Brechiner Bob Christie has been named as a finalist in the Angus Council Partnership Excellence Awards for his work with bowls and Angus Active Schools.
Throughout 2008, Bob worked with each of the three bowling clubs in the Brechin area setting up indoor and outdoor taster sessions in the sport for all the Brechin Cluster primary schools through the recruitment of volunteers and coaches from the clubs.
As a result every primary six pupil in Brechin, from 2008 onwards, has had an experience of bowls.
Building on this model, and through Bob’s role as Scottish Bowling Association District Secretary, the partnership has developed significantly over the last few years – currently 33 schools across Angus are linked to a bowling club. Bob still leads most of these sessions in Brechin.
As well as providing young people in Angus the opportunity to try something new, participating in the sport has enabled them to learn and develop a number of life skills such as timing, accuracy, endurance and team work all whilst being physically active.
In 2012, in partnership with the Angus Active Schools Team, Bob coordinated the first Angus wide Junior Bowls Competition, which is now an annual event.
Through the support of their members, Bob has worked tirelessly with each of the linked clubs to develop their constitution, providing a unified approach across the county and encouraging them to provide for junior members at their clubs. This has not only made the game of bowls more accessible to Angus youngsters, but has also facilitated a pathway to identify potential future talent and enable them to progress their skills at their local club and develop further in the sport.
From a club perspective this is ultimately helping to bring more youngsters into the game – a proactive response to the natural decline in membership that is currently prevalent within the sport – with many of the clubs seeing a rise in the number of junior members joining and playing.
Kelly Moonlight, Active Schools Coordinator/nominator, commented: “The key strength within this partnership has without a doubt been Bob’s willingness, enthusiasm and dedication to see the sport of bowls flourish in Angus.
“Thanks to his efforts the partnership has many sustainable attributes including curricular and extra-curricular sessions, the promotion of club sessions inclusive for all, and their annual Angus competition.
“That coupled with a strong and supportive network of volunteers will support the continued development of the sport in the future.”
Lawn bowls is included as one of the 17 sports of the forthcoming Glasgow Commonwealth Games and it is hoped this will provide a fantastic opportunity for the clubs to continue to promote, develop and transform the perceptions of the sport, and encourage youth and community participation.