Category Archives: Newsflash

Short ‘News’ posts designed to appear on the home page ‘News ticker’..


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

The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust

I am a bowling member at Alderbury Bowls Club.  I am also one of three operators for the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust.  Living in Devizes I am sure that you are aware of the Charity as we are based at Devizes Police station in New Park Street.

The Charity has been running since 1998 and in that time we have visited in excess of 25,000 properties across Wiltshire and Swindon to offer Crime prevention advice and practical crime prevention help to people aged 60 or over (or 18 plus with a disability). We are in a position to change locks, fit door chains and ‘spy holes’, window restrictors, and many other items to make their property secure.  It is a FREE service.  Whilst at a property we can also complete a Fire Risk Assessment on behalf of Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue service and fit Smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms, again Free of charge.  The Charity also offers a ‘Stay Safe on Line’ service to keep people safe on the computer and other mobile devices. Again it is a free service.

I am contacting you now as in the past many of our referrals have come as a result of talks that we give to community groups, but with Covid these have all been cancelled. Consequently we find ourselves in a position where we can offer our services to additional groups.

Many bowlers, myself included, are on the older side of 60 so would fit our criteria for a security visit.  I was wondering if you could perhaps circulate our details to Bowls Clubs across the County with a view to raising our profile and service amongst bowling and social club members.

I have included a link to our website if you would like more information or give me or the office a call on the numbers below we could answer an of your questions.

Many thanks for your time

Mick Leighfield  8920

The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust (Registered Charity No 1153790)

Devizes Police Station

New Park Street


SN10 1DZ

01380 861155.


We are aware that some of our clubs, particularly those with artificial surfaces, have been continuing to enjoy our sport in a Covid-friendly manner.

However, the Government has announced that all indoor and outdoor leisure facilities must close from Thursday 5th November as part of the national lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19. Therefore no outdoor bowling activity will be permitted from this date and clubs must remain closed for any other non-bowling activity, for example meetings and social events.

We are aware that some clubs are also seeking advice on greens maintenance. The Government guidance is that where people cannot work from home they should continue to travel to work/attend their workplace and therefore we advise that essential greens maintenance work can continue. The Government advises that the risk of transmission can be substantially reduced by following COVID-secure guidelines closely.

The new measures will apply nationally for four weeks up to Wednesday 2nd December. At the end of this period, the Government will look to return to a regional approach, based on the latest data, and we shall advise clubs further at that stage.

Full details on the new national restrictions can be viewed here.

Helen Joy Snell – a message from Dave

Stephen, Joanne & Michael, Michael & Danielle and Myself wish to offer our sincere thanks for all the lovely sympathy cards that we all received after the passing of Helen.

 Also, a big thank you for those Members and Friends who kindly donated towards the collection for the Swindon Multiple Sclerosis Society, the total so far is £1185.00.

 Helen’s wake was special as we all celebrated her life although it was cut short and my family would like to thank Sally & Alan for organising the refreshments and to Chris for keeping us from dehydration.

 As you know Helen passed very suddenly and it was difficult for all the family to digest at the time, but we all received many phone calls and texts offering support which we all very much appreciated.

 Many of you would be aware that all of my children when growing up with Helen and myself spent numerous days at the ‘Bowls Club’ over the last forty years playing bowls, enjoying the friendly atmosphere and the fantastic social events which Helen really enjoyed, memories that will not be forgotten.

 Once again thanks to you all.

Birmingham 2022 Medal Programme to make global sport history

The medal event programme, published today, confirms there will be 136 medal events for women and 134 for men with a total of 11 lawn bowls medal events – singles, pairs, triples, fours and para pairs for both genders plus a visually impaired mixed pairs.  In total 78 medals will be presented across the Lawn Bowls disciplines, 39 to both men and women.

It is hoped the changes made to the Para Lawn Bowls competition will inspire more women with disabilities give the sport a go, one of many ambitions to leverage Birmingham 2022 to get more people playing bowls.

England’s Natalie Chestney, who won the women’s singles gold medal at Delhi in 2010 and is bidding for success in 2022 with Team England, said: “I’m proud that Birmingham 2022 provides women’s sport such a huge platform. The Lawn Bowls programme in particular shows just how inclusive and accessible our sport is, and our ambition is to inspire current and future participants to follow in our footsteps.”

The Lawn Bowls events will run for nine consecutive days at Victoria Park from Friday 29th July to Saturday 6th August inclusive.

Ian Reid, CEO of Birmingham 2022, said: “Our event programme has been specifically designed to reach new audiences and champion the growth of women’s sport. I am certain that fans will come in their droves to cheer on the most diverse range of events ever held at a Commonwealth Games, showcasing more female and para athletes than ever before.”

The Birmingham 2022 medals milestone is being marked today (Wednesday 21st October) with a day of special talks entitled “It’s Our Time”, broadcast on the Birmingham 2022 Facebook and LinkedIn pages featuring past, present and future stars of British sport. Across the day, they will discuss the role of women’s sport in striving for equality, what Birmingham 2022 is doing to advance the profile of women’s and para sport, and what still needs to be done to ensure equal representation in the industry.

