Chairman's Chatter - February 2020

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

» Download ART WORKS or read ART WORKS online

Is it just me or is there slightly more optimism in the bell ringing world than normal? If so, then credit must go to Simon Linford and his vision and energy as the new President of the Central Council. I imagine that the “we are doomed” brigade are just biding their time, but a wave of optimism and new initiatives is just what ringing needs.

One such initiative is with the Churches Conservation Trust which will be running a national learn to ring campaign over the Summer. Fifteen CCT churches will hold taster/open days with the opportunity for those who want to learn to ring to be taught by teachers in nearby towers. At the moment I am liaising with local teachers, hubs and tutors to work out the best way of making this happen.

The ART Conference weekend is fast approaching. We saw a surge of registrations when the online booking system opened, catalysed by a mailing to all our Members containing their £5 discount vouchers. That means that if you come to the conference you will effectively be recouping the full cost of your membership fees. It’s a simple way for us to say thank-you to all our teaching volunteers.

Following feedback from last year’s conference, we have a couple of presentations about the teaching and importance of striking, as well as a practical “Teaching with Simulators” session. This latter session filled within a day, which indicates quite an unmet demand and we will be thinking about how to hold similar learning sessions later this year. We have also introduced a lunchtime Teaching Forum hosted by Pip Penney which will give you the chance to talk through any teaching issues you may have. If you haven’t booked your place yet, I’d advise you to do so soon, as there are very few places left.

Since I last wrote Chairman’s Chatter, seven new hubs have registered with ART. Welcome! Our aim this year is to increase the sharing of good practice and ideas between hubs and to find more ways to help you. Some of you will already have received discount vouchers to subsidise attendance at the ART Conference and we are also building a Hub Starter Pack which will be sent to our existing hubs as well as all future ones. We’re always on the look-out for new ways of helping hubs, so if you have any, please contact either me or Graham Nabb. Later this year, the Central Council will be promoting ringing centres and we will be working with them to ensure excellence in the delivery of group teaching, irrespective of organisational structure.

I’m not that keen on singling out volunteers for praise, mainly because we have so many volunteers working tirelessly to improve teaching and the learning experience. But I have to mention the great start we had to this year, with a rush of accreditations from South Yorkshire. A partnership between Helen Nichols and Christine Richardson resulted in nineteen accreditations in one day. How this remarkable feat was accomplished is described by Christine in this edition of ART WORKS. I do know that she deserved her gin and tonic at the end of the day.

ART depends on its many volunteers to function, innovate and grow. I would like to welcome Sue Dixon as our new ART Treasurer, Christine Richardson as ART Tutor, Adam Knight-Markiegi as our Data Analyst, Juliet Cunningham as our Volunteer Coordinator and Nicki Lang as our ART Awards Administrator. They are all helping build ART’s future. If you would like to volunteer with ART, please feel free to email me and we can have a chat. There are lots of opportunities to apply your skills whether they are for organising, writing, websites, finance or social media. And if you have an idea for something that we’re not currently doing then we’re here to help you – last year we helped Cathy Booth with her ringing podcasts and this year we’ve started looking at a Ringer’s Glossary based around the Learning the Ropes scheme. Great ideas which we didn’t know we didn’t have until we were approached by someone wanting help in delivering them.


Lesley Belcher
ART Chair


One of the first meetings of the new CC President was a gathering of leaders from the Council, ART and the Ringing World, to plot a course for working together on a range of initiatives.