The memorandum of understanding, struck earlier this month, will deepen our partnership and create more opportunities for veterans and their families to get involved in bowls across the country.
A strong track record
VSA and BA have in fact been working together since 2020.
Our partnership’s first on-the-ground initiative took place in October 2020 with a Veteran Family Day at Raymond Terrace Bowling Club in NSW’s Hunter Region. With former Australian coach Steve Glasson OAM on hand to provide veterans and their families with support, it was the first leg of our ‘NSW Regional Bowls Tour’, supported by the NSW Office of Sport, which has since taken us toBallina and Port Macquarie.
“Lawn bowls is a great activity – it’s an opportunity to connect younger veterans or people who have just left service with older veterans.”Michael Hartung, CEO of Veteran Sport Australia
Next up, it’s the NSW South Coast’s turn to get involved, with a Veteran Family Day being held on 23 May at Shoalhaven Heads Bowling & Recreation Club. Then, later in the year, we’ll be rounding out the Tour by heading to Tamworth and the Central Coast.
Defence families from local schools have also been getting in on the fun, with Defence Support Members working with us and BA to put on an enjoyable social afternoon using the Rookie Rollers platform for families in the Hunter. Similarly, local RSL sub Branches have been collaborating in putting on Barefoot Bowls social events with beginners, social players and more experienced bowlers all mixing on the greens.
A match made in heaven
Veteran Sport Australia CEO Michael Hartung was delighted to formalise the relationship with BA, calling the partnership ‘a match made in heaven’.
“We know how popular bowls is throughout the veteran community and, through our ‘NSW Regional Bowls Tour’, we’ve seen first-hand the opportunity to introduce more and more veterans and their families to the sport,” said Michael.
“We’re particularly excited about the potential to work with the extensive network of bowling clubs around country Australia.
“Most of the bowling clubs are based in the regions and there’s no better way to bring a community together than a friendly bowls competition and by encouraging people to get involved with volunteering opportunities.”
A great history
BA CEO Neil Dalrymple said he was excited by the chance to encourage more veterans and their families to participate in the sport.
“The Australian Defence Force has a great history with bowls and current and former serving veterans make a big contribution to our sport every week right around Australia,” said Neil.
“We’re enjoying working with Veteran Sport Australia and can see huge potential to growing our community and fostering a more inclusive environment.”
Former BCiB Australian Jackaroos national coach Steve Glasson OAM currently serves as the Australian Defence Force’s Honorary Bowls Patron.
He said that bowls is the perfect medicine for veterans, their families and support crews and that engaging with the sport can provide rewarding health benefits – by getting active and improving lifestyles through participation.
“It’s amazing to be promoting bowls and increasing participation for our veterans,” said Steve.
“Bowls is unique in that people of all walks of life and disability can participate – I can’t think of any limitations to preclude participation; bowls can also be very social and there’s nothing better than social therapy.”
Veteran Sport Australia (VSA) was founded to carry on the legacy of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018. The program is owned and operated by Australian International Military Games, the not-for-profit charitable organisation that was responsible for organising Invictus Games Sydney 2018. VSA exists to support veterans and their families to improve their health and wellbeing through sport and recreation.