Return to the Green Story: Gala BC
This Return to the Green story from Gala Bowling Club in the Scottish Borders shows the committees efforts to increase membership by encouraging women and children to play bowls. Bowls Scotland spoke to Club President, Roseanne Eades (the first Lady President in the clubs 163 year history) about how the club have been empowering women in bowls in recent seasons.
Despite Covid the club have had an influx of new members over the past two years, leaving the District 30 club with a current membership of 77. Of these, 22 are women and 16 of these are new this year. Roseanne told us about an event held in honour of these new members:
“We had a Ladies Day in June for some afternoon tea, bowls, fun and some bubbles to help integrate our new lady playing members with sadly no Ladies League this year to participate in and help and coach them and get to know each other. All the woman enjoyed it and will be looking to make it an annual event and become even bigger to try and promote bowls. We have also started a Ladies Practice Night on the back of it.”
With new bowlers joining the club, Lyndsey Fairburn, Neil Tough and Taylor Johnston from Gala BC all attended July’s Introduction to Bowls Coaching Award at Melrose BC. All 3 successfully completed the online training and practical course, Roseanne has received positive feedback from all 3 members and explains the next steps for coaching within the club:
“Lyndsay said that training was geared for all levels was very engaging/accessible, she felt this will help to rekindle our junior section and that increased coach numbers will reach more people. Neil said this will help bring on some of the newer members and that the coaching course was very good overall and interesting. Taylor would like to thank Adam, the tutor, who was very helpful and explained everything thoroughly. The games they had been shown were fun and made them a bit competitive and willing to do the next level of Bowls Scotland coaching awards. Taylor is looking into the ways to use the practices at the club and is going to be helping with coaching new members.”
The club members and committee have worked hard to adapt to the Covid procedures and guidelines. Whilst the club was able to open partially in Summer 2020, Gala BC spent the last 18 months very productively, using funding to help upgrade areas of the club. New Wi-Fi and an electronic card reader were installed along with new carpets and electrics. After only a partial opening in Summer 2020, most members have returned this 2021 season with a hungry appetite to bowl.
“It has not been a normal calendar however there has been a small Gents and Senior Border Bowling Leagues set up for some competitive bowls. We have just won our section against top division sides to play a final next week.
To fill the void, we have put on internal competitions every weekend when the green was spare which are very popular with 30-40 players every weekend. Our Hat Nights have been the busiest they’ve ever been with 20+ every week.
With competitive bowlers having their share of fun, the committee turned their heads to planning a Junior Fun Day. A successful event for children in the community was held on 30th July – with an imaginative tag line…
“Fun is as easy as ABC at Gala Bowling Club. We’re having a fun afternoon of arts, bowls and cooking, free to all primary school age children.
A = ARTS - paint a pebble pet and additional crafts
B = BOWLS - variety of fun bowling activities on the green
C = COOKING - fun food-based activities including making smores/decorating cupcakes
D = DINNER - snacks and games
Before COViD we run a successful “Mini Galaticos” after school for an hour on a Thursday which was growing. It is an area we now look to target after influx of members in the last couple of years.”
“Now we look to keep moving forward and bringing back our social events which are always popular with members and the community. During the off season, we enter a Dominoes team in the local league to keep the club involved and active along with events taking place.”
It is fantastic to see clubs engaging with their community and encouraging women, children and competitive bowlers to come to the club and enjoy our great sport. Bowls Scotland would like to thank Roseanne for sharing the news from Gala BC this season with us and we hope to hear about more successes as this community club continues to grow in future seasons.