Growing a bowls club – Kyabram BC’s plan

by Team BV

To grow, you’ve usually got to invest.
So Kyabram Bowls Club is doing exactly that as it attempts to grow its membership, lift the profile of bowls in the town, and importantly, ensure the club lives long beyond those currently in charge.

“We just don’t have enough people capable or willing enough to be able to do all the jobs we need to expand our club to ensure we have some sort of future,” says  Kyabram BC vice-president Rob Sceney.
“In the next 10 to 15 years, 85% of what we have (membership) will be gone.  If we don’t bring people in now, 20 to 25 years down the track, there won’t be a bowls club.”

Growing membership is a key issue facing all clubs, not just Kyabram.  It’s a multi-faceted approach; bringing in schoolchildren, baby boomers, those in a local community looking for a sport and the growing social bowls movement.
Kyabram has taken the big step of employing someone to do this – seeing the investment as a wise one to grow and build the club and easing the load on volunteers.
They’re hiring a Development Officer, whose brief will be to work with people from all areas of the community to improve participation numbers in bowls.
It’s a juggling act which will require liaising with schools, business, community and other sporting clubs
“All the resources of the Kyabram Bowls Club will be available to the Bowls Development Officer including personnel – coaches, committee, all members’ time and help,” Sceney says.
“We need somebody who’s prepared to get out the info on who we are, into the community. All clubs struggle for membership – cricket, footy, the lot. If we don’t have someone out in the community to spread our message, we fall behind all the other sports.”
Already Kyabram is doing good work with two of its local schools – St Augustine’s and Kyabram P-12 College.
Both schools bring students in for a bowl during the week, with volunteers helping out.
Kyabram also has plans to attract more women to the sport, with a midweek crèche planned to allow mums to have a bowl with their kids safely looked after in their business plan.
With 110 members and two high-quality tif dwarf greens, Kyabram has things going for it.
But building and future-proofing the club comes down to four key elements, according to Sceney.
“Increase membership, increase participation, bring the general community into the club and the longevity of the club.
“We have the goal of bringing 2,500 people into our club who are not involved with Pennant this season. By bringing numbers into the club, that will build the profile of bowls around Ky and that will help us ultimately.”
“We believe clubs have to be proactive for their own sake.”