Author Archives: Gerald Webb

Bowls England News: SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS – BACK TO BOWLS

As we enter a New Year, it’s time to look ahead positively to the 2021 outdoor bowls season.

Last year proved there is a great appetite for people to enjoy our sport in a Covid-friendly manner. Those clubs who did open their doors provided a hub within their community for their members and experienced good levels of participation.

We know that the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions have had a huge impact on people’s ability to play bowls.  We know you have received a few surveys from us recently but this very short one will enable us to recognise how you are feeling and what support is needed to return, whilst building a national understanding of how different groups would prefer to be supported.

Jon Cockcroft, Bowls England Chief Executive, said: “When reflecting on 2020, it’s almost impossible to look beyond Covid-19 and its impact on our sport. Many outdoor bowls clubs remained closed, thousands of bowlers did not pick up a bowl in anger, the competitive season as we know it did not happen and the sport was affected financially at all levels of our game.

“We want to do everything possible to ensure that clubs can reopen safely in 2021 and that the bowling community can get back to bowls with confidence. Your feedback will be valuable to support the work are undertaking, in conjunction with the Bowls Development Alliance and the British Crown Green Bowling Association, to help make this happen.”

The survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete and thank you in advance for your valuable contribution us to ensure that we can help to get you back on the green. Deadline for completed surveys is Sunday 28th February.

Click here to complete the survey

 

Public urged to be vigilant to scam vaccine messages

Following reports in other parts of the country we are warning the public to be wary of messages claiming to be from the NHS asking the recipient to apply for their vaccine.

At a time when people are already feeling anxious and eagerly awaiting details of the impending vaccine, scammers are using this to their advantage to commit fraud. If you receive such a text, don’t follow the link or share any personal or financial details. The link will take you through to a fake NHS website which is purposefully designed to exploit vulnerable people.

Fraudsters have tried to use the vaccine as a convincing subject to hook potential victims since the pandemic began. Thankfully reports have been relatively low, however there has been an increase in the last two months. The vaccine roll-out brings further hope of fighting coronavirus and keeping people safe. Now that this is imminent and has been so widely covered, some people may be more easily misled.

You will be contacted by the NHS when you’re invited to receive the vaccine which will be offered in some hospitals, some pharmacies and hundreds of local vaccination centres run by GPs. Remember that the vaccine is free of charge, at no point will you be asked for payment details.

Detective Sergeant Sean Tregunna commented: “Although we’ve not been made aware of any cases in Wiltshire yet, it’s likely to only be a matter of time before we are. The text message some people have received was shared on social media over the Christmas period and although this does help to raise awareness of the issue, the most vulnerable may not be on social media themselves so we’re asking people to share the information and warn their friends and family.

“The same scam has also been reported as being conducted over the phone, the caller often asks for a number to be pressed on their keypad, resulting in a charge likely being added to their phone bill, so you simply need to hang up.

“We’re keen to prevent as many people falling victim to these scams as possible and urge people to not only share the warning but if they do receive a suspicious text, forward it to 7726 which is free of charge.”

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call on 0300 123 2040.

Message Sent By
Sian Rivers (Police, Communications Officer, HQ)

Bowls England News: Annual Report Now Available to Pre-Order

The Bowls England Annual Report, which will cover the 2019/20 financial year, is now available for online pre-order.

The 20-page publication, which replaces the Annual Yearbook for 2021, includes all information relating to Bowls England’s financial activity over the aforementioned 12-month period.

It also includes a preview of our 2021-2025 strategy, focussing on the key objectives and priorities moving forward.

The Annual Report is available for just £3.50, including postage and packaging, with orders being taken until 1st February. Reports will be posted week commencing Monday 15th February.

Click here to pre-order your copy

Please note: The Annual Report will be available in digital form on the Bowls England website.

A message from June Corbett BW Chairperson

This year for everyone has been really awful, not being able to meet up with family and friends, curtailment of sports and leisure that we usually enjoyed, and most of all the loss of those who meant so much to family and friends alike.

I do hope that Christmas offered some relief from all the restrictions albeit for one day only.

Now that the Oxford vaccine has been approved we can only hope that there will be more improvement in eradicating this horrible virus and we will soon be back to some form of normality. In the meantime I wish that you all stay safe and keep well.

A very Happy New Year to you all and hope its not too long before we meet up again.

