Pat Crick shares a unique story about the Bowlo recently joining forces with Saumarez Homestead.
How long have you worked at the Bowlo, and what do you love most about the club?
I’ve been running the Amidale Bowlo since January this year. Prior to that, I was the Club’s Operations Manager for over 4 years. I love the people I work with and the customers I serve. Their friendship and support makes my role enjoyable and entertaining.
I also gain great pleasure from providing my local community with a value added and safe hospitality venue that provides such a wealth of developmental support to community focused groups. Watching these local groups grow and achieve is very satisfying.
How and why has the Bowlo partnered with Saumarez?
The Bowlo and Saumarez Homestead have developed a memorandum of understanding that brings both organisations together, allowing both community based organisations to work in tandem to develop the Homestead’s exposure by utilising the Club’s resource base and professional services.
By leveraging these advantages together, we can work to grow the awareness of the beauty and significance the Homestead holds in the historical development of the Armidale community. As Saumarez is largely run by the passion of volunteers, the Club can add much needed support to these individuals by helping to promote, develop and facilitate event services for management and the Board of Directors, which is our area of skill and speciality.
Who owns Saumarez, and how difficult was it to form this partnership?
Saumarez Homestead is owned by the National Trust, which is Australia’s largest independent conservation movement. They are the only Australian conservation organisation which cares for the built, cultural and natural heritage of Australia, through advocacy, conservation and educational programmes for people of all ages. They are a community-based charity independent of government involvement and are Australia’s strongest voice for the protection of heritage of all kinds. They are backed by advice from Australia’s leading heritage professionals, supported by contributions from business and the community.
The partnership was easy to form, as the goals and values of both organisations are very similar. Both groups are community owned and have at their heart a desire to work towards cultivating community assets for the benefit of Armidale residents and its visitors.
How does this partnership benefit the Bowlo?
This partnership has allowed the Club to showcase its professional event planning and off site food and beverage offering. It has enabled us to increase the exposure of our event and banqueting capabilities to audiences that normally would not utilise the Bowling Club for their special occasions.
Through this the Club has been able to showcase the skill level it has at its disposal, which has been a main driver behind the large growth in our event management business, culminating recently in our event team being asked to present at a national event management conference on how the Club has developed its internal and offsite event management services. This exposure has enabled the Club to grow an experienced and skilful event planning team.
This unique relationship also allows the Club to fulfil its strategic mission of providing developmental aid to community organisations through in-kind and financial support. By helping to ensure the sustainability of community organisations such as Saumarez, the Club can help safeguard valuable community assets for generations to come.
Who operates Saumarez on a local level?
The Homestead is operated largely by a host of volunteers, who run the coffee shop and help take care of maintaining the gardens and various buildings located on the grounds, along with the gardener, Jarrad. There is also a passionate board who meet regularly and oversee the running of Saumarez, and then there is the property manager, Les Davis, who is involved in ensuring that the Homestead runs on a day to day basis and coordinates all the volunteers. Les also works closely with our Events team in regards to booking available dates for upcoming events.
How does this partnership benefit Saumarez?
Not only has this partnership created more awareness of the Homestead on a local and also interstate level, but the Armidale City Bowling Club has devised a marketing plan to boost the current usage of the property in the future.
Some of the proposed plans include: involving our staff and members in volunteering to help develop the gardens in order to maintain the property; developing the online and social media and marketing through our own Facebook, Twitter and website pages; investing in national bridal magazines and online bridal websites to encourage potential brides from out of town to look at holding their wedding at the homestead; and providing our members and visitors to our Club with information on tours and upcoming events to be held at the homestead.
Saumarez has just been awarded the 2012 Armidale and District Business Award for Tourism, which is testament to the great work their team has done over the past year. Internally within our Club, we are able to create awareness of the Homestead to a larger market, so that they can continue to develop and grow in the future.
The Bowlo is also hosting a regional Sales and Marketing Summit at the Homestead in September, that will heavily feature the use of tourism within regional areas and use Saumarez as a highlight of the Summit.
Have you managed any joint events yet?
Our Events Team has been working closely with the property manager, Les Davis, when coordinating many of the weddings that are held out at the Homestead. With our team being able to offer Saumarez wedding couples a ‘one-stop-shop’ when it comes to organising their special day out at the Homestead, this takes the pressure off Les and his team and allows them to focus on the annual events that Saumarez holds, such as Farm Day and ‘Flix in the Stix’. It is building on this relationship that has allowed us to look at holding a variety of events that can be held in conjunction with Saumarez, such as large conferences and charity balls and helping to develop the space for popular events such as ‘Flix in the Stix’.
How can our interested readers enquire about your event management?
Anyone interested in holding their wedding or event at Saumarez can contact our Events Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org – calling us on (02) 6772 5666, finding us on Facebook or Twitter, or visiting our website at www.armidalebowl.com.au
This story was published in issue 62 of New England Focus