Bowls England |
Equality, Inclusion and Diversity – Engaging with the Community Guidance
We firmly believe that Bowls is a truly accessible sport, which can be enjoyed by everybody!
Whilst clubs believe they generally welcome everyone, in some instances clubs may not be aware of the stereotypes or preconceptions that are held by either current members or potential participants within their local community about the sport.
We would recommend that clubs try searching for their local population data on their local authority’s website. If the local community has a high proportion of residents who are members of certain faiths or ethnic groups, but it is not reflected in your current membership base – you might be missing out on potential new participants and members.
There may be many unintentional barriers to new members participating in our sport that can be easily overcome.
Promoting your club or centre
When publishing photos on your website or in leaflets, try to include images of both male and female participants from a wide range of ages, abilities and ethnic backgrounds to show that all are welcome at your club or centre. To reach the whole community, you could consider promoting your activities, courses, open days etc through the local temple, mosque, gurdwara, synagogue or church, as well as local schools. Have a look at your local authority’s website for contact details. Councils often promote local events through their websites or e-newsletters. Local radio stations, including those catering for minority groups such as Asian radio stations, are always looking for local stories and events.
Welcoming a new member or participant
Don’t make assumptions or rely on stereotypes. Even within one religion there can be numerous different groups or sects with more or less strict practices. The key is always to treat each person as an individual and understand their needs. Make it clear to everyone that you will do what you can to cater for any particular requirement. A good approach with any new member who doesn’t already have friends at the club is to ask an existing member to act as their ‘mentor’ for a while, to show them round and introduce them to other people.
Cater for different religions or beliefs
The main organised religions within the UK are: Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism and Buddhism.
Below are few suggestions your club should explore:
Timing: Most organised religions have a Holy Day. Friday for Muslims, Friday Evening to Saturday Evening for Jews, Sunday for Christians etc. If you are organising an open day or event for your local community, factor in the data from the local authorities website to plan your day and avoid times or days when participants might be excluded due to a conflict with their religious or family commitments.
Dress: Some religions require or encourage people to wear specific items or types of clothing. Provided that participants can comply with your safety requirements, dress requirements should not be a barrier to participation.
Catering: If you are providing refreshments at an open day, or organising a social event, you should take account of the dietary requirements of people of different faiths. A typical British barbecue tends to include beef and pork. Pork is forbidden to Jews and Muslims and beef is forbidden to Hindus, whilst Buddhists do not eat meat or fish. You could consider offering vegetarian and vegan alternatives. You should also ensure that there are plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available for people who don’t drink for religious reasons, as well as those aged under 18 and those who are driving home.
Language: One primary school child in five in England speaks English as a second language. Their parents may be fluent English speakers even if they speak another language at home, but if they have recently arrived in the UK from a non-English speaking country and haven’t been educated here, they may be less proficient in spoken or written English. This should be borne in mind if you are communicating via e-mail, text, letter or leaflet, for example to explain what their child needs to bring to the next sailing session – a face to face conversation may be more effective.
Prayer space and times: Practising Muslims pray five times a day at specified times, and attend congregational prayer on Fridays, normally between midday and 3.00 pm. They require a clean, private area for prayer, with facilities for cleansing themselves beforehand. This would particularly need to be considered if you are running an all-day training course or event. It is good practice to ask participants whether they have any special requirements (whether dietary, disability access related or religious) and to discuss in advance what you can do to accommodate them.