Bowls is one of the most inclusive sports where disabled bowlers can compete with or against non-disabled bowlers in most situations. Disabled people can bowl competitively at local, national and international level or just play the game as a social pastime, by taking part in club roll-ups and casual bowling activities – there is an opportunity for all abilities and needs!
The BDA, along with Bowls England, English Indoor Bowling Association, Disability Bowls England, Coach Bowls and Activity Alliance form the Disability Steering Group (DSG) - a body that oversees the progress and development of disability bowls in the country. The Disability Steering group oversees the successful implementation of the National Disability Bowls Action Plan in order to achieve its vision to promote inclusion, increase participation and develop performance within disability bowls. You can view and download the action plan by accessing the attachment at the bottom of the page.
If you are a disabled person interested in taking up the sport, you can contact either Bowls England (for flat green outdoor bowls) or English Indoor Bowling Association (for flat green indoor bowls) who will be able to direct you to the right club near you.
SUPPORT FOR CLUBS, COACHES AND VOLUNTEERS
DISABILITY BOWLS ADVISORY GUIDE
The aim of the advisory guide is to provide clubs, volunteers and coaches with ideas and guidance on ensuring that everyone, regardless of disability or health condition, has access to the sport of bowls, whether as a beginner or an elite performer.
The new guide is designed to be a club’s first point of reference on everything related to inclusion. It contains information about:
• Understanding the needs of the club membership.
• Using inclusive language when communicating to disabled bowlers.
• Impairment specific adaptions that clubs may consider making to ensure the sport is as accessible as possible for disabled bowlers.
• Case studies from clubs across the country who are already providing excellent participation opportunity for disabled people.
• Disability Bowls England and the participation pathways which disabled bowlers may wish to follow.
• Adaptive equipment, with contact details of equipment providers.
• Where to look for funding grants and opportunities.
• Advice on Safeguarding including details of training opportunities.
• Useful contacts across a range of key organisations.
SUPPORTING INCLUSION - INCLUDING DISABLED PEOPLE IN BOWLS MODULE
This 3-hour module is for all club volunteers, whether coaches, club helpers or committee members that would like to make their clubs more inclusive. The workshop focuses on practical ideas to include all bowlers in activities, regardless of disability.
It encourages clubs to understand why people play bowls, how activities can be modified or adapted and how to help bowlers progress.
By the end of the module people attending will be able to:
• Understand what inclusion means
• Recognise how to make your club more inclusive
• Understand what disabled people want from sport
• Explore the Activity Inclusion Model in bowls and the implications on your club activities
• Identify actions for your club
BOWLS DISABILITY MARK
The Bowls Disability Mark has been developed to recognise and reward those affiliated bowls clubs who are fully inclusive and welcoming to those people who wish to bowl who have a form of disability. It can help clubs follow the right steps towards becoming a fully inclusive club.
What are the other benefits associated with such a status?
• Increasing the profile of the club, which can lead to more new members joining.
• Increased club membership – the Bowls Disability Mark provides the information and confidence disabled bowlers require before they make the decision to join the club. Indirectly, they can bring non-disabled bowlers with them.
• Significantly more likely for the club’s facilities to be hired by groups and organisations who work with disabled people.
• Priority given for hosting Disability Bowls England competitions.
• It is an important factor taken into consideration by funders, sponsors and potential partners when such organisations are making decisions whether to fund, sponsor or work with the club.