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Bowling Back The Years

A funded project from 19th October 2021 for 6 months.

Bowling Back the Years which has been funded by Sport England’s This Girl Can Community Fund has provided ladies aged 16+ the opportunity to learn a new skill and make new friends in a fun, sociable atmosphere by being coached in the finer points of Indoor Bowls at Thornaby Indoor Bowls Club, which is managed by Charitable Leisure Trust Tees Active. Starting in October 2021, the project enabled ladies from all over Teesside to descend upon Thornaby Pavilion’s indoor bowls green to get active and have fun! We caught up with a few of the ladies who took part to get their views on the project and see how it helped them to bounce back after the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bowling Back The Years Project Summary

Free For Participants

This project was free for participants and funded by Sport England's This Girl Can Community Fund.

Ladies Only

Available for ladies aged 16+.

Physical Activity

The project provided ladies with the opportunity to get active again after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Get Active

Instead of walking around the block by themselves, ladies were able to walk whilst playing a competitive sport.


The project provided the opportunity to meet new people and make friends.

After being isolated for so long, it was great to get back out and not only do something fun but make new friends. I was working from home and due to retire, so I was looking for things to do and the group has really helped me feel less isolated.

Sue, Bowling Back The Years Participant.

The participants of Bowling Back the Years overwhelmingly agreed that the project was a lot of fun! Not only did they learn how to play indoor bowls through the coaching provided and by helping each other, they made a lot of new friends. Denise told us “It’s a fantastic group of women, almost all of us didn’t know each other before hand. It’s a big thing coming into something like this alone and we’ve been lucky to all get on so well.”

Diane Pugh, a regular Activ8 Health & Fitness class attendee, shared with us how she regularly plays outdoor bowls and jumped at the opportunity to try indoor bowls. “I started outdoor bowls just before the COVID pandemic hit, so I hadn’t had much practise before attending. I heard there was this opportunity to play indoors, and I was excited to try, especially since we don’t play outdoors in the winter. However, it’s completely different from playing outdoors, when you’re outdoors you’ve got to really drive the bowl whereas it flies indoors!”

It was fantastic to hear how the ladies enjoyed the Bowling Back the Years project and the social, mental and physical benefits indoor bowls has had on each of them. Denise told us “We all really enjoy the social side of playing but we’ve seen health benefits too. A couple of us had trouble bending down and getting back up without using furniture before we started playing, but now from walking up and down the green and collecting our bowls we’re able to get up a lot more easily!”

Once the ladies completed their coaching course Since they have continued to play indoor bowls together at Thornaby Pavilion every Tuesday morning and have no plans to stop. When asked if they would recommend indoor bowls to others, they overwhelmingly said “try it! It’s not what you think and you’ll enjoy it!” Denise said “I had never played bowls before and was both excited and nervous to try something new – especially alone – but it was a great group of women and we all got along really well. I’m glad I took the step to try it!”

If you’re looking for a fun, sociable activity for all ages and abilities, why not give indoor bowls a try. You never know, just like these ladies, you might see many health benefits and make some great friends along the way! For more information on indoor bowls, click here or call Thornaby Pavilion on 01642 760971.

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