The criteria for Learning the Ropes awards have been changed in response to the pandemic. Anyone who has been registered on the Learning the Ropes Scheme can be nominated for the LtR Contribution Award. Whilst the LtR Achievement Award is open to those who have achieved their LtR Level 5 this year PLUS anyone who has completed LtR Level 3 on the Handbells scheme.
The AGM is scheduled for 10:30 on Saturday 6 March 2021 and will be held via Zoom. The ART Conference is cancelled but we are hoping to co-host an online Recovery Conference later in the year – date and format to be confirmed.
That’s for accreditations, 50 Ringing Things Gold Plus and your ART membership where you can opt to take a one-year payment holiday if you wish.
The CCCBR and ART are working together to deliver a survival and recovery strategy to retain and motivate as many ringers as possible over the Winter and to help bands and ringing societies recover when normal ringing resumes. You’ll be hearing more about that over the coming months.
I am sure, that like me, you’ve had some ups and downs over the last nine months, in life as well as your feelings about ringing. I’ve heard many different emotions sometimes from the same ringer: missing it terribly; mystified about how it took over our lives so comprehensively; fear that years of hard work might have been lost; and a determination to rebuild, stronger and better. Ring any bells?
The good news is that with the roll-out of various vaccines we can be confident that ringing will return to something that we recognise as normal during 2021 – hopefully by the early Summer. That may seem a long way away still, but it does at least feel realistic.
Just because ringing has been so severely curtailed this year doesn’t mean that some ringers haven’t been doing great things. In fact, it does seem to have brought the best out of some. Because of this we have decided to continue with the ART Awards and it’s great to see nominations starting to drop into our inbox.
In these difficult times nomination for an ART Award can be just what is needed to keep someone keen and motivated. It’s one of many ways we can say “thank you” to people who are making a difference.
As always, the ART Awards are open to everyone – not just ART Members or those using the Learning the Ropes scheme. To reflect the unique challenges ringing has faced during 2020 we are keen to stress that the awards are not only open to individuals, but also to groups, towers and ringing societies, including Guilds and Associations.
This year, the ringing achievement award will be open to both the handful of individuals who attained LtR Level 5 on tower bells before UK Lockdown in March (and hopefully some more from overseas later this year) and all those achieving LtR Level 3 on handbells by 31 December 2020. The judges will consider the individual’s ringing development in terms of quality, quantity and complexity, the timescale over which the progress has been made and the support available.
The ringer’s contribution award is not based on ringing ability or attainment but is for contribution to the wider ringing community, within a band, local area, Guild / Association or even the Central Council. For 2020, the contribution category will be open to anyone who is or has been enrolled on the Learning the Ropes programmes (on tower bells or handbells) at any level. The judges are particularly keen to see evidence of organisation or leadership or technical skills or wider initiative and/or innovation.
Our most important job this winter is to keep ourselves, our bands and the wider ringing community engaged and motivated. Some have embraced opportunities provided by the Internet with gusto, whether for ringing or for socialising. I was intrigued by a Virtual Murder Mystery on one Association’s calendar but was informed by my son that such events are rather “old-hat”. Ho-hum! But don’t forget those that don’t “do” the Internet. A walk in the park or an old-fashioned phone call is all that it takes to make someone feel they belong and are important.
Handbell ringing has enjoyed something of a renaissance this year, with many groups dusting off old sets and taking the opportunity to learn something new. As a bit of a handbell ringing fan myself, I am delighted with this unexpected consequence of the pandemic, particularly as handbell ringing seemed to be turning into a bit of an elitist sub-set of ringing. There are some real handbell converts out there and I don’t think these bands will be disappearing when tower bell ringing resumes.
As ringing teachers, we have a really important role to play once we can hold practices again and start to think about what our bands need to survive and flourish. ART wants to support you in this return to teaching and are developing online refresher courses for both Modules 1 and 2. I know that I’m going to be a bit rusty and a reminder of good teaching practices would be welcome. Furthermore, we will be looking to run physical refresher courses across the country although the exact form will depend on how we emerge from the restrictions.
We will be looking to find other ways of helping you return to teaching over the next months – watch this space or get in contact if you’ve got any ideas or requests. You never know, your request might trigger something useful for a lot of teachers.
2021 will be the year when ringing resumes and this will be something that we need to plan for. In partnership with the CCCBR we are looking at how we can help you do this. We are looking at our existing offerings and working out how we can deliver them quickly to as many as people as need them. This includes our teaching modules, the recruitment and retention workshop and the tower management workshop.
There will be the need for new offerings to overcome new challenges. Such as how to build up people’s confidence after more than a year of not ringing, or how to deal with “lockdown learners” – keeping them motivated when their theory far exceeds their bell control. There will also be a need for an increased emphasis on such old issues as how to keep your band motivated whilst training up lots of new recruits or when you don’t have the numbers for method ringing or good striking.
One of the things we’re looking for are Recovery Champions. We are inviting all the Guilds and Associations to nominate one or more but we’re keen for anyone who’s interested in developing a recovery plan in their local area to take part. So if as an ART teacher or Ringing Hub you’d like to connect with others looking to build a bright future for ringing then why not become a local Recovery Champion, too.
You may have noticed that this Chairman’s Chatter is not accompanied with a release of ART WORKS with its range of articles from around the world of ringing.
We really need someone who can help us share good ideas and stories with fellow ringing teachers through ART WORKS. This is a vital part of ART’s work, and I can attest to the number of times people have said “I liked that article about … and now we’re doing something similar. Thank you.” ART WORKS is produced quarterly and requires someone who likes talking to people doing interesting things in ringing. You’d become part of our newsletter team, bouncing ideas off each other, so don’t worry, you won’t be working in isolation. The layout and production of ART WORKS is in the trusty hands of Simon Needham so you don’t need to worry about that either.
This is a role I’ve undertaken over the last three years but I just don’t have the time to do it anymore. If you’re interested in helping out, or know someone who might, then please get in contact. Sharing and helping each other will be vitally important during 2021 as ringing resumes.