Chairman's Chatter - February 2017

Chairman’s Chatter is published in the quarterly ART WORKS magazine for ART Members and those on the ART Training Scheme.

2017 Conference - just around the corner

Just a few weeks to go now and we will be meeting near Basingstoke – I hope that you will be able to come. As always we have good speakers on a range of subjects with the awards ceremony in the evening to celebrate great achievements and good practice in a whole range of areas.

New Product Launches

The last months have seen a vast amount of time spent on new products. You will have seen Pip’s New Ringers’ Guide which is selling really well and I have had great feedback on the Raising & Lowering DVD. The 50 Things project will be launched at the
conference – this is where ringers are encouraged to get involved in a wide variety of ringing tasks and activities to develop their interest and encourage them to see more of ringing and its culture. Supported by pages on SmART Ringer and certificates of achievement there is an attractive fresh new booklet to record the ‘things’ with illustrations from Laura Davies. Helen McGregor and Duncan Loweth, who are presenting handbell workshops on the Sunday of the conference have helped develop a ‘Learning the Ropes Handbells Scheme’ – again supported on SmART Ringer with information and achievement certificates.

2016 Review

On top of all this activity we have still run the same number of day courses as last year (40) and the new M2F has taken off and produced excellent feedback. The total number of delegates is very slightly lower at about 370. As mentors are generally now mentoring for the second time and new mentors are beginning to come from existing teachers that is to be expected. There are a number of enquiries for courses in 2017 and we will now look to see how we can approach and assist areas which have not run courses before.

Learning the Ropes continues to be used well with a record number of new ringers receiving their first certificate last year at almost 350. The LtR scheme is available to Members (and aspiring members only) and is key to ensuring structured learning and teaching, as well as providing goals for the new ringer. Registration of new ringers is not always taking place and this denies the new ringer the opportunity to learn more about ringing and access to materials through SmART Ringer, as well as access to the LtR Facebook group and our new newsletter 'Tower Talk' edited by Ruth Suggett. The real number of new ringers being taught by ART trained teachers will be three or four times those awarded certificates. As time has moved on the proportion moving to the higher LtR levels is creeping up – well done!! The ART masterclass and awards seem to be part of the motivation.

Looking ahead to 2017/18 there is only one more book planned and my focus is to ensure we concentrate on running courses and workshops, particularly supporting those groups who work together in Hubs or Teaching Centres.


Another area that always concerns teachers is recruitment. I am keen to hear from people prepared to work on advising and supporting teachers to recruit. It is time we thought big on this subject – beyond posters and leaflets. Time I think we put some
real resources (including financial if needed) into training and working with teachers to recruit. We already pass on several enquiries a week to Members which is encouraging – but they are not all handled well and we need to do much more. We need people to come up with ideas, good practice and deliver initiatives. This is important for everyone – can you help?

Goodbye and Good Luck

Finally, Rob Parker, an ART Committee Member, who has worked tirelessly developing SmART Ringer, websites, the ART brand and communications for several years is leaving the committee. Rob has taken up a new job and is now living in Singapore. Through the marvels of technology he will continue to support and develop SmART Ringer and give advice on brand and other areas. We wish him well for the future and thank him for his very significant work in the past.