We are all familiar with the sounds.
The thud of bowl on bowl, the murmur of approval from team-mates, the round of applause at competition time, the buzz of conversation at the end of the day.
These are the sounds that emanate from our local lawn bowls clubs, and all over Scotland they are becoming less like background noise and more of an everyday soundtrack to community life.
Bowls Scotland launched the TryBowls initiative in 2016, aiming to help clubs and communities come together to discover the benefits to physical and mental health of taking up bowls – not to mention being part of the inclusive, accessible community that clubs provide.
So what difference has TryBowls made? Sport First asked members of three clubs to provide a personal insight.
Priorscroft BC, Paisley, Renfrewshire
“Our club has been at the heart of the local community for 179 years and we strive to inspire the members of our community to try bowls,” says Andrew Halliday.
“We work closely with Renfrewshire Leisure and East Renfrewshire Sports Hub to introduce bowling to the local community for all ages and abilities.
“We have six Bowls Scotland-approved coaches. We host various events throughout the year - none more successful than the Easter Sports Camp, where we hosted 146 kids over a two-week period and we received positive feedback from the kids who attended.”
Rosslyn BC, Roslin, Midlothian
“We’ve held two TryBowls events, the most recent in April attracting 30-plus new members (adult, junior and associate), almost doubling our membership,” says Douglas Todman. “We’ve since held several coaching sessions for new members, junior and adult.
“We’ve spoken to classes at the local primary school (P4-7) about bowls. P5 and P6 have since had a taster session at the club, and we have plans to speak with local clubs about attending some sessions as well.
“We wanted to engage with the local community to promote bowls not only for the betterment of Rosslyn BC but for the sport of bowls in general.”
Woodend BC, Glasgow
“In 2010, our club appointed a volunteer development officer to support the growth of new membership and participation initiatives in an attempt to create a sustainable and viable bowling section,” says coach Tom Hamilton.
“We created new membership categories for family, social, junior and student members and offered reduced fees for the first year as well as merging the male and female bowling sections to create a more inclusive and family-based membership culture.
“We also participated in two recent community-based open day events to promote bowls to wider communities across Glasgow. The Jordanhill #Streetplay event on 23 June saw four of our volunteer coaches delivering #PopUpBowls sessions, and we took over the trolley park of a large supermarket chain at the Crow Road Retail Park in Anniesland to deliver a version of #StreetBowls.
“There have been a number of other programmes and initiatives aimed at diversifying our membership base, and the club has been recognised for its progressive development work.”
Find out more
Would you like to try bowls or discover more about the great work going on in the clubs in your community?
Check out the TryBowls page on the BowlsScotland website.