I had the pleasure of interviewing Tom Hamilton,Volunteer Development Officer of Woodend Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club where the GlasBowl initiative is being piloted to outreach to 1000 Children by 2014. Glasbowl initiative is being endorsed by other Lawn Bowls clubs across Glasgow and beyond in the build-up to Glasgow2014.
Tell me about GlasBowl and how the idea came about?
GlasBowl was based on a similar project undertaken by Creetown Bowling Club. Woodend Bowling Club were already undertaking junior engagement with the Jordanhill Primary and Secondary Schools during the National Sports Week and this was the perfect platform to progress engagement throughout the wider community using the forthcoming 2014 Commonwealth Games as a springboard to reinforce participation and interest.
After an intitial meeting with Glasgow City Council Active Schools Coordinators it became apparent that we had the potential for a great programme and structure which could be rolled out anywhere with the correct support from local clubs.
How long have you been with Woodend BC and what is your role there?
I have been a member of Woodend Bowling Club since 2010. I played bowls as a junior at Burnbank Bowling Club in Glasgow a long long time ago from the age of 10 to 17 before starting my professional career. I had always harboured a passion to return to bowls, a sport which both my parents played at Burnbank Bowling Club for over forty years.
My “official” role at Woodend Bowling Club is as a member of the Gents Committee and also a member of the Committee of Management for the whole club Woodend Bowling and Lawn Tennis Club. I am also the Volunteer Development Officer, Child Protection Officer and i see myself as a general agitator. I like to challenge perceptions and think the sport, which has always been a community based sport, has a great future if it can successfuly redefine itself within the context of a 21st century community based sport.
Where did you here about Julie and how were you inspired to approach her?
I first heard about Julie through Anne Dunwoodie who is a Scottish Internationalist Bowler and Marketing “Guru” at Taylor Bowls. Taylor Bowls and Anne in particular have been stron supporters of Woodend Bowling Club and our intitiatives over the last four or five years. The have sponsored and supported our club and juniors in particular with new bowls, equipment and publicity.
After some quick research of Julie’s previous activities online it was obvious that her enthusiasim and passion for sport and promoting the para sports agenda whislt changing the societies perceptions sat perfectly with what we were striving to do at Woodend Bowling Club and the GlasBowl agenda specifically.
We are nearly a year from Glasgow2014 and Lawn Bowls is one of the sports, how are you feeling about the excitement of getting children involved?
Its fantastic. I can’t express how exciting a time it is to see so many children on the green, Last years GlasBowl event and the final in particular was such a positive experience and it’s great to have kids coming up to you in the supermarket and saying how much they enjoyed it. One of the most memorable moments was when one of the GlasBowl participants was asking his dad if they could go to watch Lawn Bowls at the Commonwealth games when they come. How cool is that!!
We are all delighted to be part of GlasBowl as it has taken a lot of effort and time from all the coaches involved. It is VERY VERY exciting and rewarding. We can’t wait to take the kids along to see some of the forthcoming International Matches at Kelvingrove.