National Volunteer Award Profile - Lewis McCulloch

The first winner from the seventh round of Bowls Scotland National Volunteer Awards is Lewis McCulloch from West End Bowling Club in Stranraer.

Lewis began bowling at the age of 12 and has been at West End Bowling Club his whole life. The 25-year-old was nominated for his award as an inspiring young person, excelling in coaching and making an outstanding contribution to the local community.

Lewis works for Dumfries and Galloway Council as a Sports Development Officer, allowing him to support various local sports clubs with grassroots engagement. In his spare time, through utilising his professional skills and passion for bowls, he wanted to give back to his beloved West End Bowling Club. Lewis decided to set up bowls coaching sessions for young people and young adults with disabilities, helping to boost their physical health and social skills.

Speaking on the coaching sessions he delivers, Lewis said: “I have been volunteering on Friday evenings for a couple of hours for two years now.

“The participants love the sport and are committed to coming along every week. It is hugely important, not just at the West End, but all bowling clubs that we do everything we can to encourage new players to the sport. Bowls is fully inclusive and has encouraged six new bowlers with learning disabilities to join our club, on top of that you have mums, dads, grans and granddads.

“I enjoy the opportunity of integrating people with disabilities into a club setting and giving them that opportunity to be socially and physically connected. They would maybe struggle to do so without support.”

Not only has Lewis helped to teach his disability group the basics of the sport, but he has also helped to integrate each of them as popular members in the club. The progress that has been made over the last two years is largely down to Lewis’ hard work and commitment behind the scenes. Many of the new members are now becoming more confident to enter internal club competitions and represent West End Bowling Club in external events too.

Lewis added: “The impact on the people I have worked with is great to see. Their ability is continuing to improve, some consistently play in our Friday night sweeps now and open competitions in the district. We have travelled up to Scottish Disability Sport events also.

“The social benefit is the most pleasing to see though. They stay back after the sweep nights and enjoy the chat in the club and dish out some friendly banter now too!

“I would encourage other clubs to try and explore this avenue of volunteering. There are more people than you realise who have disabilities and need that encouragement to be integrated into your club.”

All the countless hours of planning, delivering sessions and supporting the young people both within and outwith the club hasn’t gone unnoticed or underappreciated by Lewis’ fellow members at West End Bowling Club. Fiona McColm has witnessed first hand Lewis’ passion for the sport of bowls and dedication to the club and decided she wanted to help Lewis gain recognition at a national level.

When asked what led to nominating Lewis for a National Volunteer Award, Fiona said: “I nominated Lewis because he is a kind, caring, thoughtful young man and the members absolutely adore him. Lewis is currently Vice President of our club and is always willing to step up when needed.

“He is giving these young people a chance to participate in sport and really improve

their confidence and social skills. Parents and carers also join in the coaching sessions, with quite a few actually joining and bowling themselves. We have existing members coming to help Lewis with his group and we are enjoying the changes we are seeing in the youngsters.

“It has been brilliant for us to see, and we are frequently thanked by carers and parents.”

To Lewis’ surprise, he was recently presented with his National Volunteer Award. Extremely humbled and proud to be presented his award, Lewis commented: “Receiving the award was a complete shock! I’m very grateful to Fiona for nominating me and clearly appreciating the work that has been done.

“It’s always nice to be recognised but it’s not something you expect! It has just motivated me to keep going and push on to help more.”

Congratulations to Lewis on behalf of everyone at Bowls Scotland for receiving his thoroughly deserved National Volunteer Award!

Applications for our next round of nominations close on Friday 27th September 2024. For more information or to nominate someone, please visit:

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