Congratulations to Scott Morland of Darlington South Park BC in Durham, who has been voted Bowls England’s 2020 Story of the Year!
Over the past two years, Darlington South Park BC has risen from the ashes of a club on the verge of extinction, with just a handful of members, to become a thriving and successful forward-thinking club driven by a dynamic secretary and committee.
Our annual Award, generously supported by Drakes Pride, recognises the outstanding achievement of bowls clubs and members across the country and promotes the hard work and dedication that goes into running a successful club.
Scott beat off stiff competition from Biddenden BC (Kent), Clanfield Bowls & Sports Club (Hampshire), Chris Dennis (Branksome Park BC, Dorset) and Neil Hancock (Little Compton BC, Warwickshire).
When hearing about his success, Scott said: “I am absolutely delighted to have our work recognised, I must thank all of the club members as we couldn’t have achieved the success over the last 12 months in particular without their support.
“Our membership now comprises of a broad spectrum of the local community, and our work with disadvantaged members of society including those with disabilities has only just begun. This must continue, especially now Covid has created an even bigger imbalance in society.
“Our success is obviously down to a lot of promoting through social media and the willing volunteers that give us their time free time to implement the ideas and plans, however the importance of working with local community groups can’t be underestimated. Our work and meetings with local minority and ethnic communities as well as the LGBT+ community opens new doors to the sport. The key is trying to make a comfortable environment, so everyone in the community feels welcome.
“Our sport’s image is changing but there’s a lot of work still to do, and it’s great to see the efforts all over the country from people trying to improve and diversify what they are offering to the public.
“Our own Inclusion Project is a long-term plan and we really hope we can encourage change further afield than just at South Park and with the continued support of the bowling world. We all love this sport and by sharing it and taking away barriers, and being more flexible we have the potential to grow very quickly.”
The club now boasts a membership which is just shy of 120 and is celebrating its 125th Anniversary this year. As part of their celebrations, the club is entering into partnerships with local community groups such as Arcus (LGBT+ Awareness), Alzheimers Association, Prevent, Darlington Council, More in Common, Keylink (Disability Group) and the BAME Community, and has invited bowlers and clubs to join training information events to promote the inclusiveness in bowls.
Jon Cockcroft, Bowls England Chief Executive, added: “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 by many of our clubs to support fellow bowlers in these difficult times.
“Scott’s efforts over the past 12 months in particular at Darlington South Park have certainly not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. All at Bowls England wish to congratulate Scott, the other finalists and everyone who took the time to vote for these remarkable stories, as well as Drakes Pride for their continued support of the Story of the Year award.”
Over 100 nominations were received for the 2020 Story of the Year, all highlighting the incredible efforts that individual members and clubs have gone ‘above and beyond’ during the challenging times.
All five finalists will receive some great prizes from our generous supporters, Drakes Pride.