Tag Archives: Walthamstow Borough Bowling Club

Walthamstow first ever VI Bowls season in 2016 – A Great Success!

Walthamstow first ever VI Bowls season in 2016

After a successful trial in 2015, East London Vision in conjunction with Metro Blind Sport, Walthamstow Borough Bowling Club and Motivate East launched WBBC first ever VI Bowls season during 2016. Made up of 10 FREE sessions, the sessions were open to anyone living with sight loss, in East London or surrounding areas.

Bowls is not only a great game to take part in socially; it also helps improve confidence and general fitness of players. Visually Impaired Bowls England was founded in 1975 and is made up of more than 50 clubs and has around 600 members. Globally, there are 5,000 blind and partially sighted members of the International Association, which makes lawn bowls the largest outdoor activity for the blind in the world.

bowler looking left WBBC Bowls 25 August
bowler’s chatting and looking left

It is a very skilful game and involves the use of the same green and also uses the same lawn bowls, clothing and equipment as fully sighted players. Bowling for the blind and visually impaired follows the laws of the English Bowling Association, although there are some variations to the game.

Having run a successful taster session back in 2015, it was now time to run a whole season of VI bowls. An extraordinary story by all accounts, particularly when you consider that this had never been trialled in East London and perhaps above all, many of the members were pure novices to the game. As a result, therefore it was both an absolute honour and a pleasure for us to witness the development of the players on and off the rink.

Volunteer and bowler's walking forward toward played bowls
Volunteer and Bowler’s walking forward toward played bowls

We spent the first few sessions learning about the game (Rules/regulations), practicing (trying different woods) and socialising. So eager and competitive were the members that Bob Belam chairman of Walthamstow Borough Bowling Club often stated that the club could do with the vision impaired players competing in the upcoming club’s games, high praise indeed when you consider the club is on the verge of winning not one, but two league titles!

Bowler all lined up and about to bowl
Bowler all lined up and aout to bowl

After 3 solid sessions of practice, many of the members had developed outstanding skills and were playing bowls independently. One member was so overawed by the game he once loved and played as a sighted person, that he took the opportunity of becoming a member of the bowls club instantly.

“I love this game, no other club would let me in or support me the way this club has and it is thanks to you, I have now discovered and rekindled my love for bowls again”

Bowler bowling toward the camera with score board behind
Bowler bowling toward the camera with score board behind

After toiling in the splendid sunshine for 4 sessions, the members were prepared and primed to take part in competitive games of bowls against one another. The games were always friendly, but well fought, the camaraderie and the chemistry on display was something quite special indeed.

As we approached the 10th and alas the final session of VI bowls, the sadness was evident and all parties involved wish to continue to play this year and wanted to repeat the season next year.

Partnerships are invaluable in all walks of life and therefore it was pleasing to witness more than 5 of the members joined Metro Blind Sport, as a result of this project.

The 10th session started with a little bit of drizzle, making the conditions quite tricky for the now expert bowlers, however adjusting and learning was a massive part of their repertoire. So perhaps it wasn’t all that surprising when the last VI tournament started, the players were used to the conditions and were in tip top form, playing in pairs and competing over 3 ends of hard-core VI bowls!

Bowler on the Yellow rectangle lining up his shot with the guide string
Bowler on the Yellow rectangle lining up his shot with the guide string

And when the finalists came out to bowl for the Bob Belam trophy, typically they were openly welcomed to the rink by scorching British sunshine, which we have become quite accustomed to in this country.

The first 2 ends were dominated by Shahid, who incidentally was probably the best developed bowler and hit the jack many a times throughout the 10 sessions!

Bowler smiling in the sun about to bowl while facing down the bowling green
Bowler smiling in the sun about to bowl while facing down the bowling green

2 down with 1 end to go Junnette the lady who played bowls after 50 years and James who rekindled his love for the game had to pull something quite miraculous out of the bag to survive, but survive they did! After 3 spectacular ends, the scores were 2 all, consequently a 4th end had to be played and here Junette continued her sparkling form by winning the title with her partner James!

Bowlers shaking hands and smiling after the competition
Bowlers shaking hands and smiling after the competition

This was followed by a short celebration, presentation of the trophy and some thank you speeches!

Bottle of bubbly and speeches
Bottle of bubbly and speeches

The club have been phenomenal in their support and what better way than to top it all off with a world-renowned delicious cake, made lovingly by Wender Belam, the wife of Bob.

Smiling faces at a table full of cake and other goodies
Smiling faces at a table full of cake and other goodies

We would like to take this opportunity to thank, Ian Francis (Sports Development Officer) Metro Blind Sport, Both of the VI bowling experts from Metro Blind Sport, Motivate East, our members for attending and last but most definitely not least, Walthamstow Borough Bowling Club, whose continued support and effort is much appreciated, your volunteers were fantastic.

Amit, who is a Vision Impaired bowler for Metro Blind Sport attended the sessions to coach, added: “I’m so pleased that local bowling clubs want to be involved and help out. The club members were wonderful; it was like bowling with friends, who understood your needs and wants.”

A couple of the members told us that they really appreciated Transport from and to Walthamstow Central station and huge thanks to Bob Belam once again, who ensured this was put in place prior to the sessions.

On her way out one of our members told us:

“Having not played bowls because of work and lack of opportunities, it is an honour to win the final competition, I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I’ve managed to get some brilliant photos too”

Fitzroy club Secretary added:
“I’m happy to help and support any VI bowler who wants to come and play with the club, I have enjoyed helping with the organising and managing the games”

Hassan Khan who is a project coordinator for the Thomas Pocklington-Trust stated:
“It has been an absolute pleasure in witnessing the members enjoying, competing – above all developing and making new friends, it has been hard work behind the scenes, but the partners involved have really been magnificent.  Seeing the smiles on the faces of the members, at the last session, made everything worthwhile”

–  Article by Hassan Khan

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Bowls news: Hit the Lawn, jack – New VI Bowls Sessions in East London – 26th May

Vision Impaired bowls Session in East London - Thursday 26th May!

