2015 has given ART a roller coaster ride. On the positive side there has been a vast amount of activity on various different fronts, on the negative side the news that the Ringing Foundation – our main sponsor – has been wound up.
ART welcomed Rose Nightingale as our administrator in January. I am sure that all those who have interfaced with her will agree that she is very hard working and very helpful to those needing advice. She has been of great assistance to the management team feeding back on many details and helping us to see the way to make improvements for the future.
The Ringing Foundation has been the by far the biggest financial supporter of ART since 2012. So you can imagine the shock felt when Ringing Foundation members at their AGM held in Aldgate, London on the 8th August voted to wind it up. Would ART be able to survive? We had been expecting donations from the Ringing Foundation on a diminishing scale over the next five years and to suddenly find ourselves in a position where we had to be self-supporting financially was going to prove a challenge!
Looking back to the targets we had been set by the Ringing Foundation as conditions of their sponsorship, we found that the amount of ringers registered was running far ahead of target, in fact it was at 315% of target!
Following the demise of the Ringing Foundation, ART now not only has to set its own targets and plans for the future but it has to raise sufficient funds to be able to continue and augment the work we do. We have been very grateful to those who have offered financial assistance by becoming a Friend, Sponsor or Patron through the ART Supporters Scheme. We are especially grateful to those who support us at Patron level – being Helen McGregor and Peter Bevis, Paul Flavell and The Whiting Society. All our ART Supporters contribute significantly to the viability of the organisation and have been crucial to achieving our successes this year. We are always hoping others will be generous enough to join the ART Supporters scheme, and more information is available online.
As another fundraising initiative, Chris de Cordova from Cumbria suggested a 50/50 club for our ringers and then offered to administer it too! The ART LtR 50/50 CLUB is a way to support the charity that provides Learning the Ropes and have the opportunity to win cash prizes for ringers. It is open to everyone aged over 18 (Ringers, Teachers & Mentors) and registered on SmART Ringer. The scheme started in March 2015 and so far has given out over £550 in prize money. Please do join the ART LtR 50/50 CLUB if you have not already – and encourage your ringers to do so too. Information and forms are available online.
Grants from the Ringing Foundation have continued, as agreed, until the end of this month – December 2015. Whilst the contributions of ART Supporters and 50/50 CLUB Members has been essential to put ART on a stable financial footing, there is still work to do to enable ART to deliver the coverage and support for change ringing that we aspire to.
Following the demise of the Ringing Foundation, ART now has the ability to set its own targets and plans for the future.
The Management Committee has been lucky to welcome new members during 2015 and has a number of new potential members in 2016. Lesley Belcher and Alan Bentley have joined the team. Lesley has vast management and marketing experience having worked in strategic market development for BP in Europe and USA for many years. Alan has been one of the stalwarts of the Central Council Ringing Centers Committee for many years and brings with him a vast amount of experience.
ART Management Committee meetings are crammed full of business. During such meetings it is difficult to allocate time to the “bigger picture”. It was therefore decided to spend a day discussing strategic development and how ART should develop from now on.
This day was a really great opportunity for everyone to think about what we have achieved so far, what we wish to achieve in the future and what strategies we need to implement to enable us to fulfill our goals. From this review it was decided that the first thing to do was to consolidate some of the basics and get everything on a firm footing before implementing some of our new ideas.
SmART Ringer, the replacement for the old Moodle site, was launched during the year. Moodle was proving to be too inflexible to use as an administrative tool for the whole organisation and SmART Ringer stream lines this function. This site greatly reduces the workload on Rose, our hard working administrator. The site was designed by Rob Parker and came online at Easter. Rose assisted him with much of the uploading and rearranging of the resources for our ringers.
Later in the year Sam Bolingbroke came to join the team and created a new website designed covering all aspects of the Learning the Ropes scheme. This website is designed for those learning to ring as well as those teaching ringing. The content is open to all.
The Association of Ringing Teachers website is also undergoing a refresh, led by Lesley Belcher and Sam Bolingbroke. The re-designed site, with clearer and updated content, will be launched early in 2016.
At the last Ringing Roadshow, ART canvassed opinion concerning the ART Training Scheme Module 2 – Teaching Elementary Change Ringing. To be eligible to attend this Module, delegates personal ringing must be at Plain Bob Minor to quarter peal standard or higher. Opinions coming in from ringers at the Roadshow and elsewhere were concerned that this ruled out a large number of people teaching in a great number of towers all over the country.
