National Volunteer Award Profile Peter Alexander
Peter has been an active member at Laurieston BC for the last three years, although he was also a member when he was younger. He volunteers in a variety of roles across the club and is seen as a role model and great friend by his fellow members. From fundraising and coaching to acting as convenor for the green and bar, Peter dedicates a huge amount of time to his club. A real champion for inclusivity and promoting bowls as a sport for all, Peter said: “It gives me great satisfaction to introduce children and young people to the sport; to improve our clubhouse and facilities for the benefit of the wider community; and to help elderly and house-bound villagers with shopping and essential day-to-day tasks.
“Like most volunteers, personal gain or attention is not something I seek. However, it is a great honour to have been nominated and shortlisted for Bowls Scotland's inaugural National Volunteer Awards. The upshot of which is that it will hopefully shine a light on how my club, and bowling clubs in general, play such an integral part in the social, cultural and sporting life of our communities. “
Thanks to Peter’s dedication to fundraising within the community and applying for grants, the club has welcomed a host of improvements over the last few years. Updates to facilities are seeing this Falkirk club plant itself at the heart of the community. “I've raised over £40,000 in funding. The bulk of which has been to improve our building and facilities. Most recently, securing over £17,000 to convert a narrow piece of wasteland to the north of our green into an extensive outdoor seating area. Other notable grants include £10,000 for clubhouse refurbishment, £3000 for audio-visual equipment and several thousand pounds for coaching bowls and equipment. All of which are free-to-use by members, villagers, and community groups.”
During COVID, Peter gave up more of his time for the community and club, setting up a community group and giving the club it’s unofficial slogan: Laurieston Bowling Club: LBC – Let’s Build a Community. Flyers were posted to offer help to people in the village who needed support and Peter collected shopping and prescriptions for those who needed. Even though restrictions now allow more freedom for most, Peter still visits some of these villagers keeping everyone connected and cared for.
Peter completed Bowls Scotland’s Level 1 coaching award in summer 2021 and runs regular sessions for adults and juniors alongside the other club coaches. During the COVID pandemic Peter encouraged families to try bowls and when restrictions were stricter he offered one to one coaching sessions for families, encouraging the community to stay active and connected. Kelly Dickinson, who nominated Peter for this award, told us that: “The kids love him and he is very passionate about what he does. He’s applied for and been granted numerous grants to add junior bowls, jacks, coaching equipment, and also small bowls for young adults. This year he was very proud that 3 of the juniors qualified for the National Championships which were played at Newbridge B.C.”
Peter also recalled this achievement by the juniors as one of the highlights of his coaching at the club. “I am one of several Bowls Scotland-trained coaches at my club. We run a weekly Sunday morning coaching class for people of all ages. Throughout the year, we offer taster sessions for children, adults, and community groups. The latter of whom have included scouts, primary school pupils and members of the boy’s brigade. And during Covid, we ran a number scores sessions for children and their parents. All of which were, and continue to be, free. And all of which led to a sharp increase in membership. The highlight being our junior triples who gained great experience in qualifying for the SYBA national finals.
“I love the fact that bowls can be enjoyed (and played to a high level) by people of all ages; and that you're never too young or old to start. For example, a couple of weeks ago I was approached by a 79-year-old lady who wanted to arrange a series of taster sessions. And the week before that, I was coaching kids as young as six. Age really is no barrier. And the sport is unique in that people of all ages and backgrounds can play with and against one another, at a high level.”
Kelly added that she was delighted Peter was one of the winners selected for our inaugural awards: “I'm a very proud friend. He's just an all-round fantastic person with a heart of gold, and still finds time to care for his family.
“Volunteers are so important to the bowls community as without them many bowling clubs would fold. Committee members don't get paid, they join because they love the club and have transferrable skills they can use to help the club survive. From things such as weeding around the greens to cutting grass, to applying for grants, banking money etc. All of this relies on individuals who are willing to help out their club. Those who go that little bit further to help other clubs as well as their own are priceless.
“The difference Peter has made to our club is phenomenal. Our junior section has increased dramatically from 2 to around 15, we have the best membership in years due to many new members joining after Peter did some sessions with them, our bar staff is settled and prices looked after on a regular basis. The new sound and lighting has encourage more functions, and lots of visitors to the club in the way of supporters buses, Poker players, carpet bowls players and dominoes players - this is all bringing money to the club and we are financially in the best state we have been in a long time.”
Congratulations to Peter on behalf of everyone at Bowls Scotland for receiving this thoroughly deserved National Volunteer Award!
Applications for nominations are open year-round, for more information or to nominate someone, please visit: https://www.bowlsscotland.com/club-development/volunteering