Easter traditionally marks the start of the outdoor bowls season – sadly that will not be the case this year. However, I wanted to update you on our work over the past two weeks.
Since the crisis began we have been determined to ensure that our members are both informed and entertained in equal measure using all of the tools available to us. In order to achieve this, we have significantly increased our communications activity and have been delighted at the response to date.
Our YouTube Channel, which is home to our official podcast and bowlers’ workout, already has more than 800 subscribers and our first podcast, featuring Tony Allcock OBE, has been viewed by 2,600 people to date. In addition, more than 19,000 people have viewed our e-newsletter over the past week.
I would encourage anyone who has not signed up for these services to do so in order that you get the latest information direct to your inbox – details are included at the conclusion of my message.
The staff team has been inundated with requests for assistance from clubs and individuals, especially with regard to greens maintenance and funding. We worked closely with the Institute of Groundsmanship (IoG) to produce a detailed guide on essential greens maintenance work and have also released a detailed document highlighting just some of the financial support that is available both locally and nationally for clubs.
One fund that is particularly relevant is the Sport England Community Emergency Fund. This fund aims to deliver immediate funding to those most in need and the eligibility criteria states that it will prioritise organisations who work with groups including older people and those with long term health conditions – clearly two areas of the population from which bowls clubs draw a large percentage of their members but can you prove it?
The ability to extract demographic information in order to support clubs who wish to apply for external grants has been one of the drivers for the Bowls England Membership Register, and the Board remains committed to delivering this priority. The current crisis may necessitate a rethink on timescales, especially with many clubs unable to open their doors. We will be discussing this in detail at our Board Meeting next week and provide an update in due course.
However, should any club require assistance in gathering demographic information from members in support of an application, then we would be happy to assist.