Can you believe how much time has passed since the Big Ring Pull project delivered it’s recruitment drive in Middleton Hall Milton Keynes in February 2012? The BRP was a great success we still have two towers where the bells were silent before the BRP that are now regularly rung and 20 of the 42 people who attended the intensive 2 week training course in Newport Pagnell have continued to ring and are progressing well with their ringing development.
There is a lot of concern about the state of ringing nationally and Branch membership is now also beginning to fall. So it’s time to concentrate on recruitment, training and retention once again so we can achieve our Branch vision:
By 2020 the Branch will have retained and increased the numbers of ringers in each of the towers that have active bands in 2015. It will have identified and formed active bands in two more new towers within the branch. It will provide a positive learning experience to all new recruits by adopting ART “Learning the Ropes” training scheme across the Branch.
As membership is only one part of the story we conducted a tower census, the results of which were shared at the Autumn Meeting and on this website. These results will help us focus our efforts as well as giving us a benchmark against which we can measure the success of our 2020 ambition.
The Officers have been collecting ideas and experiences from around the Branch and further afield.
Recruitment of new ringers is often considered difficult. Sample publicity materials including posters and leaflets mean that you don’t have to start from scratch and a google-search reveals many examples of bell ringing in the media that might be useful for publicity purposes. There are even some thoughts on running a successful open day.
It is true that new ringers expectations are very different to those of a generation or two ago. Bell ringing can move with the times. Why not look at some of the individual initiatives from within the ODG on working with schools? And look at some of the thinking around the differences between teaching adults and children. Kids ring out was a successful scheme run in the Llandaff & DACBR – some interesting ideas thoughts from the organiser’s and from the kid’s perspective.
The Church is both a supplier, a recruiter and beneficiary of bell ringing and bell ringers and a number of experiences of working with the church in a positive way have been collated. The local Sunday School provided 7 new bell ringers at Roade when it looked as though the band might fold. And Bradwell have successfully recruited four ringers through working with the Church.
Not only are new recruits very different to those of a generation ago but so is the external environment. Traditional ways of running the tower are changing: teaching is shared and towers can be organised in different ways with a social secretary or Ringing Masters and Tower Captains having quite distinct roles.
Finally don’t neglect health and safety. We’ve included some guidance notes on both this and insurance. People do sue nowadays, but this shouldn’t stop you – some common sense preparation before teaching is all that is required.
This collection will be augmented over the next months. If you have an experience that you wish to share then we be delighted to add it to the website.