The Bowls Development Alliance, Disability Bowls England, Bowls England, English Indoor Bowling Association Ltd, Aero Bowls have all teamed up to form a working group to increase the opportunities for disabled people to participate in the sport of bowls.
The Disability Steering Group is responsible for ensuring that a number of key actions identified within the sport’s National Disability Action Plan, which covers items including club development, marketing, community engagement, coaching and competitive bowls, are completed.
The Steering Group is chaired by Paul Brown, who won a bronze medal in the Para-Triples at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and represents Disability Bowls England. The English Federation of Disability Sport, Mo Monkton who has experience of working with disabled bowlers at all levels also represented on the steering group.
Paul explained: “We are aware that there is a significant amount of work to be done and a number of challenges to be overcome in order for us to successfully increase disability participation. The Disability Steering Group will work to ensure that the Strategic Action Plan has a demonstrable, sustainable impact on the sport. However, whilst these foundations are still being laid, progress has already been made in terms of bringing new people into bowls with the latest figures showing nearly 1,000 disabled participants now playing bowls regularly.”
The National Disability Strategic Action Plan is available to view and download at: www.playbowls.org/disabilitybowls/overview
A “disabled participant” is anyone who is affected by any of the following:
- Vision, for example, due to blindness or partial sight
- Hearing, for example, due to deafness or partial hearing
- Mobility, such as difficulty walking short distances, climbing stairs, lifting & carrying objects
- Learning or concentrating or remembering
- Mental Health
- Stamina or breathing difficulty
- Social or behavioural issues, for example, due to neuro diverse conditions such as Autism, Attention Deficit or Aspergers’ Syndrome
- Difficulty speaking or making yourself understood
- Dexterity difficulties, by that I mean lifting, grasping or holding objects
- Long-term pain or discomfort that is always present or reoccurs from time to time
- Affects you in some other way