June Corbett

Chair Bowls Wiltshire

BOWLS ENGLAND OFFICE CHRISTMAS TIMINGS

The Bowls England and Coach Bowls teams will be taking a break from 12 noon on Thursday 24 December 2020 and returning refreshed at 9am on Monday 4 January 2021.  During this period, if you send an email we will respond to it upon our return.

 Whilst we will be closed at this time for routine bowls business, we know this will be a very different, and perhaps difficult, festive period for some in our bowls family.  So, as a little gesture, the staff team will be making itself available on both Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th December between 9am and 3pm for any bowler who might feel a little isolated this Christmas and simply fancies a chat.  Our expertise doesn’t stretch much beyond bowls and general conversation, but if you’d like a little pick-me-up, want to hear a friendly voice or perhaps share your bowls stories with us, please get in touch on 01926 334609.

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.

National Open Weekend 2021 Club Information

The response to the announcement of the National Open Weekend 2021 has been fantastic. We have already heard from clubs who are putting events into their diaries, counties who are engaging their representative players to endorse the campaign, as well as county associations who are creating working groups to support their clubs.

From the feedback so far we felt it important to update you and your clubs on the progress to date, what you can expect from Bowls England in the lead up, and, what your club could be focussing on at this stage.

What have Bowls England done so far?

  • Initial and continued consultation with clubs, counties and partner organisations including Bowls Development Alliance, Coach Bowls, Disability Bowls England, and BCGBA.
  • Begun consulting with creative campaign designers to produce the brand, imagery and template marketing materials.
  • Received buy-in from all of the Commonwealth Games squad who will attend and support events over the weekend.
  • Confirmed investment from the Bowls England board to support the campaign and clubs.

What support will our clubs receive in the lead up to the campaign?

  • A club guide with step by step advice on planning, delivery and follow up of an open event.
  • A variety of editable marketing templates such as flyers and banners.
  • Digital marketing templates to be used online and on social media e.g. Facebook, Nextdoor.
  • Training/Guidance/Tips for club volunteers to access in the build up to the campaign.

What can clubs begin to do now?

  • Put an event (or 2, or 3!) in your diary for the bank holiday weekend of 28th-31st May 2021.
  • Engage with your club members, start to build a team who can deliver the event and support the club.
  • Contact your local media/community groups/businesses and build these relationships ready for the start of our season.
  • Collaborate with local clubs to give as much coverage over the weekend as possible, ensuring you have opportunities for people at various times over the weekend.

BOWLS ENGLAND PLANS TO BOUNCE-BACK FROM £600,000 COVID-19 LOSS

At its recent meeting, the End of Year Accounts were approved by the Board of Directors and will now be submitted to Companies House.  Bowls England will record losses for the 2019/20 financial year of just short of £600,000.  Full details will be published in the Annual Report which will be available digitally.  A hard copy version can be pre-ordered online from Monday 28th December.  Click here to pre-order yours.

When the Coronavirus pandemic took hold in March, two key decisions were made.  Motivated by a desire to protect the well-being of clubs and the sport, Bowls England chose to return approximately £500,000 of club affiliation income and did not take up the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The decision not to ‘furlough’ enabled the Bowls England staff team to provide valuable Coronavirus guidance and support to outdoor bowls clubs many of which successfully re-opened in June, albeit in a compromised fashion.  Alongside our development arm, the Bowls Development Alliance, the team also helped clubs access over £2m of government financial support and delivered our first national marketing campaign, Let’s Roll, which attracted new people into the sport.

Outside direct club support, the time has been used very effectively to deliver a comprehensive insight and consultation programme, which has informed a new five-year strategy to be launched in early 2021.  Thank-you to the thousands of bowlers who have contributed through surveys and focus groups.  If you would like to be one of the first to read our 2021-25 strategy, please sign up to the Bowls England e–newsletter.

Linked to this strategy, the board discussed its people resource and agreed it was imperative that the organisation has the capacity and capability to deliver the new strategy.  To that end, a proposed reorganization of the staff team was approved and it was agreed that a consultation process was to begin.  This is ongoing, but Bowls England is now in a position to recruit four new roles – Head of Communications, Events and Competitions Officer, Marketing Officer and People and Governance Officer.  Please find the full job descriptions here for those who wish to apply and help push our sport forward.

