Adrian Nash, CC representative, Winchester & Portsmouth Guild of Bellringers
The weekend started on Friday afternoon and evening with opportunities to visit some open towers. (We only had time to go to one tower - St. John the Evangelist, Waterloo Road)
Ringing World AGM
The first main event was the Ringing World AGM. It was reported that the RW is in reasonably good financial shape now, showing a small surplus. It was noted that the directors found it encouraging that so many subscribers wish to stay on printed copy - which helps to bring in more revenue. So far this year, there have only been 50 switches to online only. A motion was passed to move the legal authority of the “Charitable Object” of the RW from the “Religious” category to the “Educational” category. It was suggested that this better reflected the RW’s remit as a charity and the proposed change had already been approved by the Charities Commission. There were two opposing comments and six supporting comments. In the vote, there were only 7 against and 6 abstentions, so the motion was passed by the membership. The editor, Robert Lewis will be retiring,
The Chairman, Canon David Grimwood presented his report and tributes were paid to Robert for his many years of service. Bill Hibbert did not seek re-election. The remaining directors offered to re-stand and were elected. The independent examiners Langdown PFK were re-elected by a show of hands.
The AGM began with reports from the new workgroups: Volunteering & Leadership, History & Archives, Stewardship & Management and Technical & Taxonomy. For volunteering & leadership, the key focus is on retention and recruitment, especially for young people. A suggestion was made that a subscription to the ringing world could be a present from a Grandparent for example. CCCBR no longer recognises “Ringing Centres” and does not set standards for so-called ringing centres.
Instead, ringing centres will self-assess their fitness to function as a ringing hub based on the principle of “are we making a difference?”
The Stewardship & Management workgroup are focusing on “Hot areas” namely, noise (both loss of hearing and neighbours), deaths from bell ringing and safeguarding.
Technical & Taxonomy focussed on the 11th edition of “Dove” and the new Dove Database which is being set up. Currently for various reasons the Dove “App” is only available on iPhones. Work is on-going to merge George Dawson’s data with the Dove data and resolving the discrepancies.
Volunteering & Leadership’s plan for 2020 is focussed on building partnerships e.g. ART & the Ringing World, Diocese and Historic England and doing more outreach work. A feasibility study looking at a direct membership scheme (of the CCCBR) is underway. There is also a push to deliver more focussed bellringing services including funding for another Bradfield-style course. This could be funded out of an excess in the “Ringing Remembers” grant.
Following the work-group reports, came the elections. Simon Linford was elected as the new president, proposed by Phillip Barnes, seconded by Linda Garton. Unfortunately Simon could not be at the AGM in person, but he did prepare a video which ended with a delightful rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on tower bells! The next meeting in 2020 will be in Nottingham on 5th September.
The Ringing Roadshow
The ringing roadshow was simply brilliant - speaking as a newcomer to the CCCBR! I attended a number of workshop sessions including: Insurance & Bellringing - all you need to know, presented by Marcus Booth from Ecclesiastical, Building a bell sound, by Bill Hibbert and Making Bells presented by Tom Westley. My wife Shân (also a CCCBR rep) attended workshops on Safeguarding, Stewardship & Management and social media. All the presentations were well done, engaging and with plenty of opportunity to ask questions. Outside of the sessions, the exhibition provided a huge variety of interesting things to look at, “play” with and lots of interesting people to chat to. There was everything from mini-rings, bell ropes and clocks to handbells, books and simulators. I can’t wait to go to the next meeting in Nottingham.