2015-18 Action Plan Update – 17th June 2017 at A.G.M.

This review covers the period 2nd July 2016 to 16th June 2017

The plan was drawn up, taking into account areas of need identified by members, to enable ideas to develop, provide continuity and help move the Guild towards being a more relevant entity for its members, hopefully making it accountable and to demonstrate to members how their subscriptions are being used.

The initial 3-year plan included 7 areas of Ongoing Work:

  • Events
  • Districts
  • Resources
  • Central Liaison
  • Youth
  • Review of administration to improve effectiveness
  • Continual feedback from members

This past year has seen 3 main Guild events:

  • 2016 AGM Day in New Alresford that offered open towers, a service, the
      Inter-District Striking Contest, wonderful refreshments, a manned
      Association of Ringing Teachers stand and the business meeting. The event
      appeared to be enjoyed by all those attending
  • the inter-tower 8-bell contest in the Andover area; 3 teams entered all from the Winchester District. (Only 2 teams applied for the inter-tower 6-bell contest on the same day so it did not proceed.) The feedback is that the teams enjoyed the event but members are reminding us that to encourage well-attended and therefore more meaningful competitions, it would be ideal to have full and confirmed details of the contests issued well in advance
  • a pub quiz and informal supper social event in the C. and S. area was enjoyed by around two dozen members from several Districts. A bonus was that proceeds from the evening, including a raffle, went towards our young ringers. The Happy Cheese pub and its customers supported us well.

The feedback available from the 8 Districts is that generally positive activities continue to take place in many areas of ringing. It’s encouraging to see many Districts holding training events, outings including visits to special towers, ringing festivals,  quarter peal events, both general and dedicated practices and young ringers’ events.

Two very positive observations I’d like to highlight: the majority of Districts have held their own Striking Contests, at least one annually and in some cases more than one…so they’re still popular! One District reported that Teacher Training had taken place, so excellent news!

There is much evidence of continued mutual support between towers and cross-border participation generally. There are a number of informal, personal initiatives that are continuing or have started up such as special practices, quarter peal clubs, handbell groups and the like. These are much enjoyed, appreciated and to be encouraged.

It’s disappointing that the available Guild funds in this area were not taken up this year..please spread the word. It is easy to claim! The Officers will undertake to expand the channels of communication reminding of available funds and how to apply. The Guild is keen to support Districts in a number of ways. Please submit more feedback from your members and consider making specific requests for Guild support – what would help you the most?

The website is showing the Guild resources available to members. The Executive Committee has agreed to the hire of the Chamborough Ring for a P.R. event; no firm plans are in place as yet.

The work of the Communications Team and the election of a Public Relations Officer have helped focus and continue to develop the Central Liaison item in the Action Plan. Much useful information is circulated to members from Central Council, for example. Both the Communications Team and the P.R.O. have responded to enquiries from potential new ringers via our website and referred to us by Central Council and the A.R.T Administration. The P.R.O is working particularly with our main stakeholder, the Church, in both Dioceses and with local media and community. Feedback from the clergy, media and the public is generally good and encouraging.

Good teamwork between local leaders in two Districts, encouraged and supported by the Guild resulted in a team entering the Ringing World National Youth Contest in 2016. It’s great news that a W.and P. team will be entering on 1st July 2017!

We’re delighted to record that the Elizabeth College, Guernsey, band won the 2017  Sarah Beacham School Group Award presented during the A.R.T. Annual Conference hosted by us.

Our young ringers were once again invited to join the Salisbury Association youngsters on their outing. The feedback for young ringers events held has been positive.

As requested by many members – loud and clear – included in the ongoing review of Guild administration has been the matter of the Annual Report, thanks to the Report Editor and two willing volunteers. There is a specific proposal on today’s agenda accordingly. The Executive may wish to further consider the overall process of the Report, its content and method of distribution.

The date of our Annual General Meeting has been changed; again another item on today’s agenda. This is to try to avoid clashing with the RWNYC in particular. The further aim is send out a positive signal to our young members in this respect.

There are a number of Key Projects in the Action Plan: Communications, Education and Belfry Stewardship. Each of the committees have published reports in the latest report. All the committees’ work has been well received once again.

The Principal Officers and the Communications Team will be meeting again to discuss the Membership Database project in more depth, including human resources needed and costs, before referring back to the Executive Committee.

During the year, there has been a Training and Development Fund set up within the General Fund to offer financial support to members, especially those aged under 25 years, aimed to enhance and enable the development of a ringer or a group of ringers.

There is an item on today’s agenda proposing the formation of a Ringing Schools Committee with a view to the provision of centres for teaching new ringers. If approved, the new committee will work closely with the Education Committee but will be a separate entity.

Specific feedback from members for Belfry Stewardship is for a pro-active approach to be considered whereby churches, including those with no bands, might be reminded of the Committee’s work and encouraged to apply for Guild B.R.F. grant funding if appropriate, even for relatively small works. The matter of the amount of B.R F monies invested was a matter for discussion on social media.  Both the

Belfry Stewardship Committee and the B.R.F Trustees have been made aware of these items of specific feedback.

One event listed was our hosting of the 2017 Annual Conference of
The Association of Ringing Teachers held over two days in March in Old Basing. There was a great variety of interest on offer apart from the business meeting. Some of our own members were presenting training sessions, several local ringers worked very hard throughout, especially on catering duties, and some members took the great opportunity to enjoy the whole experience of meeting friends, learning new skills and having fun. The feedback was very positive indeed and a local newspaper ran an article on the event. 

The two remaining Future Event in the current Action Plan are:

  • Commemoration of the WW1 Centenary. Approximately 400 Guild ringing performances honouring the WW1 fallen have been recorded to date,
    using information harvested from 1914 on. The work of the small committee is ongoing. It’s anticipated that the proposed special services in Portsmouth and Winchester Cathedrals will take place in the Spring 2019 and that printed
    volumes of the records will be presented to both Cathedrals. All members will  be encouraged to join together in one of the services.
    A brief note reminding members of this very special project and encouraging their continued support, especially by ringing in a special performance of some kind before the end of the centenary, was issued to each tower via District Secretaries last month. Every single member could be involved – that would be wonderful! There will be further updates issued with more details, as appropriate.
  • Recruitment Drive and Retention of Ringers. The stated aim is to encourage Church Service ringing and the cultivation of change ringing by increasing the number of proficient ringers across The Guild. This is very much ongoing by us all. The Guild is being pro-active particularly by aiming to set up good-standard Ringing Schools for new ringers. It is promoting the available excellent resources in the way of training aids, training courses and offering financial support for ringers wishing to learn to teach new ringers and for Districts or towers who are keen to set up local training centres.

The Officers together with the Executive Committee will be working towards presenting a new Action Plan at the 2018 A.G.M. Meanwhile, District Officers and Executive Committee Members are asked to continue to promote the Action Plan benefits available to members. Individual members, towers and Districts are encouraged to consider applying for Guild support and to continue to feedback constructive comments using any of the available communication channels.

Viv Nobbs 

Immediate Past Master

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