Erskine, Scotland’s largest Veterans charity, and Scotland’s most successful Commonwealth Games sport governing body Bowls Scotland have announced a three-year partnership to create a new pathway for Veterans into lawn bowls within over 800 bowling clubs throughout Scotland.
Falkland Veterans, Erskine’s Bill McDowall and Bowls Scotland’s Billy Allan, 2014 Commonwealth Games competitor, along with fellow Veteran, Mary Wilson, of Bowls Scotland’s High Performance programme, threw the first bowls to launch the partnership at Doune Castle Bowling Club.
It will see Erskine and Bowls Scotland work together to promote the mental and physical benefits of playing bowls. The two organisations aim to increase the opportunities for Veterans to take up bowls, while supporting Veterans who are already part of the nation’s thriving bowls community.
Bowls is the fourth highest participation sport in Scotland, with more than 51,000 playing members and 820 member clubs across the country. The sport is also Team Scotland’s most successful Commonwealth Games sport with 37 medals won since the inaugural Games in Canada in 1930.
Future plans include maximising engagement and fundraising for Erskine among the bowls community, new projects to make bowls more accessible for residents within the Veterans Village, and the development of para players as part of the ongoing rehabilitation of ex-servicemen and women.
As Scotland’s foremost provider of care for Veterans and their spouses, Erskine provides unrivalled nursing, residential and dementia care. The Veterans Village Activity Centre offers a wide range of both social and sporting activities for Veterans to take part in.
Wing Commander Ian Cumming MBE, Erskine Chief Executive, said: “Erskine and Bowls Scotland have enjoyed a fantastic relationship over a number of years, and we are delighted to finally make it official. This long-term agreement demonstrates the shared commitment between ourselves and Bowls Scotland, and we are looking forward to maximising the impact that the sport can have on our Veterans and players throughout Scotland.
“Bowls is an inclusive and accessible Scottish sport, and we are very excited to work with Bowls Scotland to help make a real difference in the years ahead. Who knows, we may even uncover the next great of the game.”
Bowls Scotland Chief Executive, Alan McMillan, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Erskine as our official charity partner. The partnership will give us a great opportunity to increase our coverage of bowls amongst the ex-military personnel, who knows at future Commonwealth Games we may have Erskine Veterans playing for Scotland.
“The game of bowls is very much a family game that can be played by generations all together. We see bowls as an ideal route to enjoying being outside, playing with family and friends and in some cases assist with rehabilitation.
“We look forward to working with Erskine and working with our clubs to support such a great charity.”