Tasmania’s Regional Bowls Manager Simon Morrison met with the St Helens Bowls Club President Jane Pickett to review the past 12 months, and what a year it had been for a club that was struggling to keep afloat.
To say St Helens had faced challenges throughout the year is an understatement; however the small Tasmanian club is now thriving after implementing a number of new initiatives with a dedicated group of volunteers who were no longer happy to sit idly and hope things at their club turned around.
Their proactive approach saw the St Helens Bowls Club raise its profile within the community, recruit and retain members, significantly alter their financial situation and ultimately ensure their club is now heading in the right direction.
A club that was once standing dormant with little activity has now established the following programs and activities.
• Established a successful barefoot bowls competition.
• Developed a disability bowls program with a local provider.
• Significantly increased the number of club sponsors.
• Creation of a regular club newsletter.
• Regular advertisement in the local paper about events and results.
• Undertaken an APL poker night twice a week.
• Established a volunteer of the month award.
• Hosting quiz nights with a full house in attendance.
• Actively promoted the availability of the venue to the public.
• Liaising closer with the council, with regular visits by the Mayor.
In addition to the above, the club is now even more focussed on the future and is working alongside their Regional Bowls Manager Simon Morrison to implement more changes within their club.
St Helens future objectives are:
• Achieving the goals set out in the clubs new strategic plan.
• Establishing a financial business plan.
• Developing a stronger relationship with bus companies in the region, specifically for bowls tours to the East Coast and St Helens.
• Enhancing the clubs exiting website and Facebook page.
• A focus on attracting more female participants and introducing a mother/daughter bowls day.
• Increasing the profile of the sport in the local area.
• Increasing the clubs current Good Sports accreditation.
• Develop the current schools programs and Sporting Schools Programs to increase junior participation.
It is important for clubs to plan for the future and Bowls Australia’s 16 Regional Bowls Managers can help bowling clubs create a business plan and implement new programs to increase membership and revenue like St Helens have done.
Regional Bowls Managers also have relationships with local Councils and the Department of Sport and Recreation, and can therefore inform your club if any grants are currently available to assist in financially supporting the implementation of programs to help increase participation.
St Helens is currently working with a Junior Development Squad of 11 students, all of which attend the school across the road.
By implementing the Sporting Schools Program more students will be introduced to bowls during PE classes, using Bowls Australia’s Jr. Jack Attack kits, and will then have the opportunity to try ‘real’ bowls at the St Helens Club.
President Pickett and her Committee understand that there are many barriers to what they are trying to achieve and are ticking off one agenda item at a time, however as with all clubs volunteers are tough to come by so they understand the importance of recruiting new members.
The potential of members re-joining the club for the coming season is positive; the culture and increased presence within the community is stronger than ever and St Helens is definitely ensuring their future is bright.
Their successful is not limited to within the walls of the club; last year St Helens was highly successful on the bowling green, playing in the division two grand-final, winning the division five grand-final within the Bowls North region, and uniquely fielding a team in another regional competition on the East coast of Tasmania.
To contact your areas Regional Bowls Manager to discuss the future of your club click here.
Caption- St Helens Bowls Club in Tasmania has turned their club around in the past 12 months