An imperative part of BDA’s 2017-2021 strategy is continuing to champion and embed disability in every aspect of our work. As a result of our 2013-2017 strategy, we have now seen just over 3,500 disabled participants playing bowls regularly (figures correct as of March 2017) after attending BDA funded events.
The following major steps have also been made in the past few years:
- Release of yearly advisory guides relating to disabled participation and adaptive equipment and funding (accessible from our website).
- Creation and launch of an annual National Participation Survey, which includes disability.
- Creation of a Working with Disabled People in Bowls coach education course.
- Creation of a Bowls Disability Mark Accreditation Scheme for bowls clubs.
- Creation and launch of the annual Love Fisher Brown Award
The BDA, along with Bowls England, English Indoor Bowling Association, Disability Bowls England and Activity Alliance form the Disability Steering Group - a body that oversees the progress and development of disability bowls in the country. In the autumn of 2018 the Disability Steering Group published the new National Strategic Disability Action Plan 2018-2021. The aim of the Action Plan is to ensure collaboration and integration of the work of all key partners towards developing bowls into a genuinely inclusive sport by 2021. The Disability Steering group will oversee the successful implementation of the Action Plan in order to achieve its vision to promote inclusion, increase participation and develop performance within disability bowls.
Here is what George Babalev, BDA’s disability lead, had to say about the publication of the strategic document: “The Action Plan provides a co-ordinated approach between the organisations responsible for the development of disability bowls. It ensures strategic accountability and improved efficiency of the Disability Steering Group members. It is also important for the bowling community to be aware of the work undertaken by the Disability Steering Group and how one can benefit from it.”
There are 4 key strands the Action Plan focuses on, namely:
1. Data Collection – obtaining and sharing robust and reliable information about disability bowls participation levels in clubs and accessibility of clubs’ facilities for disabled bowlers.
2. Marketing and Communication – producing an all-inclusive information pack that can be used as a guidebook by any clubs that are willing to become more inclusive.
3. Support for Clubs, Coaches and Volunteers – supporting more clubs to obtain a Bowls Disability Mark accreditation scheme; helping train and upskill clubs’ workforce and committees by running more Working with Disabled People in Bowls Modules and Disability Engagement Events; through the Love Fisher Brown Award, acknowledging and rewarding the work of those clubs that lead the way and showcasing them as a model for other clubs to strive towards.
4. Elite Pathways and Competitive Structure – making sure all regional and national competitions remain fully inclusive and cater for disabled participants, officials and spectators.
The full Action Plan is published as an attachment at the bottom of this page and can be accessed at any time.