A new ART Training Scheme Module was needed to cater for those teaching at these towers. The new Module, to be called Module 2F – Teaching from Rounds to Plain Hunt, is designed for those teaching in towers where the ringing is mainly call changes and Plain Hunt. The course has 4 practical sessions and three theory sessions and will available from early 2016.
The theory sessions cover the importance of Foundation Skills, building a band and coaching Ringing, whilst practical sessions cover Foundation Skills development, teaching call changes, Kaleidoscope ringing, introduction to teaching covering and Plain Hunt.
Learning the Ropes + was introduced during 2015 as a scheme devised for those who have used the existing Learning the Ropes scheme and want to move onto ringing on higher numbers, more advanced methods, conducting or hand bell ringing. It is also available to be used by those who have attended ART Training Scheme Modules and are registered to SmART Ringer. The scheme is accompanied by a “Ringers Personal Achievement Logbook” available from the SmART Ringer shop.
The third ART Annual Conference was held in Birmingham on the 6th of March, hosted by the St Martin’s Guild. It was an action packed day with the main presentations being by Clare McArdle giving a presentation on the “Birmingham School of Bell Ringing” and Professor Alison Hodge with a presentation titled “What can bell ringing learn from the world of education?”. For the first time a workshop was held which ran over 2 days. Simon Linford ran a Conducting Workshop which proved very popular and Simon has given the workshop again since. ART is now planning to build on this work and establish Conducting Workshops which can be delivered at local level across the country.
ART Members have been working with various groups from the Central Council over the year. One of the items to emerge from this co-operation has been the development of a Leadership Workshop. Elva Ainsworth, former Chairman of the Ringing Trends Committee, is giving a presentation “Introduction to inspiring Leadership in Ringing” at the ART Conference 2016 to be held in Loughborough at John Taylor Bellfoundry on the Saturday 12th March. The following day Elva is running Leadership Workshop for tower captains, district officers and anyone else who has a role in leading their band, practices or ringing society towards a stronger future.
Five new Tutors have joined ART this year. Tutors have to undergo a period of training before being ratified to the role by the Management Committee. To become an ART Tutor a candidate must attend two Day Courses [for each Module] observing two different existing Tutors. Following this the candidate must run a Day Course themselves observed by an existing Tutor. Three of these new Tutors are UK-based and ratified to tutor on Module 1 – Teaching Bell Handling. Two are ANZAB members who have been ratified to take both ART Training Scheme Modules.
Two new booklets have been published by ART this year. Both are publicly available to buy from the ART Shop.
Teaching with Simulators includes all the updated and latest innovations for the best practices when using simulators in your home tower. There is to be a workshop on “Using Simulators when Teaching Ringing” at the ART Conference 2016 on the 12th March at John Taylor Bellfoundry, Loughborough. The presenters will be Graham Nabb and Roger Booth from ART and Stuart Bamforth from The Whiting Society.
Discover Bell Ringing is designed for new learners and potential recruits. Since launching the book in October, there has been huge demand from ringers and teachers – over 1,000 copies have been sold in just 8 weeks! In easy language it gives information on the history of ringing, how bells are made and hung, what change ringing is and how it’s done, the stages of learning to ring, safety hints and a taste of who and why people ring.
ART is extremely grateful to the great number of volunteers working on its behalf – and the number keeps growing! There are volunteers undertaking recruitment advice, merchandising, packing the Day Course packs, making videos, advising on health and safety, creating websites, designing our resources, giving independent educational advice, setting up Facebook groups and much more besides. If there is something you would like to contribute and if you would like work with us, either as a volunteer or a committee member do get in touch with me.
The first ever ART Awards Prize Giving Ceremony is to be held at the ART Conference on 12th March at John Taylor Bellfoundry in Loughborough from 17.45 onwards, including bar and light refreshments. The event, led by Stephanie Warboys, is open to everyone, tickets are free (booking open January 2016) and there no requirement to attend Saturday sessions of the Conference.
The judging team is being led by Stephanie Pattenden, ART’s Independent Educational Standards Chair, and there are some fantastic prizes on offer – including a £2,500 cash prize pot and an all-expenses paid Learning the Ropes Masterclass weekend.
This year has, once again, seen a huge amount of activity from ART as an organisation, but also from the hundreds of ART Members and Teachers working towards accreditation who are regularly teaching and developing ringers across the UK and also abroad.
ART’s mission is to improve the learning experience of new ringers, and we hope that our training schemes, resources and other initiatives help you in the tower, week in week out, to deliver training that meets the needs of your ringers and will allow ringing to flourish in the future.
Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year