At its recent meeting held on Monday 19th October, the board approved the organisation’s 2020-21 Operational Plan and Budget. This sees Bowls England commit to scoping and delivering new club services to increase member value, the development of a National Open Weekend, building a Commonwealth Games activation programme and developing the brand, marketing and communications activities.
In the face of Covid-19 challenges, this commitment will help increase the visibility of our sport, increase participation amongst a wider audience and improve the experiences of club bowlers. Linked to these discussions and future priorities, it was agreed that the plans for developing Victoria Park Lodge were to be put on hold.
The board also reflected on some successful recent work. Over 400 clubs registered to participate in the ‘Let’s Roll’ campaign, which provided marketing support for members to promote our sport to friends and family members. Campaign feedback forms from 60 clubs evidenced that 506 new people took part in bowls activity and 227 of those became new members of clubs. The promotion received high engagement across all of our social media platforms with over 350,000 unique individuals seeing with the Facebook advertising, some of whom will hopefully engage with the sport at the start of the next season or with the National Open Weekend.
The success of the campaign, inspired the Board to continue with the ‘Bowls England Story of the Year’ award. There have been many hard working success stories from volunteers around the Country during this season, and we welcome as many nominations as possible from all affiliated clubs and county associations. Entries for the award will open shortly.
In the international arena, 16 high performance players together with management staff took part in a kick off weekend for the high performance programme at Loughborough. With the support of the university’s sports science team, the players undertook a series of physical tests, worked together around the tactical and mental side of preparation and had one-to-ones with the management team. The Board congratulated Alistair Hollis, on his appointment as the Commonwealth Games Team Leader.
Looking forward to the 2021 season, the current director terms of appointment for both coaching and development come to an end in February 2021. We have recently undertook a nomination process for these member-elected board positions. Mal Evans (Warwickshire) has been reappointed unopposed as Director of Coaching and following applications from Adam Tanner (Wiltshire) and Steve Walker (Cumbria), a synopsis of both candidates will be circulated to County Associations in November for a ballot, with the announcement of Director of Development being announced week commencing 16th November.
The current structure of the podcasts have been reviewed with the intention to make the segments shorter and increase frequency, with a focus on particular topics of interest. The next podcast will involve a Data Protection and Legal Update, if you would like to watch this or catch-up on any of the podcasts you can subscribe at: www.youtube.com/c/BowlsEnglandTV.
With the ongoing work on the Bowls England strategy it was agreed that the virtual counties meeting scheduled in November, should take the form of a working meeting. Attendance will be open to County Administrators, Bowls England board members and staff. An additional virtual meeting will be arranged in December for key stakeholders to hear about the strategy ahead of its launch date in the New Year, and plans for the 2021 season. Further information will be circulated in due course.