A Ringing Centre is a tower or organisation which is a recognised centre of good practice in the promotion and teaching of bell ringing, the teaching of ringing tutors, and of leadership in bell ringing, and to spreading good practice to other towers. Ringing Centres should encourage and support involvement in the activities of local bell ringing Societies, Guilds and Associations.
A Ringing Centre will usually be based at a tower or group of towers, but it is envisaged that a centre may also be based on a mobile installation in the nature of a travelling education facility.
Ringing Centres may be run by their local Central Council affiliated territorial society, by a non-affiliated local Society, or may be independently managed, but in any case there will normally be a small management committee with specific responsibilities for the Ringing Centre and its activities.
An independently managed Ringing Centre will normally serve ringers from the surrounding area, which may include towers from more than one territorial society. Where a Ringing Centre is situated near society boundaries it can encourage co-operation between adjacent territorial Guilds and Associations.
There are no hard and fast guidelines for a Ringing Centre. Centres are very diverse in what they offer, and local needs are very different. To become a Central Council Recognised Ringing Centre, you will just need to demonstrate a commitment to the promotion of ringing and training of ringers beyond a single tower.
Examples of activities undertaken by Ringing Centres include:
- Use of mini rings and mobile belfries such as the Lichfield Mobile Belfry or Charmborough Ring in public places or at public events to promote ringing.
- Exhibitions, posters, open-days and the distribution of publicity material
- Teaching bell handling to new recruits through dedicated weekly practices
- Intensive handling lessons (e.g. learn to ring in a week)
- One to one lessons on a simulator and a tied bell or dumb bell
- Use of video equipment or CCTV to improve bell handling, and the workings of a bell
- Short courses (e.g. six Saturday mornings concentrating on a particular method or topic)
- One day, weekend, three day and week long courses.
- Teaching people how to teach bell handling, and more advanced skills
- Campaigns to get a silent tower ringing again
- Work to promote ringing in local schools and young people’s groups
A Ringing Centre will probably need the use of a good range of training facilities. Centres may start out with one or more of the following and add others at a later date as required. This list is not intended to be exclusive or exhaustive and will depend upon local circumstances.
- A ring of tower bells (or a simulator or a mobile Ringing Simulator). The Ringing Chamber should be reasonably accessible, have heating and lighting, and be a reasonably comfortable environment in which to ring.
- A computer based simulation system installed in the tower.
- One or more dumb-bells for use in bell handling training.
- Access to a ring of hand bells
- An audio-visual recording and playback system for use in bell handling training.
- A closed circuit television observation system so that the movements of the bells can be observed from the Ringing Chamber.
- Some form of external sound control where necessary.
- A reference library of bell ringing related material
- A suitable venue for holding meetings and theory training sessions, either in the tower or close at hand. It is desirable that the venue has toilets and refreshment facilities for use during training.
- A whiteboard together with facilities for overhead projection of training materials.
- The use of a computer generated projection system for presentations and lectures.
Why apply to be a Central Council Recognised Ringing Centre?
There are very many towers which teach ringing to an excellent standard using modern techniques and facilities. The essential difference between such towers and a Ringing Centre is that Ringing Centres are committed to teaching ringers, and the teachers of ringing, for more than one tower. Recognition as a Central Council Ringing Centre is a statement of intention to the wider ringing community to this effect.
It is the experience of existing Centres that Recognised Ringing Centre status, which demonstrates a clear intention to teach and encourage the spreading of good and safe practice, is extremely helpful when dealing with church and diocesan authorities in the promotion of ringing projects.
Recognised Ringing Centre status has been found to be important in securing funds from outside sources. Funders appear to give considerable weight to applications from ringing projects that have a wider range of beneficiaries than just the normal members of, and visitors to a traditional local band.
Recognised Ringing Centre status also gives the opportunity to share experience and ideas with other ringing centres, through an e-mail network.
Whilst the Ringing Centres Committee has not conducted a formal survey of the position, it is known that at least two Ringing Centres, The Docklands Ringing Centre in London, and the Barrow-upon-Humber Ringing Centre in Lincolnshire, have used their Central Council recognition to assist in securing registration with the Charity Commissioners as independent Registered Charities. This gives them the opportunity to operate Gift Aid, the government scheme which currently adds 25p from the Revenue to each £1.00 given in donations to the charity from payers of Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax.
How to apply
Please complete and submit an application form to the Committee Chairman.
Contact the Committee Chairman:
75 Belmont Road, Tiverton, Devon EX16 6EQ, UK