Disability Bowls England’s (DBE’s) aim is to be the governing and co-coordinating body of Bowls for players of all ages and abilities with a physical, sensory or learning disability. DBE has the vision of developing participation opportunities and improving performance in disability bowls players with a physical, sensory or learning disability in England and contributing to UK and international initiatives.
The charitable purposes of the Charity are, in the interests of social welfare and with the object of improving the condition of life of people with disabilities, to facilitate their participation in the sport of bowls.
The trustees confirm that in preparing the above objects they have taken due regard to the guidance on public benefit published by the Charity Commission.
Unlike mainstream bowls, disability bowls’ origins lie within the disability specific multi-sport organisations and clubs. It was in the past one of many sports offered to people with a physical and or visual impairment, it was used by people like Ludvig Guttman at Stoke Mandeville as part of patients’ rehabilitation. It was also included in the early Paralympic Games at Stoke Mandeville.
Bowls is now recognised as one of the most accessible and integrated sports readily available and can be played by almost anyone, with or without a disability. It can be played in many formats, singles, pairs, triples and fours. It can be played in teams of whatever number you wish. It can be played competitively at local, national and international level or it can be a social pastime encompassing every level of engagement. Disabled bowlers can compete with or against non-disabled bowlers in most situations.
We have also seen in recent years the game become far more accessible to people with disabilities, the development of wheelchairs designed especially for bowling greens to prevent damage to the greens, along with several other aids enabling more participation in the sport.
Although bowls is no longer included in the Paralympic Games, the impact of the inclusion in the Commonwealth Games 2014, show-cased the skill and potential that people with disabilities can achieve and it is hoped that this will help in the future development of sports which are accessible all. Bowls is one of these sports and is more inclusive than most.
DBE hopes to improve the access to the game of bowls to enable more disabled people to take it up, and through active participation and support, improve opportunities, improve individual’s personal lifestyle and skills and maybe aspire to become a future champion.