Waverley Housing Try Bowls Q&A

Bowls Scotland National Development Officer (East), Alan McDonald, has recently been working with Waverley Housing to help organise and run a number of Try Bowls events in the Scottish Borders.

We spoke to Craig MacDougall, Tenant and Community Engagement Officer at Waverley Housing, to find out more about their work and the recent Try Bowls day held at Wilton Bowling Club.

  1. Tell us about the work that Waverley Housing do?

Waverley Housing is a Registered Social Landlord operating throughout the central Scottish Borders. All our properties are general needs. Waverley Housing provides homes to people who have a housing need and at a lower cost, than accommodation in the private rented sector. This makes affordable housing available to a wider range of people, offering a selection of property sizes, locations, and rents.

  1. Why were Waverley Housing so keen to visit bowling clubs in the Scottish Borders?

Waverley are committed to tenant and community engagement within the towns and estates we operate. Our Tenant and Community Engagement Assistant has been working with various organisations and groups within the central Scottish Borders to expand our engagement including outdoor activities. The Try Bowls event allowed us to engage with our tenants and the wider community using a positive and alternative approach.

  1. The first event has now taken place at Wilton Bowling Club, how did the event go and what was the general feedback from those that took part?

The Try Bowls event was well attended, and the glorious weather helped to make it a success. It allowed Waverley Tenants to meet with new friends from other housing associations and other local groups like Border Buddies and members of the wider community, while taking part in a range of fun challenges.

Quotes from the day:

  • “Great atmosphere, people were all friendly. The variety of games were great fun.”
  • “Brilliant event helped by lovely weather, big smiles, great welcome, great day.”
  • “Great day, brings the community together, fosters engagement and talking.”
  • “Would definitely try this again.”
  1. What sort of planning went into the event? Was there any external funding or support?

Initial planning meetings were held with Alan McDonald from Bowls Scotland to agree a format for the event. Our Tenant and Community Engagement Assistant also met with the host club to agree all the details before advertising the event to our tenants. This was achieved via social media, email and direct contact to ensure we reached the correct tenants.

Although no funding was received, Bowls Scotland loaned free of charge the equipment needed and Wilton Bowling Club in Hawick provided their facility free of charge for the event. Both of these donations helped to make this a highly successful day.

  1. Look ahead, is bowling a sport that Waverley Housing will look to utilise throughout the 2024 season and beyond? What benefits does it bring your tenants?

The day was a success in terms of engaging with our tenants, we were actually approached by some tenants who are looking to set up a resident’s group, the less formal setting helped them come forward with their ideas. We were also contacted by two tenants who are looking to take a more direct involvement with Waverley in terms of tenant participation.

Another benefit from the social side of the day, saw us working with Border Buddies, whose focus is on combatting social isolation.

This type of event allows us the opportunity to work with our colleagues at other local housing associations and other agencies to engage with and help bring the whole community together.

From our tenants perspective it offers a fresh aspect and opens opportunities they perhaps would not explore otherwise.


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