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This blog post was written by OLBA Vice President and Grants Director Ralph Ellis 

Our clubs have many needs – better greens, new bowling equipment, new appliances and renovations. The federal New Horizons grant program has supported activities at lawn bowling clubs since the 1970s. My first club in the 1970s received 3 grants for a new mower, de-thatcher and new lighting. Other clubs use it for smaller coloured club bowls, other bowls equipment and promotional items to grow their clubs. Your club can use it to improve facilities, recruit members and revitalize your club. The grant goes up to $25,000 for capital purchases and is available for both incorporated and unincorporated clubs.

In the last two years, my home club, James Gardens, has received over $55,000 in government grants from various sources – primarily from the New Horizons program. This could be your club’s experience as well.

How do you get started?

The start is to check out my “How To” video for applying for New Horizons grants.

Some things have changed since this video was done. You now have to do a detailed budget and you need at least 3 letters of community support.

Go to this page to download the form and the application guides.

The deadline for this year’s application is June 21, 2019.

Typically, in Ontario, about 10% of clubs used to apply for some sort of government grant each year. We need that number to be somewhere between 60% and 80% nationwide. Impossible? In one year of strongly promoting the New Horizons grants in Ontario, we have managed to get 40 of 118 clubs to apply for a New Horizons grant. Keep in mind that this is our first year of promoting this grant actively. 24 of these clubs were approved for a grand total over $600,000.

To accomplish this, we did the following:

  1. Contacted clubs and provided assistance in getting them started.
  2. Provided an easy to follow YouTube “How to Apply” video.
  3. Provided templates of successful applications.
  4. Provided follow up assistance to people writing the grants
  5. Provided generic grant applications that clubs could edit with changes and submit. (Never underestimate laziness.)
  6. Provided follow up assistance in answering questions directed at the clubs provided by the New Horizons grants reviewers.

What we have done in Ontario can easily be transplanted nationwide by using the same materials. Until there are people to directly lead grants workshops in other provinces, it is possible to do conference calls or webinars with clubs to answer questions.

To help clubs outside of Ontario get started, the OLBA is willing to share its resources. We will provide you with access to our database of successful applications and help edit and proofread your applications before sending them in.

Here is a link to a series of successful applications for all sorts of different types of projects.!AuJguHh-xjJZke1izoKEwtk9xonFsg

To read the files in this link you will need Adobe Acrobat DC or Foxit Reader.

To get help with reviewing your application, contact Ralph Ellis

What should you apply for?

Sit down with your club executive and decide on your needs. The most common targets are:

1) Bowls equipment – coloured small lawn bowls, mats, jacks, scoreboards, accessibility equipment like bowling arms or Ubi-Launchers

2) Training for club coaches

3) Greens equipment – mowers, de-thatchers, aerators, rollers

4) New appliances for your club house

5) Short mat setups for demonstrations and for club play

6) Renovations to your club house

7) Ditch board replacement

8) Lighting replacement and upgrade

You can apply every year and rotate through the various targets. Some clubs in Ontario have received grants in 4 of 5 years. What would your club do with $100,000 over 5 years?

With this money, we can change lawn bowling forever. Revitalize your club by getting them the resources that they need.  You are not alone and we can help you. Get started today.

Ralph Ellis

OLBA Vice President and Grants Director






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