Category Archives: From Bowls England

2021 SEASON COVID-19 CONTINGENCY PLAN APPROVED AT BE BOARD MEETING

With the start of the 2021 Bowls Season, the Bowls England Board has approved a robust Covid Contingency Plan which will enable the sport to better navigate through the government roadmap and get as many people back bowling as possible.

Whilst great progress has been made with the vaccination programme, it is clear that the 2021 season will be affected in some shape or form. A recent survey showed that the vast majority of players who responded are keen to return to the green this summer. With this in mind, the Bowls England team have reviewed the impact of Covid-19, with the aim of ensuring a safe return for all to our sport. The Covid Contingency plan, was shared with County Associations at the Annual General Meeting featuring plans to see the 2021 season taking place as normally as possible and leaving flexibility to react quickly and efficiently to what will no doubt be a fairly fluid situation. In undertaking this work, we have been mindful that the well‐being of our community is paramount and we must always ensure that we comply with all Covid‐19 government guidelines.

The plan features several key business areas. The most complex area of work is around the Competitions, Championships and National Finals. A number of factors have been taken into consideration including travel, accommodation, number of players, duty of care and spectators. This has included a review on the timings of the competition schedule, particularly the qualifying stages of national events, and the potential for regional variations. Other areas considered are Celebration Matches, Events and Affiliation. We had previously announced that we would be delaying the affiliation returns until 1st May 2021, allowing clubs and members more flexibility in renewing their membership.  In the International arena, whilst the British Isles Women’s Bowls Council and the British Isles Bowls Council have cancelled all International events for the 2021 season.  We still have plans and provision for a focused high performance programme to enable our athletes to get the best training and preparation for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Annual General Meeting of Bowls England took place on Saturday 27th February, with two delegates from each County Association entitled to attend. A full report including minutes and synopsis will be circulated in due course.

Looking ahead and recognising the positive impact that Bowls has on physical, mental and social wellbeing, we are continuing to collaborate with both clubs and counties on Bowls’ Big Weekend at the end of May. As a non-contact/socially distant outdoor sport we feel we will have a head start on many other leisure activities in the next few months and wish to capitalise on this opportunity. Bringing new people into the sport is going to be vital for the long-term future of our clubs. The Bowls’ Big Weekend Working Group has continued to meet regularly to progress our plans for the campaign. The comprises Bowls England, Bowls Development Alliance, British Crown Green, Coach Bowls, Disability Bowls England and a representative from the County Associations. Over the next couple of months in conjunction with our colleagues at the Bowls Development Alliance, we will be producing ‘Return to Play’ guidance ahead of the season that will take into account the latest Government requirements when published, including any relevant information on vaccinations.

The inaugural 2019 version of the Story of the Year was so successful, that the 2020 format will remain similar. With the hard work demonstrated by many club members throughout the Country during a difficult 2020 season, we hope to receive many deserving nominations. We are therefore, planning to release a final Shortlist, rather than determining the final winner. The shortlisted nominations will then be opened to online voting. The nomination process is now open – more information and the online nomination form can be found here. The deadline for entries is Monday 15th March.

To read the full minutes of the recent Board meeting, please click here.

 

BOWLS ENGLAND – 2021 SEASON PLANNING UPDATE

BOWLS ENGLAND – 2021 SEASON PLANNING UPDATE

Following last Saturday’s meeting and two further consultation sessions with our county colleagues,
we wanted to provide an update to our bowls community on plans for the 2021 season.

Our overriding objective remains leading the sport’s return to play and helping provide an
environment where all bowlers who wish to get on the greens, can do so in a safe manner. Insight
from a recent survey informs us that 90% of bowlers want to start playing again as soon as they are
able and we believe it is important for the health of our sport for it to get back up and running. We
have learnt a lot from 2020, bowls is a naturally socially-distanced, non-contact sport and the Covid19 roadmap gives us a structure with which to operate and facilitate getting back to bowls.

Bowls clubs and volunteers did a brilliant job last year to reopen safely following the first lockdown.
Working with our development arm, the Bowls Development Alliance, we commit to supporting
affiliated clubs to navigate through the regulations and overcoming any hurdles. Our hope is that
the overwhelming majority of clubs will be open, competitions will be taking place and we will have
adapted successfully to the requirements of the government guidance.

