East Lothian Indoor Bowling Club provided the ideal location for the recent East Para Bowls Development Day, inviting individuals to come along and try the sport of bowls under the expert eye of a number of experienced coaches.
The development day took place on Sunday 12th of February, aiming to promote disability bowls in the East of Scotland area and provide an environment where beginners could gain experience of the sport while more advanced players could benefit from the expertise from coaches present and keen to impart their knowledge. The session welcomed fifteen bowlers to East Lothian with many of that number coming from a mainstream club background, highlighting the number of players with an impairment who are actively participating in the sport.
The day was coordinated and delivered in partnership between East Lothian Indoor Bowling Club (ELIBC), Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) and Lothian Disability Sport (LDS), looking to increase the awareness of opportunities in disability bowls and ignite a longer term objective – establishing a regular ‘HUB’ session, providing the platform for players from Edinburgh, the Lothians and the Scottish Borders with an impairment to progress and develop within the sport. SDS will aim to support players from grassroots participation right through to a performance level, should they display the talent and desire to do so.
ELIBC have recently received Direct Club Investment from sportscotland, a support package which will aim to help and develop the club through increased membership, youth engagement, player retention and of course increased participation in disability bowls. LDS were also in a position to provide funding to support this Direct Club Investment, resulting in the creation of a Development Coordinator position which was filled by renowned East Lothian based bowler Billy Mellors. Billy has been instrumental in the work done thus far and will be a key figure in developing disability bowls in the East region moving forward – Billy highlighted ‘We are delighted that so many participants attended the session and encouraged that a genuine spread of experienced bowlers and new starters took part which is exactly the purpose of the Hub. Our coaches excelled on the day and look forward to the programme that will be scheduled soon.
Inclusive Bowls Performance Development Manager for Scottish Disability Sport, Ron McArthur was also present on the day to provide his experience in the world of Para bowls and provided disability specific training to ten coaches from the East and Midlothian in the lead up to the event to ensure they were comfortable and confident to work with a range of players with varying disabilities including visual impairment, cerebral palsy and learning disability. Ron added that ‘Bowls is a total inclusion sport open to everyone regardless of disability, ability or age. Whether you want to you play fun games or go onto International Level, Billy and his coaches will guide you on a pathway that will best suit your needs and help you achieve your full potential. Play well and enjoy’.
If you are keen to attend the new HUB session or looking for further information relating to disability bowls in the East of Scotland, please get in touch with Neal Herbert (Regional Manager, SDS) on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0131 625 4414 or Billy Mellors (ELIBC Development Coordinator) on email@example.com or 07930 716073.