Article from  WALTHAM FOREST ECHO May issue

Bowling club secretary Bob Belam explains how visually-impaired people can now enjoy the sport locally

This month. Walthamstow Borough Bowling Club (WBBC) will be launching a project in Lloyd Park aimed at enabling local people living with sight loss to take up and play an adapted version of bowls.

Thanks to funding and support from Motivate East, a London 2012 Olympic Games legacy project, alongside training and guidance from vision-impaired charities East London Vision and Metro Blind Sport, people from across East London can experience this sport in a supportive and friendly setting.

Waltham Forest Community Transport is providing a pick-up and drop-off service to the park in Walthamstow, removing another barrier to active participation for blind and partially-sighted Londoners.

According to the sporting body Visually Impaired Bowls England (VIBE), there are more than 50 clubs around the country supporting over 600 blind and partially-sighted people to play and compete in this sport. London only has two such clubs, and we will be the first located in the east of the capital.

We are delighted to be able to offer another inclusive bowling opportunity here at our club, and it is a really exciting and inspiring project to be part of. As with all vision-impaired sports there are adaptations required to make this sport accessible.

Ian Francis, a sports development officer at charity Metro Blind Sport, explains: “Blind and partially-sighted bowlers rely on good communication with their ‘spotters’ and use a ‘clock face’ principle to explain the position of a ‘wood’ in relation to the jack. “Once the jack has been rolled it is placed on a centre string running the full length of the rink, this distance is then called to all players.

“Spotters then call the wood positions, for example, ‘three feet from the jack at 12 o’clock’, to create a mental picture for the bowler. They also act as guides for players when moving around the rink and often before and after matches. ”

Without clubs such as WBBC delivering these inclusive opportunities it is extremely challenging to provide truly accessible sport, we all really value their support.

If you are vision-impaired or know someone who is, you are welcome to join us for the launch of vision-impaired bowling in Walthamstow , details below.

First Vision Impaired Bowls Session in East London

When: Starting Thu 26th May 2016
(followed by 9, 23, 30 June; 7, 21, 28 Jul; 4, 18, 25 Aug)
Time:  2.00pm  – 5.30pm
Where: WBBC, Lloyds Park off Forest Road, Walthamstow E17.
Meeting Point: William Morris Gallery Park Entrance – 1.30pm

Nearest Tube/train: Walthamstow Central (over ground train and Victoria line). Alternatively Blackhorse Road Station and then Bus 123 to the William Morris Gallery Entrance.
Bus: 123, 34, 97, 215, 275, 357 all run nearby.

Community Transport Bus from Walthamstow Central Taxi Rank, to Lloyds Park – TBC.

This is a unique opportunity for Vision Impaired people of East London to play the wonderful sport of bowls, on their own doorstep in a supported club setting. Whether you consider yourself a novice or an expert, we would urge you to come along and pass on your expertise or learn more about this game.

For more information and to confirm your place please contact Nicola Stokes at ELVis,
Mob: 07914 770909  Tel. 020 3697 6464
Email: nicola@eastlondonvision.org.uk
Or Ian Francis (Sports Development Officer) Metro Blind Sport,
Tel. 07814 751643, Email: ian.francis@metroblindsport.org

 

 

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First Vision Impaired Bowling Sesson in East London

New VI Bowls Sessions in East London

Above: First Bowls Sesson at Walthamstow Borough Bowling Club

East London Vision, in conjunction with Metro Blind Sport, Walthamstow Borough Bowling Club and Motivate East, organised the first Vision Impaired bowls taster session

As someone who is an enthusiastic sports person, it was a pleasure to be able to help run the first ever VI Bowls taster session in East London and here is a short report.

On a glorious Thursday afternoon, the sun most definitely played a big part in ensuring this session was a success! The obsession with the weather means, we often start a conversation with the weather and as our members were introduced to the Bowling club staff, we are pleased to report, they certainly maintained the tradition. Although perhaps as a Cricketer who spends his life praying for the sun, it is probably me, who is a little obsessed!

After a quick introduction to VI bowls, rules and the equipment. We had a tour of the 6 Bowling rinks and only then did the members have the opportunity of throwing a Jack and the wood. This would stand them, in good stead for a competitive game later on in the afternoon. I do sincerely hope, no one had the camera out, when yours truly had the first ever go, let’s just say, it won’t live long in the memory!

Visually Impaired Bowls England was founded in 1975 and is made up of more than 50 clubs and has around 600 members. Globally, there are 5,000 blind and partially sighted members of the International Association, which makes lawn bowls the largest outdoor activity for the blind in the world.

Bowls is not only a great game to take part in socially; it also helps improve confidence and general fitness of players. Although the snacks probably didn’t help the general fitness, everyone involved had their competitive juices flowing, as we wrapped up the day by playing a couple of games. When the final scores came in, one or two were left perplexed, as both teams drew 3 all. Although, VI Bowls was the big winner on the day.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank, Ian Francis (Sports Development Officer) Metro Blind Sport, Vision Impaired  bowling experts from Metro Blind Sport Eric and Amit, Motivate East, our members for attending and last but most definitely not least, Walthamstow Borough Bowling Club, your continued support and effort is much appreciated.

– Report by Hassan Khan

If anyone is tempted to join us or just wants to know more about the game, why not get in touch with Eric Gallacher or Ian Francis ( Sports Development Officer)
Contact: ericgal@blueyonder.co.uk or Ian Francis: ian.francis@metroblindsport.org

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