Return to Play

On Monday 8th March we will be attending a Sport England briefing on ‘Return to Play’ with sportspecific guidance expected from the government via DCMS by Monday 29th March, which is the
same day as Step 1 of the government roadmap. At Step 1 we expect affiliated clubs to be able to
open and play to return based on the ‘Rule of 6’ and from 12th April Step 2 is likely to allow outdoor
catering on site, changing rooms to be open and the easing of travel restrictions. Step 3 from
Monday 17th May means larger groups should be able to gather at clubs and inside catering to take
place with restrictions and, finally, Step 4 from Monday 21st June should allow the easing of all
restrictions.

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS NOT OFFICIAL GUIDANCE. As soon as we are in a position to provide full, DCMS
approved guidance for our affiliated clubs we will do. We are conscious there are lots of questions
and we are as eager as you for them to be answered. Please be patient and bear with us.

Back to Bowls for Affiliated Clubs

We will be working closely with our development arm, the Bowls Development Alliance (BDA), over
the coming weeks to help affiliated clubs to get back to bowls safely, to understand best practice
around the country and to give members of affiliated clubs and those wishing to try bowls
confidence. This work includes –

• ‘Return to Play’ guidance for affiliated clubs in order for them to create a safe environment
for the sport’s return

• Resources and best practice to support the safe running of clubs, including case studies of
Covid-friendly activity at clubs in 2020

• Online rink booking and cashless payments to make management of your club as easy as
possible

• Promotional material and funding advice to encourage new players and generate more
income

Affiliation Process
As clubs will be aware, the affiliation deadline changed this year because of the challenges of Covid19 and to give clubs more time to get their club open and members signed up. The deadline for
payment by county associations to Bowls England is 31st May.

To ensure that we can work effectively with affiliated clubs over the coming weeks, we will be
sending an online form to capture some basic information from each club. This will enable us to
send information to the right person, engage with you on ‘Return to Play’ guidance and Back to
Bowls support for your club, and also help us embellish our website Club Finder. With 40% of clubs
not having their own website or social channels, the Club Finder allows new players to locate clubs
and get in touch. With richer information on this page such as facility provision, disabled access and
opening times, it will provide a better experience for potential new bowlers.

Please keep your eye out for the registration form for affiliated clubs which will be sent out towards
the end of March.

National Competitions and Finals

Last summer, a very small proportion of competition bowlers returned to the sport with the
cancellation of the competition programme. Aligned to our core objective, our aim is to get as many
competition bowlers playing safely as possible. This will require a bit of imagination, adaptability
and a recognition that the season will look different to usual.

The government roadmap gives us a structure and we believe national championships and
competitions can take place in their entirety with –

• Matches involving greater numbers of people happening later in the summer when
restrictions are lifted

• The national finals starting later and taking place over a shorter time frame in order to free
up more time for qualification

• A shorter format in all rounds, including qualification rounds, in order to provide the
greatest flexibility for participants, clubs and counties when arranging fixtures

These changes are sympathetic with the findings from our recent player survey and competition
focus groups, but at this stage are for 2021 only to navigate through the challenges of Covid-19. We
will continue to consult competitions players on their experiences in order to ensure our
competitions programme delivers the best possible experience for players and attracts new
competition entrants.

The above will therefore mean –

• Changes to the qualification timings for different competitions

• Reduced number of qualifiers to the national finals in Championship events

• Later start date and reduced length of the national finals. The provisional dates are
Thursday 19th August to Sunday 5th September.

• Restrictions on numbers at the national finals in order to provide a safe environment for
players, officials and spectators.

We appreciate that the summer may feel different and not everyone will feel comfortable about
that, but we believe that this is the best approach for the competition programme and that the vast
majority will embrace these changes and enjoy getting back to competitive bowls. Unless a
competition does not start, we have no plans to return competition fees as we feel that entrants are
still receiving good value for their average £3.25 entrance fee and that the vast majority will
recognise the need for adaptability to ensure the competitions programme can take place in these
unprecedented times.

