Just Bowl

When residents enter a care home their daily routine inevitably changes and consequently, several forms of physical activity are no longer possible. One such activity, that is synonymous with older adults is bowls. According to Sport England, in 2021 there was over 165 000 people playing bowls in England, but it is estimated that this figure is significantly higher, especially considering there are over 2700 lawn green clubs, over 2000 crown green clubs and an estimated 90 000 participants, 18000 participants taking part in Short Mat Bowls and many more taking part in Indoor Bowls, Disability Bowls and Carpet Bowls. Sadly, for many residents, when they enter a care home they will no longer be able to enjoy a ‘roll up’ on a sunny afternoon. However, the Bowls Development Alliance is helping to change that by introducing Just Bowl into the care sector.

Just Bowl was developed in 2014 by the Bowls Development Alliance as a community engagement programme and is a fun, easy to play, form of bowls that can be used in care homes, rehabilitation centres, leisure facilities, educational establishments, community settings and just about anywhere else.

Ian McCombes, the Just Bowl Manager explains,
‘We work with our partners to offer a bespoke training package which is supplemented by our exclusive Just Bowl equipment and additional items depending on the company’s requirements. We also provide aftercare support and guidance to ensure that Just Bowl is being utilised to its full potential.’


The team have also been working with Sheffield Hallam University to conduct research and identify what impact Just Bowl has had on residents in Brighterkind care homes. The findings showed that Just Bowl encouraged inclusivity as it allowed people of all ages and abilities to play. The research conducted in 2018 showed that 83% of participants had a disability and 75% of the participants were aged 81-101 years of age. Just Bowl also helped to increase physical activity levels with research showing the average physical activity levels (including light activity) increased by 40 minutes per week.

This is significantly important as research shows that any increase in the volume and frequency of light activities, and any reduction in sedentary behaviour will contribute towards health. The research carried out by Sheffield Hallam University also identified that Just Bowl created a sociable and fun atmosphere as the participants were able to bond whilst playing the game which subsequently led to an improvement in the mental wellbeing of those taking part with the research showing improvements in happiness and a reduction in anxiety.

Additionally, the research established that exercise self-efficacy increased following participation in Just Bowl, which suggests that participants felt more confident in their ability to be physically active. Self-efficacy is the belief and conviction that one can successfully perform a given activity and exercise self-efficacy is an important predictor of the adoption and maintenance of exercise behaviours both of which could have compelling impacts on care home residents in their day to day lives.

For further information on Just Bowl please visit us at UK Care Week at stand E40 or contact Ian on 07741873233 or ian@justbowl.org

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