Keeping in touch with boccia club members (and parents), coaches, and volunteers during the Coronavirus pandemic when it hasn't been possible to meet or train together has proved vitally important. It has helped them feel that they are still part of the club and for many within the boccia community who have been shielding, it has helped to reduce social isolation in these very strange and unprecedented times.   

Three boccia clubs have shared their experiences of keeping engaged online throughout the pandemic.


Nottinghamshire Boccia Club

Nottinghamshire Boccia Club was established in the mid-90s and now has 23 members and five coaches.

Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, they have been staying in touch with members via a WhatsApp group for parents and have held meetings with players/parents on Skype. They have engaged with their members online through a range of activities including bingo, quizzes and held their annual Christmas party virtually via Zoom.

These fun activities were well received by their members with Kate, one of the club’s coaches, saying It was great to see the members of our club laugh so much!”. These are activities which they intend to continue beyond the pandemic as they benefit both the club and their members.

Nottinghamshire Boccia Club has supported their players’ mental health by arranging sessions on Zoom for them to talk through any concerns or worries they may have about the current situation.  


GEM Boccia Club

GEM Boccia Club, based in South Gloucestershire, was established after the Rio Paralympics in 2016 and now has 20 members with a strong volunteer base.

When the country entered national lockdown in March 2020, the club started to share weekly boccia activities which could be done at home to engage with their members. They also worked in partnership with the national charity Access Sport to deliver online sessions for their members.

As some of the members with learning disabilities find online sessions challenging, volunteers would often have one-to-one conversations over the phone to keep in touch with them. Many members prefer these individual conversations over video group calls. This highlights the importance of treating each member as an individual and tailoring communications to meet individual needs, showing that members appreciate different ways you choose to engage with them.


Jigsaw Bury

Jigsaw Bury is a sport and social club for young disabled people aged 13+ based in Bury, Greater Manchester. It became a registered charity in 2006 and currently has 167 active members.

Club leads have kept engaged with their members throughout the Coronavirus pandemic by creating a weekly Zoom club for members and their families which offers fun social activities on a Tuesday evening. All activities delivered at the weekly Zoom club have been social so far and have included themed quiz nights, "cuppa & catch-ups", talent shows, and seasonal discos.

These activities have been popular, with an average of 16 members attending each session. Going forward, the club is hoping to introduce yoga and chair-based exercise into their weekly Zoom club, which will be continuing until June 2021. Jigsaw Bury has also been keeping in touch with its members, staff, and volunteers through a newsletter which is circulated monthly via email and post.

Ellen, the coordinator at Jigsaw Bury, would advise other clubs who are looking to engage with their members online not to be afraid to try new and different things when delivering activities virtually and to take suggestions from members about what activities they would like to be delivered in the future.


Further information and advice about engaging with the members of your boccia club virtually can be accessed from Sport England’s Club Matters website.