Return to the Green Story: Lochee BC

Lockdown for Lochee

Last summer Lochee bowling club, in a socially deprived* area of Dundee, successfully engaged youths from the local community by holding summer camps for the first time. After the first Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, Lochee BC decided to tackle the misconceptions about bowls being an older person’s sport by activating its plans for youth engagement.

Supported by funding from the Dundee Partnership Community Regeneration Fund and the Dundee Sports Dinner, the club bought equipment to support youth coaching and development and then put arrangements in place for a one-week summer camp. Twelve children attended each day of the outdoor camp, with local charity Dundee Bairns providing a free breakfast and lunch. The young bowlers were all primary-school pupils referred by school’s family support workers and youth workers, and the free camp was supported by a Dundee City Council regeneration worker and two members of the club coaching team.

Only the start

Eight of the 12 attendees went on to become regulars at the club’s Saturday morning training and development sessions, and one parent decided to take up the sport and become a member.

Speaking in Spring 2021, club committee member John Wade said: “We wanted to encourage young people to try a sport that is often misinterpreted and help to dismiss a concept that it is an older person’s sport.

“The funds received allowed us to purchase six sets of junior bowl sets along with target skill set equipment, and an indoor playing carpet for use for indoor coaching which gave us the capacity to continue the coaching and development after the summer playing season.

“The initial success of the programme with schools and community groups allowed us to offer activities programmes during the summer months of the school holidays, as well as development of coaching sessions on a Saturday morning at the Club.

“Our project plan was to work with local schools and community to help strengthen community ties within our local area as well bringing forward development of bowls and offering a different means of youth engagement and leisure pastime.”

Reconnecting communities after Covid

Bowling is an inclusive and intergenerational sport, however as Lochee BC identified, it is often perceived by non-bowlers as an exclusively older age group activity. This proactive approach to address these misconceptions is an excellent example of how the collective bowling community can try new and innovative ideas to ensure our wonderful game can be enjoyed by everyone. Lochee also demonstrated a commitment to social responsibility and changing lives through the power of sport. The COVID pandemic put many families under additional pressure and even more so in socially deprived areas. 

With 13% of bowling clubs in Scotland in areas of social deprivation, our sport has the ability to play a vital role in reconnecting local communities.

One year on

We checked in with Brian Smith, Club Secretary for Lochee to see how the clubs’ Return to the Green for the 2021 season was going. Unfortunately, due to very high Coronavirus case levels in Dundee, when we spoke, access to the club has been restricted to members only meaning that the summer camps hadn’t been run in 2021. This progressive and welcoming club plans to run the camps as soon as it is safe to do so and we wish them every success with reconnecting their community in this way.

To feature in our Return to the Green Stories - contact and tell us how your club has reassured members, reconnected communities or respected Covid safety measures this season.

* Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD)

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