue how to run a bowling club so we had to learn fast and made a few mistakes along way. It was a huge learning curve. Some of the new members that joined in the first year all came with skills that I knew we could tap into for the benefit of the club.
“The building and equipment were in a bad state and the bowling green not much better but through time, hard work and a lot of fundraising it’s getting there. It’s great to see where we came from and where we are now after five years.”
Through countless hours of hard work and dedication Jenny, along with support from her fellow committee members, has been able to completely transform Kettle BC’s fortunes. In just a five-year period the club has recruited over 100 new members through hosting various Try Bowls events and utilising the clubs facilities for social events that the local community can attend.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic creating a number of challenges for Kettle BC, Jenny and her dedicated team continued to work tirelessly to develop their beloved club. In 2023, for the first time in many years, Kettle BC was represented by its members in both the Bowls Scotland National Championships and Fife Bowling Association competitions. A feat which a lot of clubs and members take for granted but this was an achievement in itself for everyone at Kettle BC and the transformation the club has undergone in recent years.
Referencing the clubs membership recruitment drive, Jenny commented: “In 2022 I read about Try Bowls simply by looking at Bowls Scotland website. I took the idea to our committee who mostly supported the idea but were a bit sceptical as the local community had not really engaged in previous events.
“I contacted Bowls Scotland, and a representative came along and explained the process. I arranged an Introduction to Bowls Coaching course for myself and another member prior to the Try Bowls Day. I applied to the council for a grant, so the day cost us nothing apart from time and effort.
“I decided to go all out. The bunting was up, BBQ on, goodie bags for the kids. We advertised the event as a Try Bowls family fun day on social media, local community boards and very large signs entering and exiting the village. The sun shone for us, and it was a great day. I advertised half price membership on the day and if enough children joined, I would start a kids clubs with free membership for children under 16 with a paying adult membership.
“From the day itself and weeks after the event we doubled our membership. We repeated our Try Bowls event earlier in 2023 the day was well attended, and we intend to have a Try Bowls Day every year.
“I started a kids club 3 weeks after our first Try Bowls with 19 children. I introduced motivation rewards with sticker cards for them and they were presented with a medal when they completed the cards. There’s a tuck shop halfway through the class for a 10-minute break. The kids loved it.
“Each child has to be accompanied by a parent. I got the parents involved with a view to encourage the adults to become playing members. Naturally through time some of the kids stopped coming but this was mostly due to clashing with other hobbies they had. I arranged a Christmas party for the kids and for any members kids or grandkids, it was a great afternoon, and the kids are already looking forward to this year’s party.
“This year we have encouraged some of the kids by letting them play in our friendly matches and arranged friendly matches against other kids’ clubs. Some of the kids entered an open triples competition at the end of this season and enjoyed the experience. Our plan for next season is to get some of the kids playing in the Fife tournaments and adding to our coaching team.”
Jenny’s commitment to Kettle BC certainly hasn’t going unnoticed within the wider bowling community in Fife. Morag Robertson, Bowls Scotland District 7 Ladies Co-Ordinator for the local area, has been aware of the work that Jenny has been carrying out on behalf of her club for some time. Morag was keen to ensure that Jenny’s heroics and passion for bowls were recognised at a national level.
When asked about what led to nominating Jenny for a National Volunteer Award, Morag said: “Kettle Bowling Club is only about a mile away from my own club, Ladybank BC, and I have played there many a time during my bowling career. I have seen how the club went from being a busy and high membership club to one which was very close to closing.
“A few years ago, the few members at Kettle did a leaflet and local paper plea for new members and support from local community basically saying new members were needed or the club would close. From that Jenny and several other people joined and whilst at first it was socially they were interested in trying bowls both outdoor and indoor. At the start they joined in and played indoor short mat bowls during the winter and then started playing outdoors but more importantly they were keen to keep the club going and Jenny volunteered to join the committee and help the club get back on its feet again.
“Things seemed to progress from there and Jenny has definitely been the driving force in getting Kettle up and running again. She has gone from committee to Secretary to Match Secretary and now President. Jenny along with her newly formed committee have brought many new members into club and through various functions have helped raise much needed funds and over this last year they have started to play in bowling competitions and friendlies and re-joined Bowls Scotland.
“Having helped Jenny and Kettle during this transformation both as an experienced bowler and club official and lately as District Co-Ordinator, I felt that nominating Jenny for a National Volunteer Award was definitely a worthy nomination. The time, work and dedication that she has given along with her committee has brought Kettle Bowling Club back within Fife.
“Jenny is well known for hands-on approach, helping and getting help and over the last year has become known for saying ‘what do you think of this idea?’, which really means ‘we’re going to do this’, and it gets done and is a success. Everyone at Kettle should be proud of what they have achieved in such a short time however, they should also be proud of Jenny, and I know they are.”
After another successful season for the club, Jenny was recently presented with her National Volunteer Award which came as a complete surprise to her. After having some time to reflect on both her own and the clubs progress, Jenny added: “I had no idea I had been nominated. I was absolutely gobsmacked!
“It was fabulous to be recognised for hard work and it has motivated me even more. It’s not often in life people get recognition for their hard work and commitment. For me it was another star for Kettle BC.”
Bowls Scotland would like to congratulate Jenny on her thoroughly deserved National Volunteer Award and wish her well for the remainder of her Presidency term at Kettle BC. We look forward to hearing more about the clubs developments in 2024!
Applications for our next round of nominations close on Friday 8th March 2024. For more information or to nominate someone, please visit: https://www.bowlsscotland.com/club-development/volunteering.