Also at the meeting, the board reviewed the Chief Executive’s Operational Update and November Management Accounts.  Key points of note were the positive closer working relationship with the Bowls Development Alliance, a successful International Performance Weekend meeting and Annual Counties meeting both of which were conducted remotely and a potential risk around the numbers of athletes within the Team England Birmingham 2022 squad which may adversely affect bowls.  This was one of a number of risks that the board discussed later in the meeting when a new Risk Register was shared.  Following feedback, this will be evolved and will be a standing item on future meetings allowing the board to assess and manage risk.

Finally, congratulations to Mal Evans and Adam Tanner who were re-elected to the board positions of Director of Coaching and Development respectively.  They begin new three year terms.  Adam Tanner recently recorded a podcast on the important subject of GDPR, which is available here.

There is no doubt this has been a challenging year for everyone and it is important for the health of the sport that some form of normality returns for the start of the 2021 outdoor season.  We look forward to working with everyone who cares about the game to achieve this.  In the meantime, Bowls England would like to wish the whole bowls community a very Merry Xmas and a happy, healthy New Year.

 

Bowls England Update: NEW COVID ALERT LEVELS – GUIDANCE FOR OUTDOOR BOWLS CLUBS

We are aware that many of our clubs with artificial surfaces are keen to return to the green following the Government’s introduction of a new three-tier system to control Covid-19. We are therefore pleased to provide this short update to our members, which should be read in conjunction with our earlier guidance issued on 18th September 2020.

Government guidance published today (Wednesday 2nd December 2020) advises that organised outdoor sport is permitted in all three tiers therefore organised outdoor bowls can return at all COVID-19 alert levels within the rule of six, permitting play without restriction on number of households. In providing this advice, we do recommend that all participants (particularly those within Tier 3) display additional vigilance and avoid close proximity with anyone outside their household/bubble.

The following revised guidance applies to those clubs with bars/restaurants:

Tier One: MEDIUM RISK

Club bars and restaurants are permitted to be open under the rule of 6, but with table service only, between the hours of 5am to 11pm. Last orders have to be at 10pm with all guests leaving the venue by 11pm.

Tier Two: HIGH RISK

Club bars and restaurants can remain open between the hours of 5am to 11pm but are only allowed to have people from the same household / support bubble on a table. Alcohol is only permitted to be sold with a substantial meal. Last orders have to be at 10pm with guest leaving the venue by 11pm.

Tier Three: VERY HIGH RISK

Club bars and restaurants will not be allowed to open but are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect or delivery services.

To see which level of risk applies to you/your club please use the Government’s post code tracker.

We remind all clubs that items may be adapted as necessary to meet your club’s specific circumstances, so long as your actions remain consistent with the latest Government guidance and that the Government guidance on social distancing is adhered to at all times.

The Government will be reviewing the areas within each Tier on 16th December 2020. To ensure you receive the latest updates from Bowls England, sign up to our e-newsletter now.

 

 

ADDITIONAL FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR BOWLS CLUBS

Sport England has opened a £16.5m ‘Return to Play’ Fund, in addition to regular funding streams, which have been affected by the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

There are three parts to this new fund – Small Grants and the Community Asset Fund, which have been adapted from pre-coronavirus funds, and Active Together crowdfunding, which has been extended – with all three now focusing on a safe return to play and narrowing the inequalities gap in sport and physical activity.

The new funding opportunities start from £300 to cover the costs incurred by having to deliver activity in smaller groups than normal, or having the correct hygiene and safety equipment, up to £50,000 to cover the costs incurred by converting existing space to meet social distancing guidelines, or improving a facility’s ventilation.

Active Together is a crowdfunding initiative that can match fund, up to £10,000, successful Crowdfunder campaigns from a total pot of £1.5m. With expert advice and guidance to support you, this will help local clubs and organisations to run their own crowdfunding campaigns, such as Boroughbridge Bowls Club in Yorkshire who raised over £1,000 in just five days.

For more information and to use Sport England’s simple fund chooser tool to find out which of the funds your club may be eligible to apply for, check out the Sport England website. We know that applying for funding for the first time can seem a little daunting, but the Sport England website will guide you to the appropriate fund and explain exactly what you need to do.

Businesses that are required to close during this national lockdown period, including sports facilities, are also eligible for grants from the government of up to £3,000 per month. The Local Restrictions Support Grant supports businesses that have been required to close due to temporary local restrictions.

For more information, visit the government’s eligibility criteria on its website. These grants are paid through local authorities, so we also suggest making contact with your local council to ask them how you can apply.

You can also check out the dedicated funding webpage on our website which outlines just some of the additional financial support that is available from a wide range of sources.

Bowls England