ELDERLY people were bowled over after taking part in a pilot project designed to increase participation in bowls.
Around 30 beginner bowlers and volunteer coaches took part in the four-week beginner bowls programme which was launched at Stoke Bowls Club in Occupation Road.
The weekly sessions were organised as part of AgeUK’s Inspire to Include venture, which aims to provide over 50s and those with a disability the opportunity to learn a new skill.
The pilot programme, supported by Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Sport (CSW Sport) and the Bowls Development Alliance (BDA), was delivered following the success of a four-hour coaching workshop which saw volunteers from AgeUK and Stoke Bowls Club trained by the BDA to deliver the sessions.
The programme will be continued in the New Year following the increase in demand for the sport.
First time participant, Connie Ross-Barnard was invited along with her husband and said the programme has allowed her to meet new people and learn something new.
The 76-year-old said: “We have loved meeting new people, they are a really friendly bunch, and surprisingly the ball actually goes down the lane occasionally.
“During the first session there were balls all over the place. We have enjoyed it so much that we have decided to continue next year.”
David White, a volunteer for AgeUK who took part in the initial coaching day, said: “I really enjoyed the training session and it has given me the impetus to get out and help other people.
“It has been great to coach new participants and I am hoping to do more in the summer when we move outside.”
Hannah Milde, of CSW Sport, said the project was a great success.
She added: “Bowls is a fantastic way for older members of the community to engage both socially and competitively in a sport.
“We are delighted that the project will be extended to the New Year with courses such as ‘How to Deliver Engaging Session to Older People’ planned to enhance this and similar projects.”