Flash of green to lift community spirits
Things have been tough for a while around Mildura – drought, heat, dust storms, the soaring cost of water for irrigation.
So, the Red Cliffs Bowling Club, just south of the city, thought a fun day to lift community spirits and possibly encourage new members would be a great idea.
The 80 or so members mainly come from the surrounding rural areas, with an ageing demographic but also a smattering of young blood.
When they heard they had won $1000, for renewing and upgrading their Good Sports accreditation, they knew it was time to roll out the green carpet.
Club secretary Steve Nankivell said once the picking season was over and the dust had settled, the Red Cliffs members were planning a club day with maybe a few rounds of 100 Up, where the focus would be on fun, community and camaraderie rather than knocking the jack into a tailspin.
“The benefits are the possibility that people who didn’t know we existed, we will be introducing them to the club, and also providing an outlet for surrounding people who are struggling,” Steve said.
The bowling club had been uncertain about its accreditation level, so they got in touch with their local Good Sports officer in Mildura. The club invited her out for a talk and a tour and before long was on its way from Level 1 to Level 2 accreditation.
Good Sports representative Jeanette Worthington made club officials aware of policies they should be using within their club to keep them up to date with Good Sports values, such as safe transport policies, alcohol management and regular updates for Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) training.
Jeanette said clubs that were involved in the program presented themselves as being more professional.
“By displaying the Good Sports logo, it sends an important message to club members and the community,” she said. “It indicates that a club promotes a responsible attitude toward alcohol and provides a safe environment for players, members, families and supporters.”
Jeanette said being in Good Sports enhanced the family atmosphere in clubs, instead of being a place to go drinking, and opened up a new approach to responsible fundraising and sponsorships.
“You’re more likely to see families going to clubs rather than it just being blokey. You’ve got mums and partners and little ones running around and kids grow up in the club.
“It increases membership and attendance and they become recognised as community leaders. And it strengthens relationships with other community organisations,” she said.
The Red Cliffs Bowling Club was motivated to move up the Good Sports ladder by the likelihood of more sponsorship interest from local businesses.
Steve said having higher level accreditation, with player welfare policies in place, was a strong lure for getting sponsors on side.
While the long-term smokers took some extra convincing of the need to change, overall the club had embraced Good Sports and was looking forward to a bright future.
“To stay open, and to keep being competitive especially in the pennant and attract good players and keep the membership up and keep winning – that’s the long-term goal,” he said.