Bowls Scotland has been encouraging clubs to offer free club membership to frontline workers during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Through its Thank You Frontline Workers campaign, Bowls Scotland invited the bowling community to sign up in the hope of introducing new people of all ages to the sport at the same time as expressing their thanks for the amazing work done by people providing essential services during the crisis.
Thirty-six bowling clubs across Scotland signed up to the campaign and each club had the autonomy to decide which front-line services they wanted to include, as well as the NHS, police and fire services.
Clubs also opened the offer - free membership for the remainder of 2020 - to shop workers, teachers and postal workers, reaching out to a wider range of ages by targeting people who are still working.
Rosslyn Bowling Club in Midlothian were particularly successful, attracting eight new members for the 2021 season. The campaign fitted perfectly into the club’s marketing strategy to welcome new people to the sport and the club.
Rosslyn BC used Bowls Scotland campaign posters on their social media platforms to highlight Friday taster sessions. During the season, they held six evening sessions welcoming 12 local front-line workers to try the sport for the first time - eight of whom signed up.
One of the new members, Peter Hoskins, had recently moved to Rosslyn. He had enjoyed the game many years ago and decided to go along to one of the evening sessions.
He said: "It was great to be made very welcome and meet other new and established members and hear about Rosslyn’s community. Thanks to Lorna, Mike and Jim for making me so welcome and for the excellent coaching.
"I am looking forward to playing more next year and taking part in the social aspect of the club."
Heart of the community
Sarah Pryde-Smith, Bowls Scotland national development manager, added: "Bowling clubs are the heart of communities across Scotland and we are pleased and proud to play our part in helping Scotland to stay connected throughout COVID-19.
"By working in partnership with our clubs, the frontline workers campaign provided clubs with an opportunity to give something back whilst also supporting membership growth.
"It is encouraging to see the increase in membership, and we hope that everyone who took part enjoyed the chance to try our wonderful game. We will continue with this campaign along with others to ensure our clubs are well supported to retain and gain members in 2021.
"Thank you to our clubs who participated in this campaign and thank you to all the front-line workers. We know how difficult it has been and we want you to know that everyone within our bowling family is grateful for the sacrifices you have made and for saving people’s lives and helping others."