Head to Birmingham 2022’s Facebook page to tune in

Sign up to our e-newsletter to be one of the first to hear about tickets and volunteering opportunities for Birmingham 2022.


Notes to editors:

  • The medal event programme is correct as of October 2020 but is subject to change
  • The daily schedule for Birmingham 2022, outlining which sports will be held on each of the 11 days of competition, was revealed last week and is available to view at


The daily schedule for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has been released today, with the organisers confirming the summer of 2022 is set for a spectacular home Games.

The lawn bowls action will run for nine consecutive days, commencing at Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa, on Friday 29th July through until Saturday 6th August.

The Games, the largest sports event to be held in UK since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, will feature 19 sports, with eight para sports integrated into the programme, creating the biggest para sports offering in Commonwealth Games history.

John Mc Guinness, Bowls England High Performance Director, has welcomed the announcement: “Our preparations for the 2022 Commonwealth Games are well underway and confirmation of these dates are paramount as our planning for the Games accelerates. The High Performance Squad spent an invaluable weekend at Loughborough University recently, taking advantage of the world-class facilities and expertise that they have to offer in order to launch our sports science programme. The home Commonwealth Games provides us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to showcase our sport and it’s vital that we prepare as best as we possibly can.”

Birmingham 2022 will be the Games for everyone, bringing people together from across Birmingham and the region, to provide a warm welcome to millions of visitors during the summer of 2022.

Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage said: “The unveiling of the daily schedule marks another important milestone as we look towards the Games in 2022. It’s great to see that for the first time ever at a Commonwealth Games, there will be two full weekends of sport offering more opportunities for everyone to experience Birmingham 2022.”

Following a slight change to dates earlier in the year, with the Games moving by a day to help accommodate amendments to the international sporting calendar, brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, Birmingham 2022 will now begin with a spectacular opening ceremony on Thursday 28th July. The closing ceremony for the Games will now take place on Monday 8th August.

The Commonwealth Games Federation’s CEO, David Grevemberg, said: “My message to Commonwealth Sport fans around the globe is simple: Get Excited! This innovative and exciting sports schedule highlights exceptional partnership working from so many stakeholders to ensure the UK stages a fantastic, celebratory summer of sport in 2022. For athletes and spectators, Birmingham 2022 will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of something truly special for the city, the region, the country and the entire Commonwealth. I hope all of you out there embrace this opportunity to be part of a Games for everyone.”

As part of the governing body’s strategy development, it is exploring how Birmingham 2022 will be a catalyst to generate greater visibility for the sport, inspire people of all ages and abilities to try bowls and be a spring board for more people spectating at the top matches.

A more detailed version of the schedule, to include a session by session breakdown, will be unveiled in the coming months.

Sign up to our e-newsletter to be one of the first to hear about tickets and volunteering opportunities for Birmingham 2022.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering opportunities at Bowls England events ahead of 2022, please email hidden; JavaScript is required.


As the winter woollies are dusted off, our radiators stir into life and the lawn gets a final cut, it’s timely to reflect on the 2020 bowls season.  For some it never started, for others it was their first season.  Some felt frustrated not to play competitively, others felt invigorated by a means of meeting up with friends.  Nobody imagined a season like the one that is now drawing to a close, and our hearts go out those who have experienced personal loss from Covid-19.

Whatever your experiences and circumstances, I wanted to share a few thoughts on behalf of Bowls England.  I am particularly eager to thank all those of you who had the energy and spirit to make the very best of this unusual season – the green-keepers, the sanitizer-buyers, the book-keepers, the bar staff, the coaches, the equipment cleaners and many more.  You are the lifeblood of our sport and your efforts are appreciated.  To all the players who made it out onto the greens, I trust you enjoyed being out in the fresh air, spending time with friends and renewing your challenge with the game.  To those who didn’t play this summer, we will be here when you are ready to return.

Four months into the role of Bowls England Chief Executive, I am hugely positive and optimistic about what’s ahead for our sport.   Benjamin Franklin once said, “Through adversity comes opportunity” and I believe it won’t be the adversity of Covid-19 that determines our destiny, it will be the manner in which we react to it.

In spite of the effects of Covid-19, this season has evidenced bowls’ capability and capacity to grow.  Many clubs have seen an influx of new players as the way people consumed our sport changed.  The Let’s Roll campaign has delivered hundreds of new club members and raised the awareness of our sport among thousands of prospective players.  When we surveyed non-bowlers, 86% of people had heard of bowls and 37% of those would be interested in playing in the future.  Most want to play for a couple of hours each week, many purely on a social basis.  We have a massive opportunity to increase our participant base by enabling people to enjoy our sport in bite-sized chunks, complementary to their work and family commitments.

