top of page

Spotlight on the Bowls Development Alliance "BDA"

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

Executive Summary With RUMOURS OF the 'English Short Mat Bowling Association' & 'Crown Green Bowling Association' applying to REJOIN the "BDA" we felt it was time for a "BDA" blog.

As part of its latest Funding agreement with Sport England 2022 -2026 the "BDA"

  • continues to be a conduit for "the Government to invest in Bowls, recognized as an active sport for the over 55s and those of all ages with disabilities".

  • is NOW working to 'place bowls at the heart of every community as an accessible sport for all'

  • is NOW the central Bowls service provider to provide guidance to clubs and education courses which are FREE to affiliated clubs their volunteers.

This appears to be a fundamental change from the previous strategy when direct financial support was provided to Bowls clubs via the "Play Bowls" programme

Total BDA funding from 2012 to 2022 as reported by Sport England is £6.2 million see below

Background Since 2014, initially at the request of Lawn Bowls England, we have been working to "Promote ALL formats of Bowls Equally".

As is the way of the modern world with the "Paradigm Changing" internet allowing an explosion of "Soap Boxes" and speed of communication it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees and Bowls is no exception. With Bowls still being at the "wild west" stage of its development, with many different "entities" having a claim to be responsible for some aspect of Bowls Administration we have the ideal conditions for a communication void where facts and their correct context can be elusive.

At the 'The Professional Bowls Corporation® Ltd' "PBC" whilst we do not claim to know the 'whole truth' we do feel via our various brands starting with Smilyinc & bowlsDAVENTRY ™ which developed into 'Bowls is Bowls ®' we can contribute to the debate.

A common question we have been asked over the years has been what does the "BDA" do. ?

We want to thank the "BDA's" Jon Hart and the many other people who have contributed to this blog.

Sport England Bowls Funding awarded 2012 to 2022 TOTAL £20.7M (£6.2M to the BDA)

Note Just Bowl is the "BDA" community care home programme

The "Companies Act" legal stuff The Bowls Development Alliance Ltd (company number 07205402) was incorporated in England & Wales on 26 March 20 with 4 initial subscribers (shareholders) being

  1. English Indoor Bowling Association "EIBA";

  2. [Lawn] Bowls England "BE";

  3. English Short Mat Bowling Association "ESMBA" ; and

  4. British Crown Green Bowling Association "BCGBA"

The stated purpose being restricted to the sport of bowls to promote, foster, safeguard and actively promote and expand both indoor and outdoor bowls in the UK and ensuring that the various disciplines which encompass the sport of bowls in the UK are "in tune" with the latest developments in the sport

"NGB" National Governing Body is defined as the 4 NGB's" noted in point 1 PLUS any such other "NGB's" established to promote other individual codes of Bowls [for example the British Tenpin Bowling Association].

This is very much in line with the "PBC" vision to PROMOTE all formats of Bowls Equally

It did not take long, as noted in the 18 December 2012 'Written Resolution' of the "BDA", for the "BCGBA" and "ESMBA" to leave the "BDA"

Sport England Funding - Stated Purpose of "BDA" as noted in the 2 funding plans

2017-2021 "Working with flat green clubs [those clubs affiliated to The English Indoor Bowls Association and Lawn Bowls England] to help them and the bowlers within them develop more resilient habits to life time"

  • Club Development Programme 148 Clubs 5% (out of circa 3,000 partnership NGB clubs) supported with 2,348 new members i.e. an average of 15.8 new members per club. It is worth noting the lost members statistics was NOT reported BUT discussions with clubs indicates more than 15.8 members are lost each year

2022-2026 "To increase participation in Bowls whilst ensuring the sport is inclusive and accessible for all. It champions collaborative working across the sport and it works to develop [English Indoor Bowls Association, Lawn Bowls England, British Crown Green Bowling Association & English Short Mat Bowling Association] NGB [National Governing Body] clubs and their volunteers, safeguard participants and share best practice"

2022 - 2026 What's NEW for clubs and club members where the club is affiliated to one of the above "NGB's"

  1. "Online" Club Health Checker to provide an "entry point" to allow a member NGB affiliated club to access BDA support

  2. "FREE Education platform" direct learning for individuals and volunteers via free 30 minute online courses. The aim of the BDA is to roll out 10 online courses per year alongside 20 quick guides to the platform.

  3. Community Club Programme. Replacing the Club development Programme [with its Direct Club Funding] where one of the circa 6 "BDA" development officers base themselves at a "hub" for 7 months to connect with local clubs to provide training and advice to clubs e.g. 120 clubs are/ have been engaging with their local hub at South Shields IBC (North East), Boston IBC (East), Oxton Conservatives CGBC (North West), Erdington Court BC (Midlands), Bristol IBC (South West), Wey Valle IBC (South East)

How to contact the "BDA" for more information

The BDA website has a "Get in touch Button" requiring the follow "form" to be completed AND includes the office address and a telephone number

Comment received

  • Comment from a Crown Green Bowls Club "You [BDA] only seem to promote bowling for the elite, as for those of us that bowl socially and in local leagues, you couldn't care less."

182 views0 comments


bottom of page