2016: Building for the Future

Once again we have made significant progress in training new teachers, recruitment and supporting the development of new ringers.This has been achieved despite the fact that in 2016 a great deal of time was spent developing new products and reviewing and updating many of our internal systems, web sites and documents to ensure they were fit to handle the increasing number of users. That review is almost complete and I am keen that we have a more outward facing focus over the next few years.

A few figures

There was a small increase in the number of new ringers registered to 600. However it is clear that this does not represent the full number of new ringers taught by ART trained teachers, as we know a good number of teachers fail to find the time to register their new recruits – a two minute job. The actual number trained is substantially more. This lack of registration means that new ringers are not given access to SmART Ringer with its technical information and videos which help inform and encourage new recruits, who also, when registered, receive invitations to join blogs, Facebook pages as well as our newsletter ‘Tower Talk’. This helps to introduce them to the wider ringing community.

345 achieved their ‘Learning the Ropes’ Level 1 certificate in 2016 but again some teachers do not award certificates despite their positive motivational effect - so again we know the actual figure is much higher. Structured learning schemes with goals and rewards are often expected by those taking up a new activity and normal in almost every other sphere.It is taking time to introduce this thinking into ringing. Nonetheless, the figures show almost one new ringer a day achieving Level 1.

270 delegates attended a Module 1 day course - about the same as in 2017. 120 attended a Module 2. The new Module 2F should allow these numbers to rise in 2017/8 but there is still a perception that you have to be a Tower Captain to attend a Module – that is not the case!

Our membership now totals about 400 which is a great achievement. That means 400 people who have attended a day course, taught and been accredited. 400 trained, active teachers who have had appropriate checks, insurance and are ready to teach again! Very many more have attended the day courses and are either in the process of accreditation or are content to use some of the new ideas and skills without completing the course.


As ART has expanded rapidly over 5 years, broad working groups are in the process of being created to clarify areas of responsibility and allow for more volunteer helpers to become involved and spread the workload.

  • Committee meetings have been re-focused on delivery of strategy through the planning process.
  • Paul Flavell has been appointed Hon Secretary designate and Leslie Boyce has retired as a management committee member and trustee. He will remain part of the governance group and will continue to advise us in a number of areas as well as continuing as a tutor. As a founder member Les has contributed much to the development of ART.
  • John Cater has been appointed Hon Treasurer designate relieving Gill Hughes (another founder member) of one of her many areas of responsibility. Gill will remain on the committee and assist with financial matters and merchandising as well as continuing as a tutor.
  • Rob Parker who has been the mainstay of IT, communications and brand development from the beginning has retired from the committee as he is now living in Singapore. However he will continue with many IT and brand responsibilities.

On behalf of our members I thank Les, Rob and Gill for their hard work and commitment over the last few years.


The 2016 Budget was exceeded in both income and expenditure and there was no need to call on reserves which have increased. Our supporters gave £8000 though the supporter’s scheme for which we are very grateful. Without this support we would not be able to operate or develop our support for the ringing community into the future.

The windfall from RF closure and profit from the launch of so many new products will be managed in a sustainable way and on specific projects.

Our 2017 operations budget assumes that merchandising will contribute £2500, we will raise £6000 from our supporters and we use £2200 from reserves. Hopefully we can beat budget again in 2017. However with more users and activities we may need more administrative time with associated set up costs. This together with recruitment and other initiatives being discussed are not within our current operations budget. Early signs suggest high day course demand in 2017/8 with associated workloads.

Tutors & Workshop Leaders

  • 5 new Tutors (2 in Australia)
  • Workshops leaders will be appointed in 2017/8 as workshop materials are developed


  • Under Lesley Belcher’s leadership a review of administrative systems has reduced overall workload allowing our administrator to focus on more productive tasks.
  • The number of users and use of systems is increasing substantially so additional administrative hours have been agreed.
  • Richard Booth has become our Membership Secretary.
  • The membership directory has been updated
  • Elaine Greatrex is now our Safeguarding Administrator.

In 2017 more administrative time will be needed and software for Membership Administration will be required.


Rob Parker, Lesley Belcher, Rose Nightingale and Sam Bollingbroke have worked hard on SmART Ringer and our other websites. The ART website and SmART Ringer have largely been re-written re-presented, new resources and products have been added, contents reviewed and updated and we have moved server. A vast amount of work has gone into these improvements.


  • There have been 3 editions of ART WORKS edited by Laura Amor which were sent to 1769 email addresses
  • Two editions of a new newsletter ‘Tower Talk’ edited by Ruth Suggett have been issued to 3091 email addresses. This newsletter is for new ringers and much of the content is written by new ringers.
  • Facebook groups continue to be active – several monitored by Chris de Cordova.
  • A successful masterclass for those achieving LtR level 5 was held in Birmingham, masterminded by Stephanie Warboys with help from the St. Martins Guild Ringers.
  • Stephanie Warboys and Stephanie Pattenden organised and hosted the Annual Awards at the conference and arranged presentation of several awards locally.
  • The Annual Conference was well attended and produced good feedback.

Ringer & Teacher Support

  • Module 2F has been launched and run with good feedback.
  • We delivered 26 M1 courses and 16 M2 courses for 384 people.
  • 3 pilot workshops have been delivered.
  • Daily enquiries with requests to arrange ringing tuition from potential new ringers are now being received. Most are passed to ART members who we know are trained, insured, checked and active. For the future, we are in discussion about ways to increase the number of enquiries, and introduce new approaches to support these potential new ringers.
  • There are 11 ART Hubs/Centres which support group teaching & other activities.

ART Hubs and group working in general are important for making the change that is required to support successful recruitment, retention and progress to higher levels of change ringing.

Educational Development

There have been a host of new products over the last 12 months:

  • Module 2F has been completed by Pip Penney and launched - receiving good feedback
  • The Raising and Lowering DVD produced by Graham Nabb has been completed
  • An LtR handbell scheme is now available, complimented by a progress logbook, Facebook page and web information to support each level.This was developed by Duncan Loweth, Helen McGregor and Graham Nabb.
  • ‘A Ringer's Guide to LtR’ book has been published. Written by Pip Penney and edited by Lesley B Belcher - it is proving very popular.
  • A ’50 Ringing Things’ challenge scheme supported by an attractive booklet, substantial web information with tips for each ‘thing’, alongside a Facebook page where ringers can share experiences. Alan Bentley, Graham Nabb, Lesley Belcher and many others have been involved in the development of this scheme – illustrations by Laura Davies.
  • Workshop materials to support regional training in several subjects are now available and more will be completed in 2017/8


It has been a very busy 12 months given the number of new products. Anne Sladen, Tony Goodman and Gill Hughes have been exceptionally busy with sales of over £8000 achieved in 2016 including £1400 Whiting Society products.


A review group has looked at all aspects of assessment to ensure consistency of standards. A standards group will be appointed to monitor quality & consistency in all areas of ART’s activities and advise the management team.

Our Volunteers

Many volunteers carry out tasks for ART on a regular basis and personally, and on behalf of the committee, I thank them for their dedication and hard work.

As we develop though, even more helpers are required and we would be keen to hear from more people who would be able to assist and join our great team of volunteers.

2017 has been a busy year for ART – with new products developed, systems updated and sound finance - thanks to the continued help from our supporters. We are in a good position to move forward in 2017/8 encouraging and supporting more teachers and helping to recruit and retain more new entrants to our ART.