Much has been made of the transformation of the Bayswater Bowling and Recreation Club in Western Australia over the past 18 months, however installation of the final piece of the puzzle, a brand new synthetic green, was completed recently, presenting a wonderful Christmas present to the club, and recognising the magnificent work that has been done in the last two years.
In early 2015, local resident Steve Lay returned from a hiatus and looked to re-join the club.
He was greeted however with the news that the club may be forced to close its doors in a few months time, due to lack of funds and a dwindling membership.
Steve decided to appeal to the local community, and using Facebook, as well as other tools, the Bayswater Bowling and Recreation held an open day that attracted 350 people and over 100 kids.
The “Save the Bayswater Bowling Club” campaign was well underway with an amazing start.
Over the ensuing months, the club continued to engage with the community with regular events attracting people to the club; whether it be to enjoy a family friendly environment, or to partake in a relaxed game of bowls.
With club turnover significantly boosted and club membership bigger than ever, Steve then set about looking to the future of the Club; something that wasn’t even being considered when he returned to the club months earlier.
Diversification was his first target and the engagement of the Street Roller Hockey League was the direction chosen.
Nearly 550 new social members into the club and a complete re-invigoration was the result.
Next was the bowling greens; clearly the club would not survive, and more importantly grow, without adequate bowls facilities.
The two synthetic greens installed over a decade ago were no longer playable, one in disrepair, and the other now covered by a Roller Hockey rink.
This left the club with just the one grass green, which whilst quite good, did not offer the security or the flexibility of play that the club desired.
Together with funds raised from within the club, thanks to a blockbuster 12 month’s work, and with significant input from the Council, the club embarked on the installation of the new sand-filled synthetic green.
In the meantime, the club has branched into Online Membership using the Bowls Connect management system.
With so many social members joining the club, the use of electronic means to log membership directly, without having to actually handle the money, and without having to process manual forms was very attractive.
The system has enabled the club to communicate with its members in a far more efficient manner through email updates of newsletters and other promotions.
The club has also updated its website to promote its local food options, which has members flocking to the club.
Club Secretary Ian Davies has placed a crucial role in these efforts.
The Club, in celebration of the opening of the new green, has held two key functions since completion, firstly to acknowledge those that have assisted in the process, and also to provide assistance to other clubs that are looking to do similar things.
The first event invited clubs to visit Bayswater for an information night, with representatives from Green Planet Grass, the installers of its new green, in attendance to answer any questions.
The night also allowed visitors access to the green to have a quick roll and get the feel for it.
Second, the club invited representatives from the Council including City of Bayswater Mayor Barry McKenna, and Councillors Sally Palmer, Dan Bull and Chris Cornish to attend.
Clearly clubs engagement with their local Council is crucial to long term success, and the result of this evening was simply everyone having a great time, first mingling, and then followed by a few ends of bowls on the new surface.
The evening included representatives from the Roller Hockey joining in, using the club’s brand new bowls on a brand new surface.
Everyone had a wonderful time, and the relationships built during this time will be advantageous to all in the future.
The culture building in the Bayswater Bowling and Recreation Club is something to behold.
The respect shown by each and every member and guest, to each other and to visitors, stands out when you walk through the door.
The message to be taken from this truly inspiring story of success, for clubs far and wide, is that it can be done.
Don’t wait until your club is struggling to step up, take action and make your club a more vibrant and attractive place to be.
For advice, assistance, or to share some great ideas, contact the Regional Bowls Manager in your area.
Caption- Bayswater Bowling and Recreation Club has transformed into the hub of the community.