- Advertisement -

Changing the lives of people with a disability in England โ€“ enabling them to play bowls

We all know the benefits of a sport like bowls, to help learn a new skill, meet new people, take gentle exercise and have fun, and that is what the Disability Bowls England is all about, encouraging disabled people to become involved, and proving bowls is for everyone (writes Judy Plater, national development and administrative officer).

But with it becoming harder and harder for charities like DBE to find funding opportunities, we have been very fortunate in the last year to have the support of various clubs and individual bowlers.
One of our long-term supporters have been the Friends of English Bowling, who for a number of years have raised funds for us, as they travel around the country, and we are very grateful for their ongoing support.
We have been lucky to have been one of the organisations supported by 2023 Bowls England president Deepak Tanna. He has been a firm supporter and advocate of our work and during his tenure has donated a four-figure sum to DBE. The new president David King Taylor has also pledged his support to us.
But they are not the only ones, Cheltenham Bowls Clubโ€™s captain DBE member Michael Cox was also busy in the summer. He too made DBE one of his charities.
Through collections, raffles, donations, fun matches etc, they have raised ยฃ850, and we couldnโ€™t be more grateful for their efforts. Michael also ran a raffle for a free membership to the club worth over ยฃ140. Some of the club members also held a regular Friday night competition and the money raised from this went to Michaelโ€™s charities.
Another club which has raised a fabulous amount of money for us โ€“ ยฃ1,400, has been Kingscroft BC in Leicestershire. Their president Mick Harris again made DBE his charity of the year, and despite some unexpected family illnesses and with the support of the rest of the club, Michael raised this amazing amount for us. One member knitted toys which sold for ยฃ150. As a result of his family situation, Mick sadly missed his presidentโ€™s day, but it went ahead without him and raised ยฃ350. Kingscroft is a fantastic club with some high achievers within its membership, but they still find time to support events like this and are looking to raise some money to pay for an electric wheelchair and bowling arms to encourage disabled people to join them.
Mick presented the cheque at Barwell IBC to our team who were playing a friendly fixture there. Captain Sally-Ann Lewis-Wall thanked him on our behalf.
We are also lucky to have the support of Keith Thatcher, Northamptonshire Indoor Bowls Club president, who is collecting for us this season. To date, he has raised over ยฃ850 and hopes to hit the magic ยฃ1,000 mark when his tenure comes to an end.
It is only because of the support of people and clubs like this that charityโ€™s such as ours have continued. We canโ€™t thank all of them enough.
With the charity sector funding becoming harder to find and no government or sports bodies funding available to us for disability grassroots development, players performance pathways and administration, we are running out of time and money to keep save this great organisation โ€“ one which has changed the lives of so many disabled people allowing them to play the game of bowls , as either a social or recreational player or given them the chance to represent their county at international level. We not only support the individual but offer advice and information for clubs and counties, enabling more and more of them to be inclusive and welcome new members to their clubs.
When the DBE was set-up all those years ago no one could have foreseen what it would grow into, and that has only been possible through the work of its fabulous group of volunteers and the guidance and enthusiasm of its president and founder Maggy Smith MBE and current chairperson Steve Watson.

If you can help in anyway, please contact steve.watson@disabilitybowlsengland.org.uk or if you are able to donate, please visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/disability-bowls-england-1162133

Every PENNY raised is used to continue to deliver our vision of growing and
developing our membership and making our sport truly inclusive for everyone throughout England.

Caption: Mick Harris, president of Kingscroft BC, makes a cheque presentation to DBE