At its May meeting, the Bowls England Board approved a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategy developed in conjunction with the Bowls Development Alliance. One of the commitments, within Bowls England’s ‘Fit for the Future’ strategic plan, is to make bowls truly accessible. The EDI strategy will galvanize the bowls community to embrace more people irrespective of their background or circumstance, and includes action on culture, education, governance, promotion and partnerships. Details of the strategy will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Board received a presentation on safeguarding from Helen Slimm, Bowls England’s Head of Business Operations and Duncan Webster, the Bowls Development Alliance’s Welfare and Governance Manager. The Board was pleased to hear of the significant improvements that are being made to the delivery of this important work including reporting procedures, use of case management software, case review meeting structures and communications. It was acknowledged that there is still a huge amount of work to do to embed safeguarding best practice in the sport but it was encouraging that the CPSU and Ann Craft Trust were enjoying more confidence in the work being undertaken.
The Board discussed the organisation’s disciplinary work and made some decisions to support the administration of this service as the Disciplinary Working Party undertake the wider review. It was agreed to recruit a contractor to help the day to day management of cases and to advertise for new members of the Disciplinary committee to make it easier to convene a panel. Furthermore, there will be some interim changes to regulation 9 and the production of some better guides to help county associations and clubs.
The Board also agreed that the dates for the National Finals in 2023 would be Thursday 10th August to Sunday 27th August inclusive, and that £10,000 would be allocated to support streaming some days of the 2022 Bowls England National Finals.
The Chief Executive delivered a presentation on some of the big projects to maximize Birmingham 2022. The Play Bowls platform is in a build stage and the new Casual game format, name and brand identity were close to being finalised. Webinars for clubs were being prepared, and training for clubs being delivered in June and July. 790 clubs are currently signed up to run sessions during Bowls’ Big Weekend, with 60 of these coming from Crown Green. 643 attendees are currently registered to attend sessions. Four clubs that benefited well last from last year’s Bowls’ Big Weekend have been involved in media promotion alongside England Players. In addition, seven webinars have ran advising the clubs how to make the most out of the weekend.
Finally, a number of County Associations have submitted affiliation figures. Current data suggests a small growth in membership, and some significant regional variations. Further analysis will be undertaken when all affiliation information is known at the end of May.
The Board will meet next in July.