David Tucker highlights the significance of the Fit for the Future strategy after being elected unopposed as Chair of Bowls England for a further three years.
During this term, he aims to see the Fit for the Future strategy bring further benefits to our sport as it has in the first three years of his tenure. In addition, as Chair he will support the Bowls England Board in co-operating with our Counties and Clubs in providing a better future for bowls.
David said his first three years as Chair were “challenging but rewarding” after being appointed in February 2020, just a month before the first national lockdown.
“It was quite an initiation but I’m proud of the way we got through it,” he said. “At the time everyone was working from home and for a short period we were between our former and current Chief Executive.”
David was pleased with how Bowls England responded during the Covid-19 pandemic. “I was proud of the support we were able to give to our Counties and Clubs and we have received a lot of positive feedback. Ultimately, this proved we were towards the top of the leader board among lots of sports due to the help we were giving. We were also one of the first sports to return to play in summer 2020 as lockdown measures were eased.”
After a few months as Chair, David realised that Bowls England and the wider sport needed to develop, which coincided with Jon Cockcroft taking the reins as Chief Executive.
“We needed to invest financially in areas including recruitment to start seeing some development,” stated David. “Fit for the Future – which the Board adopted to include Big Bowls Weekend and Bowls Bash – is now giving signs that this investment is working. This year we saw a three per cent increase in membership over last year’s figures and I hope that trend will continue into the future.”
The highlight of David’s first three years as Chair was the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games with the Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls being held at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa.
“It was an experience of a lifetime. I had never been to a Commonwealth Games or any bowls event other than World Bowls in 1992, which I was involved in the organisation of” he said.
In his next three years, David looks forward to Bowls England further developing its Governance. “We have achieved a tremendous amount in the last three years and hopefully we can reach Sport England Tier Three of the Code for Sports Governance and put ourselves in an even better position for future funding,” he said.
“Equally, we must all continue to improve our communication and consultation skills with members at all levels so that we are in effect one team.”
David identifies membership as one of the sport’s challenges during the next three years and knows that bowls will need to do everything it can to “maintain existing membership levels and improve it.”
Additionally, he believes that affiliation fees will have to increase in due course in order for Bowls England to deliver the services that affiliated Counties and Clubs require.
After his re-election was confirmed, David’s message to the bowls community is “one of confidence.”
“Being unopposed makes me feel the membership are happy with the way in which the Board is operating,” he said. “I do fully acknowledge that some members don’t like change – we have to work with them to show the benefits that change will bring. All of us must continue to work together to deliver benefits for our sport. We are a business, we have to operate like a business to survive and the Board has to manage that business.”
David claims that the Fit for the Future strategy is one of the main reasons why he decided to stand again and promises to give the strategy his “total support.”
“I can see benefits already,” he said, “And I want to see more in the next three years for us all. The initiatives introduced – Bowls’ Big Weekend, Bowls Bash and PlayBowls – are making a positive difference for clubs and continuing to invest in those will be important for our future.”
Elsewhere, Di Wilson-Rogers (Lincolnshire) and Kevin Philips (Devon) have been appointed on a three-year team (2023-2026) unopposed as regional selectors. This leaves three positions outstanding, Male (North and South) and Female (West) – the Performance Team will consider these later in the year
Bowls England received applications from Sheila Storey (Northumberland) and Charlotte Emanuel (Surrey) for the position of Junior Vice President – the election process is now underway with county associations.