Bowl for Health, the BDA’s flagship outreach programme, is a great way to help people of all ages and abilities to try bowls for the first time whilst allowing them to meet people from their local area. With support from Active Partnerships across the country, clubs are being supported to deliver sessions to their local community.

How does the programme work?

Designed as an 8-week community–based programme focussed on a fun and relaxed introduction to the sport of bowls, Bowl for Health combines up to an hour of informal bowls with the opportunity for attendees to socialise with new people in a welcoming environment. These sessions are intended to help improve physical and mental wellbeing, reduce social isolation amongst participants and can be a great pathway to bring new members into the club.  

What are the benefits for clubs?

Previous Projects

Bowl for Health was initially run as a pilot scheme in 2018 by Merseyside Active Partnership who hosted sessions at 7 clubs across Liverpool. This was so successful that 84% of participants in the initial cohort went on to join their local bowls club.

Since then, our Club and Community Development Officers have successfully established the programme at Community Club Hubs across the country, supporting a wide demographic of participants to experience the sport for the first time. From dedicated sessions for people with Parkinsons disease in Exeter to a Lithuanian lady’s group in Peterborough, these sessions have shown the benefits and inclusivity of the sport and have enabled participants of any ability or those with long-term health conditions to participate together.


"It’s made me more enthusiastic to take part in a social sport; I’ve made new friends and I felt great after every session – really satisfying"
Bowl for Health Attendee
Merseyside Sports Partnership

Our Development Team have also supported clubs to secure additional funding to help them continue to provide sessions. South Shields IBC based in the North-East is one such club that has benefitted from the introduction of the Bowl for Health Programme. Funding was secured from RISE, their local Active Partnership, to provide an ongoing weekly programme for the local community that has helped to generate an additional £2500 worth of income for the club in the past year. Erdington Court Bowls Club has also reaped the benefits from the programme, securing further funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to continue with their existing Bowl for Health programme and add an additional session each week to enable more people to take part.

Participant Outcomes

Went on to join their local club 84%
Increased their physical activity levels 68%
Improved their mental wellbeing 40%
Felt less lonely 40%
Increased their self-efficacy levels 39%

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