All praise for bowls-driven mental health initiative

by Lachlan Williams

A bowls-driven initiative with a focus on mental health continues to gather momentum, drawing the praise of a federal government minister.

Bowls Gr8 for Brains is a not-for-profit organisation operating mental heath support groups at bowls clubs.

The initiative aims to utilise the community aspect of bowls to create supportive environments for people who may be struggling with their mental health, particularly veterans and returned service members.

“The idea behind our groups is it’s more than a game of bowls. The sport is physically good for people, it’s good for mental health and it is a good way to build networks,” Bowls Gr8 for Brains director Darryl Coventry said.

Mr Coventry and Bowls Australia (BA) CEO Neil Dalrymple also recently met with Federal MP for Farrer Sussan Ley near Albury, presenting the program to the government minister.

“In my rural electorate the local bowling club is an important asset and already a bit of a multipurpose venue. Darryl Coventry and Bowls Gr8 for Brains have extended a ready-made venue for people who need particular support, often due to trauma they have experienced in service of the community, through the armed forces, police or emergency services,” she said.

“I was really impressed by their presentation which simply makes the most of what bowling clubs have to offer, then takes it one step further.

“Bowls Gr8 for Brains and Bowls Australia are showing the leadership needed to deal with today’s mental health challenges at a truly grassroots level.”

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The program is based at several venues, and continues to roll out across the country. It has also played a key role working alongside Veteran Sport Australia with a series of Veteran and Family Bowls Days held in various locations since late last year.

BA CEO Neil Dalrymple said the initiative is an example of the great things bowlers and bowls clubs can do.

“Darryl and the Bowls Gr8 for Brains team are doing some great things in the mental health space, an area we all know is so important,” he said.

“Bowls Australia is proud to support them and the important work they are doing.

As part of Bowls Australia’s support of Bowls Gr8 for Brains, a collection of signed Bowls Premier League (BPL) playing tops will be auctioned online. More details will be made available in the coming weeks.