The findings of the 2009 CCCBR mini-survey of ringing trends were sobering. It found:
- By 2009 40% of ringers were aged over 60 compared to just 18% in 1988.
- Tower Captains aged between 20 and 40 were the best recruiters but 79% of Tower Captains are aged over 50.
- 12% of ringers were aged between 20 and 30 compared to 29% in 1988.
- The total number of ringers in the country is halving every 20 years.
Ringing needs to recruit, retain and get to a high standard many hundreds of new ringers every year – just to stay still.
The 21st Century environment presents challenges … the world has changed much in the last 30 years. Other activities have moved with the times and met these challenges, ringing generally has not:
- There are many other easily accessible activities
- More mobility in society
- H&S & safeguarding pressures/expectations
- No recognisable standards
- Other activities have established training schemes
- An expectation of rapid achievement
To maximise our chance of reversing these trends we have to ask ourselves whether we can continue working harder at more of the same or whether some new approaches need trying.