Multicultural day attracts new members at Chatswood

by Aidan Davis

Chatswood Bowling Club President Barney Flanagan and his committee organised a meeting with Sydney Regional Bowls Manager Brett Hughes to discuss their concerns regarding the decreasing and ageing membership at the Chatswood Bowling Club.

Chatswood Bowling Club is considered a small club in the Sydney metropolitan region with approximately 50 bowling members; and as we see in a number of bowling clubs across the country, most members were over 65 years of age.

Chatswood cleverly used the free Bowls Australia service, utilizing the knowledge and resources of their Regional Bowls Manager, to develop a strategic plan for their clubs future.

Regarded as a multi-cultural area of Sydney, Chatswood have found it hard to attract new members; language barriers, competing interests and hobbies and lack of knowledge of the sport of Lawn Bowls in the community make it difficult for bowling clubs to market themselves in these culturally diverse neighbourhoods.

The Chatswood Bowls Club, along with the help of their areas RBM Brett Hughes, approached Willoughby Council to organise a meeting with Rita Leung, the Multicultural Services Team Leader to seek advice.

On September 27, Chatswood Bowling Club in conjunction with Bolton Clarke, Bowls Australia & Willoughby Council held their first multicultural day with 40 people participating in this event.

The morning started with a meet and greet with the participants, current bowling members, Willoughby Council members, Bolton Clarke and Bowls Australia representatives over some light refreshments.

Willoughby Council organised an interpreter (speaking mandarin) to assist Michelle from Bolton Clarke to deliver an informative health session called ‘Healthy Skin’ which was well received by the audience.

The Bolton Clarke presentation was great for bowlers who are out in the sun all day competing and came at the perfect time as the weather starts to warm up.

After the Bolton Clarke session on healthy skin, the participants moved out on to the bowling green where many of them rolled a bowl for the first time.

It took some time for the new bowlers to pick up the game; however with so many friendly volunteers on standby having been present for the health session, the first timers started to really enjoy their bowls experience.

The participants bowled the shortened format of the game for just over an hour with many staying back to ask questions about the game and joining as members.

With a bit of assistance and thinking outside the square, combining a few different initiatives like a Bolton Clarke session and an open day similar to that of the Chatswood Bowls Club, demonstrates that even clubs with declining membership can turn things around.

Contact your areas Regional Bowls Manager to discuss what your club can do to increase membership.

Click here to locate an RBM

To learn more about Bolton Clarke Health Sessions click here 

Caption- Chatswood Bowls Club combine a multicultural day with Bolton Clarke Health session to attract new members to their club.