Launched in October 2016, Play Bowls Month was a new initiative from Bowls Victoria with the aim of to get more inactive Victorians active through bowls in addition to building the network of clubs delivering non-traditional/social formats of the game including Barefoot Bowls and Jack Attack.
It was a new concept. Clubs did not know what to expect. Bowls Victoria did not know what to expect. But what they found was that one in 10 people who visited a bowling club as part of the trial joined as a member which is an impressive conversion rate.
In order for this initiative to be the success it was, Bowls Victoria improved clubs' capacities to go out into their communities and attract new participants by giving them the tools and skills such as social media guides, posters and brochures. Bowls Victoria were also able to gather stories from successful clubs to assist and inspire other clubs to achieve the same.
"The concept of barefoot bowls happened naturally in our clubs, now our goal is to embrace and capitalise on the popularity of the non-traditional forms of the game," said Scott Nicholas, Bowls Victoria's Participation & Club Development Manager.
Some comments from clubs included:
“It was beyond all of our expectations; our flyer said no need to book, so we were a bit concerned how many might come. We started at 11am, ten turned up at 11:15am, and then another 10 and they just kept coming!” - Chirnside Park Bowls Club
"As each visitor registered to join, we rang the bell, adding some light-hearted fun to the day. The joining fee at our club is normally $185, for those who signed up on the day; we offered membership for $50." - Donvale Bowls Club
"We’re definitely going to be involved in Play Bowls Month next year, and it’s great to see more club members enthusiastic about helping out as well!" - Harcourt Bowls Club
"Play Bowls Month has been really good for Mildura BC, members have brought their families along, and there have also been young families and even little kids having a go." - Mildura Bowls Club
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