Furthermore, the global pandemic has forced us all to do things differently and, whilst that has sometimes been difficult, it has also been eye-opening.  Remote working, more time spent locally, a greater focus on health and wellbeing and an increase in digital communications are some of the many changes to which we have all become accustomed.  I believe bowls has to embrace these developments and try to take advantage of this new environment.  Whether it be building on our wider use of technology to save the sport time and money or harnessing our natural strengths of being family-friendly, local, non-contact and relatively Covid-safe, let’s come together and make the best of it.

This summer has evidenced the value of National Governing Bodies across sport.  We regulate the environment in which a sport is played, develop its volunteers and infrastructure, promote its qualities, manage competitions and international teams and channel external funding and support, amongst many other things.  Bowls England is proud to have received so much positive feedback on our response to Covid-19, and we will build on this platform of engagement to heighten the regard in which we are held by our members.  We take our responsibilities seriously and want to live up to the high expectations people rightly have of us.

To this end, Bowls England has plenty planned for the off-season.  We will be exploring the broadening of our member services, developing a National Open Weekend concept for the 2021 Spring Bank Holiday to recruit new bowlers, planning for the competition season, progressing our governance work with advent of a new Working Party, improving our communications and identifying how we maximize Birmingham 2022.  If your club has not completed our Annual Club Survey, we hope you will spare a few minutes as your input will help shape this work and also contribute to the Bowls England strategy which will be launched in the New Year.

Thanks again for all your efforts during what will hopefully prove to be a unique summer for bowls.  Please stay in touch with Bowls England over the coming months by following our social media channels or by signing up to our e-newsletter.  Whether it be club finances or website development, the off-season provides a great opportunity to make progress in areas of club management and mitigate some of the damage that Covid-19 has done.  Our staff team are only an email or phone-call away, and are here to support.

To close, in the short time I have been at Bowls England, I have been inspired by the passion and energy that so many within our sport display.  The richly-deserved MBEs for Ellen Falkner and Maggy Smith shine a light on just that.  At club, county and international level we are united by our desire to see bowls flourish and are proud of the compelling, friendly, addictive and accessible nature of our sport.  It’s time to let more people in on our secret!

Stay safe, winter well and ‘roll on’ 2021.


Jon shared thoughts on a range of topics for a podcast recorded this summer. Click here to have a listen.




 Margaret Smith, who has been involved in disability bowls for more than 25 years, has been awarded an MBE.

‘Maggy’, who has been bowling since the late 1980s, first saw the opportunity to assist disabled bowlers at her home club, Gedling IBC in Nottinghamshire, just a couple of years after taking up the sport herself.

“I noticed a group of bowlers with cerebral palsy playing and offered to help push the wheelchairs,” said Maggy, who recently retired as secretary of Disability Bowls England after 16 years in the role.

“At that time, we had to put sheets of hardboard down for the wheelchairs to stand on whilst the bowls were being delivered – there were no ‘special’ bowling chairs with broad wheels. We had to take the bowlers off the green, wheel along the side and then back on to the boards at the other end. This was the beginning for me!”

One of Maggy’s first experiences on the international scene was as part of the support team for Team GB’s lawn bowls squad at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games.

“We brought back six of the seven Gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals from the Games – it was a great moment. Sadly, when the team went out there to compete we knew this would be the last time bowls would be included in the Paralympics,” she said.

Maggy was part of the working party who set up and formed International Bowls for the Disabled (IBD) and she was voted into the position of Vice President.

At the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002 she was appointed Technical Officer for the Disability Bowls event by IBD and also appointed by Tony Allcock to the England team of bowlers with disability.

In England, Maggy has been responsible for getting the different disability specific sports groups to bring together their bowls squads to form Disability Bowls England, initially for communication, training and competition purposes both at a domestic and international level.

“The fact that disability bowls is seen to be worthy of such an award as this should endorse this as a ‘Sport for All’ and hopefully, bowls participation will grow,” Maggy said.

“Bowls is good for the mind, body and social interaction – it is the most inclusive sport that I can think of. Anyone can play! You can compete with and against anyone irrelevant of age, gender and disability, you can play at any level depending on your ability. It’s a great social pastime and played by lovely people.”

Bob Love, who won a bronze medal for Team England at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, nominated Margaret for the Honour. He said: “Maggy has been organiser, fundraiser and administrator for many competitions regionally, nationally and internationally.

“In 2012 she was awarded the Order of Merit by the IBD and was the Disability Bowls Co-ordinator for the England Bowls Team for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002. Maggy is one of those, often, unsung people who, despite their own personal circumstances continue to thrive to provide high quality competitions for bowlers with a disability.

“She fights hard to ensure that opportunities exist for all, irrespective of impairment, individual circumstances and backgrounds and she will never settle for second best. She is one of the most respected people and this award is proof of her never-ending commitment to this great sport of ours.”

Bowls England would like to thank Bowls International for their association with this production of this article. Click here to purchase the October edition of the magazine.