Please note that players must be affiliated to Bowls England by 1st May through their submission to
their county to participate in any of the national championships and competitions. We will provide a
more detailed update on the planned programme by the 24th March with national competition
draws revealed early in April.

National Open Weekend – 28th to 31st May

As you will be aware, this is a national initiative offering Bowls England affiliated clubs the
opportunity to promote our welcoming and socially-distanced sport and attract new members.

We know that 20% of new bowlers join our sport on the back of open weekends, that our clubs want
support to help recruit new players and that there are plenty of people out there who would love to
have a go at bowls. We will be waiving 2021 affiliation fees for any brand new bowler joining a club
on the back of the National Open Weekend.

Affiliated clubs who sign up will be able to access FREE resources, including bowls-specific workshops
to help run a great event and grow your club. In addition, publicity material and creative resources
for social media channels, websites and within your local community will be made available. It will
be supported by a national marketing campaign to help raise awareness of the events across the
country, and some clubs will get a visit from an England Commonwealth Games Squad bowler.

More information and registration details will be coming out very soon.

We hope this helps update you on the current position. The summer will feel a little different, as so
much of life has done in recent times, but our overriding feeling is of positivity that our season will
be able to start on time, that bowlers at all levels will be playing and that we will see new bowlers on
our greens this summer. We thank you in advance for appreciating what we are trying to achieve
and we hope we can all work together to make this a memorable season for all the right reasons.

Finally, just to reiterate, please be patient with us and your county in terms of receiving more
detailed information. We want to provide this as soon as possible but government approvals have
to be sought and work has to be done. Thank-you.

NOMINATE YOUR STORY OF THE YEAR FOR 2020

The annual Story of the Year Award, generously supported by Drakes Pride, recognises the outstanding achievement of bowls clubs and members across the county and promotes the hard work and dedication that goes into running a successful club.

In 2020 we saw many clubs respond to the challenges of Covid-19 by continually adapting their guidance to ensure a safe environment that encouraged members to get back onto the green.

Additionally, we saw the importance of looking after each other off the green come to the fore, with virtual catch-ups and social events such as quizzes and coffee mornings demonstrated by many clubs.

Has your club got a special story to tell, or did one of your members go ‘above and beyond’ in 2020? If so, then we want to hear from you.

All affiliated members, clubs and county associations are welcome to nominate anyone, or anything, which they feel has been of particularly great benefit to our sport in the last 12 months – with a host of great prizes for the winners including sets of bowls from Drakes Pride.

Further examples of nomination might include:

  • A club member who has installed a fresh, professional feel to the club website, or is actively using social media to engage, educate and inform members during the initial lockdown;
  • Someone who has been responsible for submitting funding applications to ensure the future of the club is in safe hands;
  • A group of members who have followed the necessary guidelines to ensure a safe return to the green last summer;
  • A member who has gone to special lengths to help their fellow bowlers, assisting those who are perhaps alone and unable to collect shopping or a prescription;
  • A successful ‘Let’s Roll!’ campaign, introducing new people to try our sport for the first time and encouraging a rise in participation.

Jon Cockcroft, Chief Executive of Bowls England, said: “When reflecting on 2020, it’s almost impossible to look beyond Covid-19 and its impact on our sport, however I am proud of the amazing efforts to support fellow bowlers in these difficult times. Many of our members have contributed to our sport by either getting back onto the green in a safe manner, or providing support away from the green.”

To submit a nomination, simply complete the form here – the closing date for entries is Monday 15th March.

We would like to thank Drakes Pride for their continued support.

BOWLS ENGLAND LOOKS FORWARD TO THE START OF THE 2021 OUTDOOR SEASON

Today’s roadmap for the easing of lockdown restrictions enables Bowls England, counties and affiliated clubs to prepare with confidence for the 2021 outdoor season.  The Prime Minister’s announcement confirmed that outdoor affiliated bowls clubs will be able to open from 29 March.

Our overriding objective is for as many bowlers as possible to enjoy our sport in a safe manner this summer.  Bowls is a naturally socially-distanced, non-contact activity and plays a key role in the mental and physical health of many across the country.  The positive prospects for the new season provides a great boost to bowlers and the sport in general.

