We have a five-point plan to boost participation levels in lawn bowls during the home Commonwealth Games year. Building on its new 2021-26 strategy, Fit for the Future, the plan will take advantage of the golden opportunity of Birmingham 2022 by making lawn bowls more attractive and accessible to those we know are interested in playing our sport in the future.
Consistent with our long-term financial projections, and buoyed by a better-than-expected financial position in 2020/21, the Bowls England board has committed to drawn down on £350k of its reserves to support these projects.
- Develop a national Pay and Play Platform for lawn bowls – this will enable prospective players to find and access bowls clubs in the way that complements their needs, make it easy for clubs to manage this demand and maximize spare green capacity. It will grow the numbers of people playing our sport and improve the financial sustainability of clubs involved.
- Develop a new, introductory game format aimed at new bowlers – this will ensure new bowlers have a great experience and are retained in our sport. Precedence in other sports, experience from other bowls nations and our insight tells us our growth will come from people playing more casually. We know that some of these people will go on to play more competitively.
- Develop a portable ‘have-a-go’ experience taking lawn bowls to non-bowls environments – this will make it easy for people to try lawn bowls in places of high footfall. Having had a taste of the sport, we will signpost people to local clubs to continue their journey in the sport.
- Deliver an improved Bowls Big Weekend in May 2022 – building on the successes and learnings of the inaugural event, we will kick-start the Commonwealth Games summer in style. Clubs will open their doors to give people taster sessions, showcase the social atmosphere and get them hooked our sport. Clubs can now register their interest here.
- Execute a participation marketing campaign around and during Birmingham 2022 – capitalizing on the additional exposure lawn bowls will receive in this period and hopefully some England success on the Victoria Park greens, we will deliver an exciting campaign to encourage people to play and watch our sport.
Chief Executive, Jon Cockcroft said, “during my time in hockey, the impact of a home Olympics in 2012 was huge and it is imperative we take advantage of the platform of the platform of Birmingham 2022. We have an ambitious target to deliver 1m bowls experiences each year by 2026 and these five projects will help us make great strides in that endeavour. Lawn bowls is such a doable, vitalizing and sociable sport, we look forward to working with counties, clubs and across the bowls codes to enlighten more people of its great qualities and embrace them within our bowls community.”
All affiliated clubs have been asked to nominate a 2022 Activator, who will be a key point of contact for the year. They will be invited to educational webinars, sent various materials and asked to sign their clubs up for the initiatives above. They will be critical to the success of this Golden Opportunity.
If your club has not yet nominated an Activator, please fill in the form here.