Wondering why your club should take part in Bowls’ Big Weekend 2024? Gildredge Park BC, Eastbourne, signed up last year and Jo Doust, wanted to share their experience of the event to encourage others to get involved…
With the last Bowls’ Big Weekend taking place across the long weekend at the end of May 2023, we chose the Bank Holiday Monday to open our doors, and it proved to be good timing! With clubs across the country holding events from the Friday evening onwards, it created a lot of publicity across the likes of BBC Breakfast, radio, newspapers and social media, so by the time our event took place even more people were aware of what was happening. We were open from 10am to 3pm and were delighted to welcome almost 40 people, including a very good number of children, which is always very encouraging.
The feedback we received from the visitors was excellent, and it was great to see a couple of people become members on the day, although we tried not to push too hard to make people full members. We took a more relaxed approach and were just keen to get people playing on the day, as well as offering a four-week follow-up coaching programme which helped us stay in touch with anyone who was interested.
Of course, the event wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers at our club, who helped set up the rinks and gave new people a very warm welcome. Whether it’s putting up the marketing materials we were sent by Bowls England, staffing the bar, making cups of tea, or just having a friendly word, it all goes a very long way. All these volunteers gave such a wonderful impression of what a great club we have. And of course they got to have a little bowl at the end of the day as well, which is always a good thing!
So overall there were many benefits to us being part of Bowls’ Big Weekend – firstly getting new people through the door, and whether they sign up now or just get a flavour of the sport, that can only be a good thing. Secondly it’s also a great occasion to remind people within the club just how fortunate we are to have such great people who make the game what it is.