There was a growing sense of positivity on Saturday (27th February) as representatives from all 35 associations attended our virtual AGM and Counties Meeting.
At the AGM, we reflected on 2020 and celebrated the achievements during what was a challenging year. An electronic version of our Annual Report is now available, containing financial information for 2019-20, as well as a review of our endeavours during the year including our Let’s Roll campaign, Club Services and response to Covid-19. It also outlines our exclusive benefits of affiliation for our clubs as well as our ambitious work programme for 2021.
At a meeting after the AGM, we looked forward to forthcoming season. Our Chief Executive, Jon Cockcroft, spoke about the roadmap for the easing of lockdown restrictions, which was announced earlier in the week by the Prime Minister, along with the vaccination rollout currently being delivered, as motivation to ensure as many bowlers as possible enjoy our sport in a safe manner this summer.
With the Back to Bowls Survey highlighting that 90% of bowlers are eager to get back onto the green, it is key to appreciate the physical and mental health benefits of our outdoor, socially-distanced and non-contact sport.
Jon shared his optimism for the future, whilst also highlighting that the unique 2020 season has given time for reflection on how our sport needs to adapt to move forward: “A number of recurring themes have come through our research and it is apparent what the task at hand is. In short, whilst nurturing the authentic and intrinsic qualities of our sport, bowls must become more relevant, appealing and accessible to a broader range of people. With the digital revolution, evolving family lifestyles and greater choice, the way in which people consume sport is changing fast.”
The National Open Weekend, which will take place from Friday 28th to Monday 31st May, is an example of this, and a progress report was shared with further information to be made available in due course. We look forward to the opportunity to encourage people, who are looking for a new fun, family outdoor activity, into our sport.
An outline proposal for our Covid-contingency measures was discussed including our competitive domestic calendar including National Finals. Further consultation with Counties will take place over the next fortnight, with a revised schedule to be prepared and published no later than week commencing 22nd March. The draws for National Competitions will go live on Friday 9th April.
We are conscious there is a lot of work to do to plan for the new season and navigate through the government’s roadmap. We will be issuing ‘Return to Play’ guidance and other details as soon as possible. We will keep everyone updated through our website and social media channels about plans for the season. Enjoy the 2020 Annual Report by clicking here.