Bowling with Babies recognised with Victorian sport award

by Team BV

Bowls Victoria’s Bowling with Babies program has won the Victorian Sport Development Initiative of the Year at the Victorian Sports Awards.

Supported by VicHealth, Bowling with Babies brings new and expecting and their bubs together for a social game of bowls over a coffee.

The program, created to complement the state governments strategy around women participating in sport and growing engagement, seeks to assist less active parents to become more active and enabling time to focus on their physical well-being in a relaxing and comfortable environment, with their baby.

“Bowling with Babies essentially grew out of my own experiences as a parent and learnings from other sports. Activities for parents with children under two are often stagnant, indoor activities. Our program sought to change this by offering an outdoor activity that focused on health, fitness, family and community,” Bowls Victoria’s Participation Manager, Neil Gray.

“The family-friendly environment of bowls clubs is a perfect location for a non-competitive physical activity specifically designed to fit the needs of new and expecting parents,” Gray added.

The program is also helping to promote female participation in sport and reviving lawn bowls as a social sports option for women.

Now in its second year, the program has recently celebrated it’s 1000 participant with the numbers continuing to grow steadily at participating clubs each week. Approximately 30 clubs are now offering the program with sessions seeing an average of 10 participants each week.

Each club has worked closely with Bowls Victoria to ensure their facilities are suitable and their club is welcoming to all families – including dedicated and supportive volunteers.

Since the program first started in 2017, Bowls Victoria has offset the setup cost to clubs by providing change tables, sun shades, blankets, merchandise and marketing material.