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Rhiwbina’s female bowlers are staying active into their 90s thanks to National Lottery funding

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For older people, staying active and continuing with sport can often seem an impossible task. But thanks to £1,152 of National Lottery funding, Rhiwbina Ladies Outdoor Bowls Club are supporting more than 25 women into their 90s to continue playing bowls. 

The club’s newly formed ‘Veterans Ladies’ group is playing bowls every week, thanks to new equipment purchased with the grant. For many of these ladies it’s the only time they get to be active during the week.

What equipment did they purchase with the funding?

Lots of the participants have mobility issues, so the new ‘ferrules’ they purchased means their walking sticks are safe to use on the green. ‘Bowls and jack lifters’ help them collect the bowls and jacks without having to bend. A new ‘bowls gatherer’ doubles as a walking aid to help the women walk up and down the green. Without this equipment, most of them would no longer be able to play. 

Rhiwbina Veteran Ladies’ oldest member is 91-year-old Moya. She said: “I use all the equipment that’s been supplied because I need it. The walking sticks, the scoops, the lifters… I’m grateful for them. 

Luckily, I still drive. As long as I can keep driving, I’ll keep coming to the club!”

The National Lottery supported Be Active Wales Fund from Sport Wales offers grants to grassroots sport clubs and community groups that are making changes to increase sport participation. 

Moya Evans picking up a bowl with the bowl lifter.
Moya Evans using the bowl and jack lifter
Glo Bird carrying two bowls.
Glo Bird
Moya Evans using the bowls gatherer
Moya Evans using the bowls gatherer

Why is it important for older people to be active?

The most recent Wales Activity Tracker survey noted that people over 55 are less likely than younger people to have the ability to be physically active, so supporting projects that enable older people to exercise is more important than ever. 

Owen Hathway, Assistant Director for Insight, Policy, and Public Affairs at Sport Wales said: “The Veterans Ladies group at Rhiwbina Outdoor Bowls Club is a brilliant example of a club making changes to meet the needs of their members.

“We want Wales to be an active nation where everyone can enjoy sport lifelong. Creating inclusive spaces for older people is an important part of this, so we’re really pleased to have supported this project through the Be Active Wales Fund.”

Many of the club’s members are widows, and the social aspect of recreational sport is also improving their quality of life significantly. 

Club member Glo Bird agrees, and said: “When I joined, I’d become a widow. I’ve since been diagnosed with Parkinsons. But my friends here at the bowls club have rallied around. It’s just been a lifesaver for me.

“I wouldn’t want to be without my club.”

Julia Rawlins, Captain of Rhiwbina Ladies Outdoor Bowls said: “My aim before becoming captain was to have a happy club, and I’m so pleased that we’ve achieved it. 

Looking at our club, I’m so proud to offer those different activities to address ladies’ needs, as well as the amazing social life that we can offer.”

All members of Rhiwbina Ladies Outdoor Bowls Club's Veteran's group smiling for a photo.
The Veterans Group

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