What is the Club Development Programme?

Club development is at the heart of everything we do at the BDA.  We offer help and advice on a wide range of topics to help bowls clubs develop and grow into the most successful, sustainable club they can be. 

From our abundance of useful resources and educational tools to help clubs get started to our dynamic team of Club Development Officers who are able to offer more bespoke and personalised advice.

Lawn bowls leather bags and balls on the field side while players are playing at sunset

How can we help?

More members

Recruiting and retaining members can sometimes be challenging but it is key to helping your club develop and thrive in the long term. 

Have you tried some of these things:

Our education platform has a course for you – “Running a successful open day”. Click below to visit the e-learning section. 

Short on time? Have a look at our quick guides (you might find some quick wins here for your club).

Reach out to your local community

In your local community there will be many social and activity groups and engaging with just a few of these can help widen your clubs outreach even further. We have helped clubs to create connections with a wide range of local clubs and groups including:

You could also think about running open days targeting specific groups; our Women Can programme can help provide you with hints and tips on running fun and exciting sessions for women. 

Become a well-governed club

What is good governance? There are 5 key principles to good governance below.


Ensure all key committee positions are filled.


Make sure your club promotes equal opportunity for everyone no matter their gender, ethnicity or ability.


Make sure you have open and transparent communication with your members.

Standards & Conduct

Ensure you have your own standards in place to aid your future development.

Policies & Processes

Make sure that you have all the necessary legal policies in place.

The Bowls Development Alliance can help by providing you with templates to help you update or implement policies such as safeguarding and GDPR.

Your club structure

A well-defined club structure will help your club when it comes to making important decisions. By having a wide range of positions within your club committee it means none of your volunteers will be overwhelmed by a large workload but also helps members know who to direct specific questions to.

We can offer:

Financing and Funding

Maintaining healthy financial reserves is essential to help secure your club’s future and increasing your income streams through sponsorship, funding and social events are among a few of the ways you can do this.

Undertaking regular financial forecasting will also help you to better plan for the future and continually develop your facilities and workforce.

  • We can help you identify any potential funding streams and give you hints and tips to help manage your club finances to improve your long term stability

Look after your volunteers

Club volunteers

Volunteers are an integral part of your club and are key in helping you continue to thrive. Creating a volunteer culture within the club will help you to fill vacant roles and mean you always have someone willing to lend a hand at events!

Having a flexible approach will enable more members to become actively involved in the club; consider offering one-off opportunity to help at events.

Our Club Helpers Workshops can help you to increase your volunteer workforce within the club, please get in touch with one of our Club Development Officers below. 


Coaches are key volunteers within your club who are able to offer help and support to members.

Check out the Coach Bowls website for more information on becoming or improving your coaching.   

Be sure to browse the often overlooked aspect of reward and recognition for your hard working coaches.


The most important aspect of any club is the safeguarding of its members, visitors, and potential members.

You can find all the information you need in our safeguarding section.

Case Studies

SGV Cancer Support Group

SGV Cancer Support Group – Tottenham, London SGV ran the 12-week Just Bowl research project at their independent living community hub, with their main objective

Read More »

Stepping Out

Stepping out – Cancer support Group, Bridport Stepping Out, located in Bridport Dorset, took part in Just Bowls’ 12-week research project, which helps people with

Read More »

Avery Mews, BrighterKind

Avery Mews, BrighterKind BrighterKind care home ‘Avery Mews’ was one of 12 homes chosen to pilot the 12-week research project and with such positive feedback

Read More »

Our work during Covid-19

Clubs supported by the BDA's Club Development Programme
From the Sport England Community Emergency Fund
£ 0
From UK Government Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Scheme​
£ 1 m

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, normal club activity has not been possible and so the BDA have supported clubs in other ways.

During the first three weeks of the initial lockdown starting in March 2020, the Club Development Team approached each of the 149 active or former CDP clubs to schedule a phone call. The aim of the calls was to:

As a result of these efforts, every club in need of financial support received a grant from at least one source. All indoor clubs received relief from the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant, either directly or through their parent organisation (e.g. a leisure centre or a recreational complex).

In April 2020 our support work continued, with the BDA’s Administration Officer approaching every club who had submitted a successful Play Bowls Package application in 2020 to inform them about the Covid-19 relief funding opportunities and support them with their applications.

Overall, 163 bowls clubs supported by the BDA in 2020 received a total of £514,105 from the Sport England Community Emergency Fund (CEF) and over £1m from the UK Government Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Scheme. 

Looking at the wider landscape of the sport 1,067 bowls clubs (Flat and Crown Green) received a total of £2,370,260 Covid-19 Relief funding from Sport England.

Bowls received the third-highest funding by sport (behind football and cricket), receiving just under 14% of all successful CEF grants awarded to sports clubs. Many more bowls clubs around the country were recipients of Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grants, although the exact total amount is currently unknown.

In addition, the BDA agreed to grant £50 to all Play Bowls Package clubs with open days scheduled between March 2020 and July 2020, to contribute towards costs already incurred in the planning of the events.

The BDA have continued to stay in close contact with our active clubs, offering advice and reassurance. Clubs have been supported to utilise technology wherever possible, with an ‘Organising a Virtual Club Meeting – a How to Guide’ being produced. This has enabled club committees to stay in touch with each other, their members, and their BDA officers. Many CDP clubs have subsequently been able to continue their club development programme engagement and prepare for when bowls can recommence.

More for Clubs


Working together to safeguard children and adults at risk​

Women in Bowls

Find out how we're closing the gender gap in Bowls across England

E-learning Platform

Discover our range of tools, guides & courses to help your club

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