Biddenden Bowls Club is an inclusive club and our bowling activities are open to all. The sport of Bowls can be played by almost anyone and is one of the most accessible and integrated sports readily available to people of all ages and from all walks of life. Bowlers with a disability can compete with or against non-disabled bowlers in most situations and "the normal aging process" does not need to get in the way of the enjoyment and competition provided by the sport.
Please also visit our sub page on Dementia Friends
So what next? - September 2023
The condition of the decking at the front of the club house and access to the club house from the path around the green and the path from the top gate both need attention to ensure safe accessibility for all. The concrete ramp up to the club house balcony/decking from the path around the green is too steep and not wide enough for wheelchairs and far from ideal for bowlers/visitors with mobility issues.
Replacement of parts of the decking edges, installation of a new ramp meeting recommended slope angles and length and upgrading the steps and hand rails are our focus for 2024. SEE picture below showing existing ramp and steps
Guide to Accessibility and Facilities
Biddenden Bowls Club is a typical village club run by volunteers. It is friendly and welcoming but does not have all the facilities which a larger, richer club may have. However a very proactive stance is being taken to review, upgrade and introduce facilities to overcome barriers and make the club accessible and safe for all.
Car Parking - a large gravel car park (owned by the Parish Council) is close to the green's main entrance (20 metres from the closest parking space.)
Blue Badge Parking Facilities - we do not have any reserved Blue Badge Places however we are able to put up temporary barriers/markers when we are running activities at the green when there is a likelihood of blue badge holders being present. So if you are planning to come along to the green and need a reserved place close to the entrance please email us via the contact page so that we can make suitable arrangements.
Level Access - from the edge of the car park and all around the green there is level access. Benches are placed at regular intervals around the green.
Access to the Club house from the green surrounds - 3 steps lead up to the veranda. There is a concrete ramp adjoining the steps. This ramp is not ideal as it is not wide enough and is a little steep (please see picture.) As at September 2023 we are looking at ways to improve this access - see above
Alternative Access to the Club house - a second gate can be opened which leads directly along a path onto the club house veranda. However, access to this gate from the car park is along approximately 40 meters of grass.
Access to the Green - The step down to the green from the green boundary is approximately 9" across the ditch and 9" down. Steps with handles are available both at one side of the green and in one corner. A purpose built metal ramp is available if needed for wheelchair or sloped access to the green.
Accessible Toilet - The Club has a new toilet block, opened in 2020 which has a unisex accessible toilet. Access is via a wide ramp. The block also contains separate mens and ladies toilet facilities.
Club House - We have a simple club house containing a basic kitchen and space for up to 6 tea tables to be set out. In front is a wide veranda overlooking the green. We do not have a bar.
Changing Rooms - These are basic and provide simple changing facilities. The Ladies is at the end of the club house and is accessed via the club house. The Mens is accessed from the path around the green and is up one step.
Equipment and Aids available.
The club has a range of equipment for the use of bowlers to help them to participate. This is available for bowlers to use, to try and to borrow. Over the past few seasons one of strongest players made use of the lifter whilst she had a bad back and another of our experienced players used the bowling arm so that he could keep playing even though he had a sore wrist.
Much of this was purchased in 2019 with the help of an AVIVA Community Grant of £1000 which was used to purchase equipment for junior bowlers as well as some bowling aids. More recently we received a grant of £325 from the Biddenden Village Community Support Fund (January 2021) which has also been put towards buying small size bowls and an aid.
- Bowls lifter
- Bowling Arm (medium)
- UBI Launcher
- Taylor Ace Junior Bowls - 4 sets - small light weight bowls (2 extra sets purchased 2020 to ensure we had enough to support the junior summer school)
- 00 and 0 size bowls
- A range of bowls sizes and types for use by new bowlers.
- set of 0000 Drakes Pride Professional Bowls - perfect for the younger bowler moving up from junior to full size bowls or those with small hands or perhaps achy fingers!
- Bowls Mate - a light weight height adjustable device with bowl and jack pickups. Designed to help a bowler to balance when delivering the bowl.
- Different coloured bowls mats (to avoid the more typical black ones where these could disorientate a bowler.)
Bush Hill Bowls www.bushhillbowls.co.uk
"We specialise in enabling equipment for bowlers, including the CWG medal-winning Bowls Royce wheelchair. We are the equipment partner of Disability Bowls England and all our products are approved by Bowls England and the EIBA for use on indoor, all-weather and lawn bowling surfaces, thus offering peace of mind to greenkeepers and enhanced sports opportunities to less able members of the community."
Note to members March 2020
Inclusion and Accessibility at Biddenden Bowls Club
As is the case with many bowls clubs, our membership falls into the “older age category” meaning that many of us are perhaps less mobile, agile and flexible than we used to be and many of us have one or more impairments (**) which can impact upon our ability to play and enjoy bowls. As a result, in the past, bowlers may have stopped playing sooner than they might have needed or have lost the enjoyment of the sport. We want to try to ensure wherever possible that this is not the case in the future.
A small subcommittee has been formed (comprising Linda W, Ashley, David and Kim) to look into making our club more accessible to current and future members, to overcome any barriers to participation and to make our club a more inclusive environment.
It is essential that we understand the needs of our members (playing and social) in order to know how best to support them. This will help to identify barriers that negatively affect members’ experiences and address them to help attract and retain members and increase their playing careers and/or involvement with our bowls club. To do this we are investigating what the club currently offers and the needs of our membership.
** A simple definition of impairment is “the physical, mental or sensory characteristic, feature or attribute that affects the function of an individual’s mind or body”. They can be permanent or transitory.
Inclusion and Accessibility Subcommittee March 2020