BOWLS’ BIG WEEKEND 2023
Clubs across England will open their doors to new players as part of the Bowls’ Big Weekend nationwide event, May 26-29.
With hundreds of clubs taking part last year and thousands of people rolling up to give our sport a try, Bowls England’s national recruitment initiative has a proven track record of helping clubs grow.
This year’s event is scheduled for the Bank Holiday weekend so clubs can choose times across any of the four days to welcome new players, either for the first time or for those getting back into the sport. Starting this year, it is sponsored by Bowls England’s principal partner, Aviva.
The event has benefitted hugely from the drive and passion of people at grassroots level, with clubs committing to taking part, volunteers making events happen and players inviting friends, colleagues and family members along to try the sport they love.
In return, Bowls England supplies clubs with a resource pack including a club guide, posters, flyers, balloons and social media graphics. And alongside the Bowls Development Alliance, clubs have been given access to a number of free webinars to help make the event the best it can be. Concentrating these open day events across one weekend allows Bowls England to implement a national marketing campaign to boost awareness.
Reflecting on last year’s events, Keith Brinsmead of Tarring Priory BC, Sussex, said: “We had an excellent weekend. Bowls’ Big Weekend certainly works for us and has given the whole process of attracting members new life. And as a result, we invited everyone who took part to weekly taster sessions.”
Martin Hill, of Barbourne BC, Worcestershire, added: “Bowls’ Big Weekend was fantastic for us and saw over 50 potential new members, aged between 15 and quite a bit older, come to the club and really enjoy ‘having a go’ at our game.”
Bowls England chief executive Jon Cockcroft said: “We have been delighted with the way in which our sport has embraced Bowls’ Big Weekend since it began in 2021. We know 20% of new players start playing through open days, so we decided to bring this together on a national scale to enable us to grow our game.
“With a fantastic number of clubs signing up early for 2023, millions being inspired by lawn bowls during last summer’s home Commonwealth Games and new sponsors Aviva on board, we are optimistic that this year’s event will be the biggest and best so far.”
Clubs can still register a Bowls’ Big Weekend event so if you’re reading this and aren’t sure if your club is on board, do give your committee a nudge. And, once your club is on board, please think about who you can invite along on the day – whether it’s friends, family, colleagues or maybe teammates who’ve taken a break for one reason or another. This is a great informal opportunity to get them along.
“All of us within bowls know how sociable and doable the game is, and Bowls’ Big Weekend is a great way to showcase that and make our sport more accessible,” Cockcroft continues.
“If people come along let’s not expect them to sign up to become a full-time member straight away. Maybe their next step is trying Bowls Bash, our new shorter format of the game, and then they can progress from there.”
How to sign up:
Visit www.bowlsbigweekend.com for information on how clubs and players can register to be part of Bowls’ Big Weekend.