National Volunteer Award Profile Raymond Welsh

The next winner from the fifth round of Bowls Scotland National Volunteer Awards is Raymond Welsh from Yoker Bowling Club.

Raymond was nominated for the award for his commitment to coaching, excellent leadership and for being a positive role model to club members and the wider community. He is the second coach from Yoker BC to be awarded with a National Volunteer Award with club member Gary Earl also winning one back in 2022. Raymond coaches alongside Gary and plays a crucial role in the successful running of the Yoker Academy.

We spoke to Raymond to find out how long he has been volunteering at Yoker and asked why encouraging young people into our sport is important to him…

“I began volunteering pre-Pandemic as both my sons had joined the Academy. Having been a member of Yoker BC some 20 years earlier, I was able to offer some assistance to the coaches already in the Academy and the natural progression was for me to become a coach myself.

“The biggest and best reward that I get from coaching the kids, is watching the improvement of each of them through the years, from our teaching them the basics i.e. stance, delivery etc to how they portray themselves at high level tournaments throughout the country. We can see them mature week in and week out, not only into fine bowlers but confident, happy young adults.”

The hard work and dedication of volunteers like Raymond doesn’t go unnoticed, we spoke to Martha Osborne who submitted Raymond’s nomination for the National Volunteer Award to find out more about the difference he makes to the Yoker Academy and wider community.

“I nominated Raymie because of his commitment every week to the young people who attend the club. He is very patient in the way he speaks to them and gives them advice on how to improve their game. He encourages every one of them to ensure they play their best.
“Raymie also helps to raise funds to enable all the young people who attend to obtain a full uniform, including bowling shoes and bowls, without any cost to their parents and carers which gives the young people a sense of belonging to the team where everyone wears the same uniform. He also helped to raise funds to allow any of the young people who wanted to attend a trip to Tenerife to play bowls and experience how things are done in another country.
“He also attends games during the week after his work to support players who have been selected to play against other teams. Raymie is a dedicated individual who does a great deal to ensure the smooth running of the club where all young people and children can attend. Without input from volunteers to run the club then The Academy would not exist, and the game would not have any young people becoming involved in the game.
“Without Raymie volunteering at the club there may be weeks that the club would not run. The club runs through some of the school holidays and without having the coaches giving up their precious time at weekends it would not be able to open. Raymie brings a sense of belonging and self-worth to the young people through
his manner and encouragement and words of wisdom. The club wouldn’t be the same without him.”

Bowls Scotland President, Ron McArthur, presented Raymond with his award at the beginning of the 2023 season alongside Academy members and Raymond’s two sons Liam and Alfie Welsh.

On receiving the award Raymond said: “I was honestly gobsmacked when President Ron McArthur said my name when presenting the award and was literally lost for words. Volunteers like myself are not in it for rewards or honours, we are there solely to provide children, (and adults) with the means to learn, practice and enjoy the sport, that said it was very humbling to be nominated by my peers.

“Without young people taking up the sport it would eventually wither away and become something that is only ever read about in books. For a sport such as bowls, which can be played by anyone, regardless of their gender, race, age or abilities, to be cast to the history books would be a great shame. It's been a tough enough time for clubs in the aftermath of the Pandemic, so everyone needs to diversify and adopt changes to ensure that fresh new blood is encouraged into the game.

“Through sports funding applications we have managed to ensure that the players are all kitted out with uniforms and essential kit, such as shoes and raincoats. Without this funding, the sport can become a little costly and so obtaining funds from private sponsors, Sports Scotland, Glasgow Life to name a few, ensures that parents and carers do not need to fork out vast sums of money, in what is currently an already expensive financial climate. Being able to provide uniforms to everyone, really helps build a strong team as we all look the same and really stand out from the crowd on the greens.

“For any clubs out there thinking of adopting a similar course of action, I can't recommend it enough. Not only are you bringing new life into your own club, but it can have an impact on young person’s lives. Bowls Scotland are super helpful in getting initiatives off the ground and can offer plenty of advice not to mention awesome coaching sessions for wannabe coaches”

Congratulations to Raymond 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 15th September 2023. For more information or to nominate someone, click here.

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