Volunteering & Leadership Workgroup Update – June 2020

This is a large, still relatively new team.  We’ve just recruited three new members, partly as a result of the President’s blogs! On our virtual desk there sits a large range of topics. This note focusses on some of the key work.


After last year’s activity, including the Youth conference at Worcester, the new 2020 strategy arrived. And with a view to that, Colin Newman and Ian Roulstone are going to be running completely new workgroups to cover youth and university ringing respectively. This is a promising development.

Recruitment and retention

If you have no recruitment issues, skip this section!  We think a lot of people value the chance to discuss what others are doing and finding useful. We have attracted a lot of help from Matt Lawrence, the Ringing Master in the Shropshire Association who has taken a lead we welcome.

Matt invented a workshop on recruitment last year. We’ve been developing and refining that since then. It has retention as a big feature and we have found that having a real recent recruit or two at such an event is very powerful. We tested the workshop in Sussex in February. It’s now complete and people who are interested will be able to have workshops running in their own area. Well, at least after lockdown. And thereby hangs another question we’ve been pondering: how much use we can make of this while ringing can’t take place. At around the time this update appears, you may notice the first of our series of articles specifically on recruitment.

2020 ART conference

The plan – V and L arranged the Sunday part of the ART conference in March 2020. They intended to air and generally launch the Recruitment and Retention workshop.

External factors – Some concern started to emerge about the Covid 19 virus in early March. Some key people could not make the conference, so we had to modify the programme and schedule of presenters.

The execution – we managed very well !   The leaders thoroughly knew their material, and people could be seen engaging in these sessions with close attention. Much thanks to those people who facilitated so well:  Vicki Chapman, Deb Margason-Baker, Simon Linford, Matt Lawrence and Paul Lewis.

Follow up – The conference generated a lot of interest and good feedback.   See Ringing World pages 305, 306 and 309 for articles by David Smith and Mary Jones.

Residential courses

If you read Simon Linford’s blogs you will already have seen mention of these ideas to develop courses in new areas. This is a 2020 strategy action. V and L will support the establishing of new courses, probably residential. These courses may look like Hereford and Bradfield, and they will need to coordinate their dates in 2021 but the leaders will be completely free to innovate.  It probably isn’t a very good idea to drop a completely new, full scale residential course with a need for say, 80-100 helpers straight into the 2021 ringing calendar, even without the current uncertainties. We are going to be encouraging the leaders to “start small and think big”.

Do you agree with these thoughts of residentials? In case you don’t know, the idea is to create complete immersion. That’s to say, effectively “non stop bells for three days”.  There is a lot to commend this intensive approach. How much demand do you think there would be? We think it could be considerable.  Could you be a helper?

If you can offer help in any of these areas, please do get in touch. And we are happy to answer questions.

Tim Hine
Volunteering and Leadership Workgroup Lead

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