Ringing 2030 is a major project to create a sustainable future for change ringing, reversing negative trends and building on many positive initiatives.
It has been instigated by the Central Council Executive and was introduced to Council members at the Annual Meeting in September 2022. Ringing 2030 was covered in an article that was published in the Ringing World, the text of which can be found here Ringing 2030 – Planning for the future of ringing – CCCBR.
Ringing 2030 is about considering what we need ringing to be like in 2030, what we need to change in order to get there, and then making sure we effect that change.
Take a look at the Ringing 2030 Presentation at the AGM in Ipswich to see how it has progressed since then.
Read Bellringing – Future Vision report by YellowYoYo
Find out more about the YellowYoYo project.
Why are we doing it?
If you roll forward the current demographic profile of ringing 20 years, keeping recruitment as it is, there won’t be that many active ringers – many ringers now are over 60, and too few are under 25. This piece on ITV from Boxing Day 2022 is a fair summary of the position https://www.itv.com/watch/news/why-the-tradition-of-church-bell-ringing-is-under-threat/fwyjbz5
While there are pockets of great progress, there are many towers, districts, branches, or even associations struggling with numbers, and not seeing young ringers come through. No single association can solve this – the underlying issues are those that affect all of us, and to tackle them needs coordinated strategy across the whole of ringing, learning from each other.
It is not as though we didn’t see this coming. We have been ignoring trends for years and now the demographic time bomb of ringing is ticking loudly. The current ringing population grew from a base of young ringers that was probably five times what we have now. The pipeline needs strengthening.
If we are successful in improving the marketing of ringing, teaching more teachers, and training more ringers, then a ‘back of the envelope’ calculation shows that by 2030 more than half of the ringing population could be people we are yet to teach. There is the opportunity to recruit all these ringers into something different, or at least into something that clearly wants to change and has a plan to do so.
What will it mean?
Our experience with the Ring for the King campaign shows us that it is not as simple as having large recruitment campaigns and expecting us to double the number of ringers. There are limited numbers of places that could actually cope with large numbers of new ringers, especially young ones. We don’t have enough ringing teachers, we don’t have enough skilled steeplekeepers looking after bells, and with the prospect of more churches closing we may have fewer bells – this is a multi-faceted problem. We continue to run ringing on a shoestring and yet bell restoration funds sit on more money than they spend in 10 years.
That is a tough problem that requires all of us to work together to achieve. The Central Council alone cannot do it. However, over the course of 2022 and most of 2023, the Executive has created a plan of specific projects that will help to support Associations, individual towers, and other ringing groups. These will give us all a foundation from which we can work together.
Projects fall under one of the following three pillars:
Publicity and Marketing: Raise awareness of the art of bellringing and promote it as a social and voluntary activity. Drive new recruits to us with better targeted marketing initiatives.
Recruitment and Development: Encourage the development of local and regional structures to recruit potential new ringers and attract lapsed ringers back to ringing, then ensure their expectations are met as they progress.
Quality Environment: Teachers, teaching structures, leadership, bell installations, ringing environments, safeguarding, etc. We have to create a quality environment that makes people enjoy ringing and want to stay doing it.
All three of these efforts are underpinned by a Young Person Workgroup to ensure those voices are heard, and significant new digital projects to tie them together.
Projects for 2023
The focus of Pillar one is targeted to people who do not yet know about bellringing. The branding work and subsequent development of marketing plans and campaigns all form part of this pillar, as well as looking as ways of introducing bellringing in school via mobile belfries and school lesson plans.
Pillar two is about creating a sustainable and easy path for new and returning ringers to find a place to learn and a pathway to progression. The biggest project is the establishment of a recruitment hub, which will improve the way we manage and track enquiries. However it also includes working with ART to increase the number of teachers and teaching centres, expansion of residential ringing courses, and supporting youth events.
The final pillar is about our ringing environment – are we creating places where ringers want to stay and where they feel safe and encouraged? This also has the longer term challenge of ensuring that, as churches continue to close, we have places where people can ring and prosper. This pillar requires everyone to pitch in at all levels of ringing.
How can I get involved?
This is an ambitious undertaking and we need expertise and enthusiasm from many different walks of life and experience. Ringing 2030 also offers opportunities for career development, or possibly explore new career options and we are happy to create evidence for volunteers to add to their CPD. So don’t hang back just because you think you have nothing to contribute. We are willing to bet that you do.
Latest Ringing 2030 News
In the previous article, we talked about the process we had been through to help our branding partners Yellowyoyo understand ringing and the challenges ofSend to a friend
The second in a series of articles detailing the results of a branding collaboration with Yellowyoyo. In the first article in this series, we introducedSend to a friend