Inclusive Culture Boosts Female Participation at Thornbury Bowling Club
Through proactive action by sports clubs to adopt a culture of inclusivity and integration between all types of people, we can help change the landscape of Australian sport and recreation for the better. Through proactive action by sports clubs to adopt a culture of inclusivity and integration between all types of people, we can help change the landscape of Australian sport and recreation for the better.
As a supporter of the Victorian Government’s Change Our Game campaign – working to level the playing field for women and girls in sport and active recreation – and a major advocate for inclusive sport at all levels, including greater female participation in both competitive and social lawn bowls, Bowls Victoria is proud to see a number of Victorian bowls clubs showing initiative in this important space.
At Thornbury Bowling Club, for example, there has been a concerted effort in recent times to support VicHealth’s This Girl Can campaign, which aims to inspire women and girls to take fitness into their own hands and embrace physical activity in their own way.
“The goal is always to see more bowling and sporting clubs connecting with their diverse local communities and increasing participation in sport,” says Thornbury Bowling Club’s Assistant Secretary, Fred Olsen. “At Thornbury we have designed a number of exciting campaigns with the purpose of driving memberships, building awareness of the club, and increasing female participation in particular.”
Those campaigns include numerous membership discounts and promotions for women including access to bowls training and wellness classes, as well as a Community Open Day, held on Sunday 9 September, where 140 members and guests were welcomed with complimentary Devonshire Tea, a glass of wine or a pot of craft beer.
“We want to ensure that our 111-year-old bowls club not only continues to exist but thrives long into the future,” Fred says. “People of all ages, backgrounds and genders were encouraged to come along to the Open Day and get a feel for the club, play some lawn bowls and take up a social membership for as little as $20 a year!”
The Bowls Club’s major sponsor, Preston & South Morang Toyota, even sold a brand new Toyota Corolla to a member who attended the event and were impressed by the vehicle parked on the club’s land as part of a promotion arranged by Fred – proof that Bowls Clubs can offer both commercial and social value.
Moreover, the club placed a clear emphasis on promoting bowls to women and girls keen to roll a few down the green with some of the club’s most respected members. “Everyone had a chance to meet our four existing female bowling members – Jean, Carol, Georgia and Emma – who feature in our #thisgirlcan campaign. From the newest member, Emma, through to Jean who has 47 years under her pennant belt, our female members shared plenty of great advice throughout the afternoon, along with a few laughs,” Fred says.
Change our Game
The Victorian Government and Bowls Victoria are committed to increasing the number of women and girls participating in sport and active recreation, from grassroots through to leadership roles. ‘Change our Game’ is a rally cry to ignite an undeniable desire amongst women and men who want to see their sport and recreation activities prosper into the future.
To learn more about how you can be an inclusive, please contact Bowls Victoria’s Participation Team.
Photo credit: Thornbury Bowls Club