Getting and Keeping Ringers – an informal blog of the April 2018 Exec meeting.

One of the main aims of the Guild is in the recruitment, training and retention of ringers to the Exercise. This was perhaps the thread running through this meeting of the Guild’s Executive Committee. Although the Guild’s membership remains healthy, there is a need for new people if we are to secure the future. This meeting contained a number of requests for volunteers, not necessarily on the committee, to take up important jobs.

The Holy Week Training sessions take advantage of this week when open tower bell ringing is not permitted. There were several short courses – Listening Skills, held at St Martin’s Epsom, Bob Calling for Beginners, which introduced people to the calling of simple touches of Grandsire and Plain Bob Doubles, a Recruitment Workshop which shared a number of recruiting ideas, looked at the new Central Council document ‘Engaging with the Public’ and Advanced Bell Handling, aimed at those who needed to iron out handling issues in order to move into method ringing. These all received very positive feedback.

There was considerable discussion over Safeguarding. The Diocese is offering further safeguarding courses tailored to ringers and further information will be issued soon. The Guild’s safeguarding policy is under revision by the Master and the new Safeguarding Officer, Quentin Armitage. Allied to this is the new General Data Protection Regulation, which has particular requirements for children.   It was suggested that the Guild needed to introduce a Membership Application Form, which could not only include the applicant’s name and relevant details, but also ensure that applicants were formally made aware of the Guild’s privacy and safeguarding policies, including details printed in the report, photographs put on Bellboard, etc. Some members of the committee thought that this was unnecessary bureaucracy as the records would need to be kept safely by someone or other. However, at present it is possible for someone to be proposed (and indeed to lose membership) without their knowledge. The Safeguarding Officer agreed to look into the matter.

There is to be a Library Open Day on 3rd May. The Cathedral Authorities limit access to the Library, which is kept in the crypt, so this is a fairly rare opportunity and members are encouraged to take advantage of it. The Chertsey District Bookstall was run by Ivan Saunders, the Guild’s Librarian, but he has relinquished that role and the Chertsey District is seeking a successor. Volunteers welcome!

The Master circulated a paper summarising a discussion of ‘Resources and Services provided by the Guild’ which was held about a year ago. Recruitment, Training and Retention were identified as key issues. The Master is keen to identify a person with energy and enthusiasm to take this forward, and would like possible names to be forwarded to her.

Demands on the Bell Restoration Fund remain high. Two new bells have been installed at Ewhurst and the ring is said to be much improved. Sound control at Guildford Holy Trinity is to be repaired. The cracked frame at Ewell is also to be repaired, but is awaiting a decision on the best way of accomplishing this.

The Bridget Gordon Legacy projects are progressing. Bramley and Godalming are complete and we are seeking records of these projects for the Library and Website. Send, Yorktown and Chertsey are progressing. Byfleet is needing to have some local input which is being arranged in conjunction with the Chertsey District Master, Andy Charnleybeale.

As the centenary of the 1918 Armistice approaches, with the ‘Ringing Remembers’ commemorations on 11th November, thoughts turn to the past. The Winchester and Portsmouth Guild is putting together a Book of Remembrance of ringers in the former Winchester Diocesan Guild who died in the First World War. At that time, the Guildford Diocese had not been formed, and many of the Guildford Guild towers were in the Winchester Guild. It was therefore suggested that the Guild should play a part in the project and the Master would enquire whether we could be of some assistance.

If any member would like to contribute to any of these projects, please do not hesitate to contact Jackie Roberts, the Guild Master, or any other officer of the Guild.