Our first club for Play Bowls Month 2017
Macedon Ranges is typical of many bowls clubs in regional Victoria – under 45 members in total, all over 45 in age.
Unlike many though, the club in Central Highlands Bowls Division is aiming to do something about it.
Macedon Ranges BC is the first club to sign up to Bowls Victoria’s Play Bowls Month initiative in 2017, which is a statewide drive to get more people trying bowls and participating in our great sport.
Play Bowls Month will be in October 2017, though clubs can hold events before and after this time and still be part of the initiative.
Macedon Ranges BC secretary Ian Guymer says his club – based in the town of Macedon about an hour’s drive north of Melbourne – has around 40 members aged from 45 to 90.
“We’re one of five clubs in Central Highlands Bowls Division with 40 members or less,” Ian told www.bowlsvic.org.au.
“Unless we start attracting more young players, the club may fold. For the club to survive we’ve got to attract new people.”
That’s where Play Bowls Month will hopefully come in.
Bowls Victoria provides clubs who sign up to Play Bowls Month with tools to help boost participation and run Come And Try events to introduce new people to the sport.
Bowls Victoria also promotes those events to a wider audience than a club could do on its own, and provides advice on promotion and running the events effectively.
In 2016, 55 clubs registered to take part in Play Bowls Month, with almost 3,000 people participating. From these new bowlers, 1 in 10 joined their local club.
Ian admits the club has not managed barefoot bowls nights as well as they could have in the past, and are hoping some of the techniques and toolkits provided to participating clubs who sign up to Bowls Victoria’s Play Bowls Month will help.
He also acknowledged a key driver in his club’s decision to sign up was Bowls Victoria’s recent region visit to Central Victoria, where workshops were held with all clubs and where clubs talked about what worked for them in creating interest in bowls and increasing participation at their clubs.
“We would be looking to build on that feedback,” he said.
“We want the local community to know that we’re an option for them (to play bowls), and to try to grow interest in barefoot bowls and getting some of those who try to become members.”
Sign up for Play Bowls Month here