Whilst the overwhelming majority of existing bowlers are eager to start playing and are likely to have received their first vaccine, we understand there is a degree of nervousness about returning to the sport.  We will be working alongside our development partner, the Bowls Development Alliance, to support affiliated clubs across the country to create Covid-safe environments, building on the fantastic efforts of many club leaders last year.  This work will include:

  • ‘Return to Play’ guidance for affiliated clubs
  • Resources and best practice to support the safe running of clubs
  • Online rink booking and cashless payments
  • Promotional material and funding advice

We also aim to facilitate as much domestic competition as possible.  We have developed a series of Covid-contingency scenarios and, with the information now available, will look to reshape our national competition schedule.  We will issue a further update on the championships and competitions programmes once we have had the opportunity to consult with counties and clubs on any potential changes.

Our National Open Weekend planning will continue and we believe there’s a good opportunity to encourage people, who are looking for a new fun, family outdoor activity, into our sport.  We will be working with affiliated clubs who sign up to empower them to deliver Open Weekend events that are Covid-safe and give new players a fantastic first experience.

Chief Executive, Jon Cockcroft, said: “With the roadmap laid out by the Prime Minister, we are excited about our sport’s prospects for the coming season.  With sensible interventions in place, bowls is a sport that can be enjoyed authentically and safely within the government guidelines and it will be a huge boost for the wellbeing of the bowls community to be playing the sport they love and connecting back in with their local communities.  We will be working in partnership with all stakeholders, notably affiliated clubs, to navigate through any challenges and, whilst mindful to retain a level of caution, are very excited about the outdoor bowls season beginning soon.”

We understand today’s developments will provoke a range of questions and we would ask people to bear with us as we work through the various implications.  As soon as we can, we will be issuing more detailed guidance on the Bowls England website.

Bowls England News: CLUBS CONTINUE TO RECEIVE FINANCIAL SUPPORT

“My advice to all clubs is to apply today – you’ve nothing to lose!”

Those are the words from Marldon BC’s treasurer Ray O’Brien, as bowls clubs across the country are continuing to benefit from the latest business support initiative offered by the government.

The funding enables clubs to receive one-off grants up to £9,000 to help survive the latest national lockdown in England.

Ray added: “We pay zero rates and also got a grant during the first round of funding opportunities. As we are part of the leisure sector we applied for the latest government grant which has also been accepted. It takes only 10 minutes to apply online.”

The grants are available to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors that have been forced to close their doors as a result of the pandemic and the payments will be based on the rateable value of the premises.

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value over £51,000

Pam Cook, treasurer of Topsham BC in Devon, also highlighted how straightforward the procedure has been to secure the grant, following our initial circulation on 22nd January.

She said: “The government’s support finder tool is very simple to follow and after ticking a few boxes gives us all of the information regarding the support schemes that we are able to apply for. Within less than two weeks we received notification that our application was successful for £6,000. Thank you to Bowls England for advising us of the latest opportunity to secure some additional funding for our club during the current pandemic.”

The help is in addition to business rates relief and the furlough scheme, which has been extended until the end of April.

Find out more about the government’s financial support schemes and use their business support finder tool to see what support you may be eligible for.

Sport England

Clubs who have been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions can also still apply to Sport England’s £16.5 million Return to Play Fund to help sustain them through the pandemic. Covid-19 has hit the sport and physical activity sector hard, so Sport England has modified its funding streams to help people safely return to play and are targeting the places they’ll have the biggest impact.

Due to the announcement of the new national lockdown measures, the programme has been adapted to help further. Organisations based in Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 1-5 can now seek support towards ongoing running costs – for example rent, utilities and insurance. Try out the Sport England fund chooser tool to find out which of our funds your project may be eligible for.

Bowls England

We help our affiliated clubs to find out more information on the funding opportunities available to them by providing a dedicated facility to enable affiliated clubs to search for potential grant funding opportunities. Registration will give you immediate, free and unrestricted access to our comprehensive database of funding opportunities and business advice services. You can browse or search for funding, generate reports, access news items in full and set up alerts to receive updates regarding suitable funding opportunities as and when they become available.

Click here to view our latest Funding Guide [Updated: January 2021]

For more information on any funding opportunities please contact our Club and County Support Advisor, John Hughes, on 07879 812416 or email email hidden; JavaScript is required and he would be pleased to assist you.

If your club has been successful with any funding initiative, we’d love to hear from you so that we can share with other clubs. Drop us an email to email hidden; JavaScript is required

Matt Wordingham
Content Officer

STATEMENT: BRITISH ISLES BOWLS EVENTS – 2021

The British Isles Bowls Council (BIBC) and British Isles Women’s Bowls Council (BIWBC) have today announced the cancellation of all events for the 2021 season. The decision reflects the challenges related to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and has been made to enable more grassroots bowlers to enjoy the sport this summer.

Whilst we remain positive that people will be out on the greens this summer, the international series and championships necessitate an extra level of logistical planning and delivery for players, spectators and officials. Given these extra considerations, particularly around international travel and the varying restrictions across Britain expected to continue for months, it was not viable to continue without damaging the integrity of the events.

All nations agreed that the early decision was important to provide clarity to players and spectators, give every nation the opportunity to make the most of their domestic calendar and provide much-needed support to clubs.

No decision has been taken on British Isles events for 2022 as this will form part of a wider review taking into account a number of considerations including the Commonwealth Games taking place at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa.

Bowls England statement: “It was with a heavy heart that we supported the decision to cancel all of these events, however it is undoubtedly the right one. The concerns over travel and accommodation for large numbers of people made this decision inevitable.

“Domestically we remain confident that, thanks to the rollout of the vaccine and our experience from last season of bowling taking place in a Covid-friendly manner, people will be out playing in England at an early date. We are still planning for a full competitive season including national competitions and national championships, however we are working on a number of contingencies should there be a need to delay the start date. The cancellation of the British Isles events will provide opportunity for more flexibility in the calendar should the need arise.

“We also recognise that it is important for us to provide opportunities for new people to try our sport and enjoy its many physical and social benefits, and we are continuing work on our first-ever National Open Weekend from Friday 28th to Monday 31st May. We were one of the first sports to ‘open’ in 2020 and we will be working with clubs to help people get back to bowls and welcome newcomers into our sport.”

Notes:
The members of the BIBC are: Bowls England; Irish Bowling Association; Bowls Guernsey; Bowls Jersey; Bowls Scotland; Welsh Bowling Association

The members of the BIWBC are: Bowls England; Irish Women’s Bowling Association; Bowls Jersey; Bowls Scotland; Welsh Women’s Bowling Association

Coach Bowls release dates of new courses

Coach Bowls has now released the new Level 1 and 2 online courses. The final assessment dates/times are yet to be fixed.

Please see http://coachbowls.org/course-bookings

Any questions then please contact me on at email hidden; JavaScript is required

Keep safe

Nigel Morgan

Closing date for ordering the BE Annual report is the 1st February

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

The 20-page (now 36 pages) 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.

NEW FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE FOR BOWLS CLUBS

Bowls clubs could access one-off business support grants of up to £9,000 to help them survive the latest national lockdown in England.

The grants are available now to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors that have been forced to close their doors as a result of the pandemic and the payments will be based on the rateable value of the premises.

• £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
• £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
• £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value over £51,000

The help is in addition to business rates relief and the furlough scheme, which has been extended until the end of April.

Find out more about the government’s financial support schemes and use their business support finder tool to see what support you may be eligible for.

Don’t forget, clubs who have been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions can also still apply to Sport England’s £16.5 million Return to Play Fund to help sustain them through the pandemic. Covid-19 has hit the sport and physical activity sector hard, so Sport England has modified its funding streams to help people safely return to play and are targeting the places they’ll have the biggest impact.

Due to the announcement of the new national lockdown measures, the programme has been adapted to help further. Organisations based in Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 1-5 can now seek support towards ongoing running costs – for example rent, utilities and insurance. Try out the Sport England fund chooser tool to find out which of our funds your project may be eligible for.

Click here to view our latest Funding Guide [Updated: January 2021] and also dedicated page on the BE website