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RATS reports

For 2016, the Education Officer and Recruitment and Training Subcommittee reports are combined, here.

Recruitment and Training Subcommittee (RATS) Report 2015

The EDA Education Officer chairs this subcommittee, which was responsible for the following projects in 2015:

Fund-raising built up the Recruitment and Training Fund, to which all EDA members are invited to apply (via the EDA Treasurer) for grants for recruitment, training and promotional projects.

The RATS circulated a Ringing Questionnaire, as a result of which the training courses requested (ringing up and down in peal, simple methods and conducting) have been provided.

ITTS courses have been put on, and continue to be provided, as is support for those working towards qualification.

The EDA Young Ringers held seven meetings in 2015. One of these was in Oxford, as guests of the ODG Young Ringers. We joined the Huntingdon district for their pre-ADM ringing at St Neots and joined the Ely District for their summer BBQ. During the year, we met with the groups of young ringers at Longstanton (Ely District), March (Wisbech District) and Great Gransden (Huntingdon District). We also visited Stretham REC to use its new facilities. Attendance at events declined during the latter half of the year, leading to a decision to implement a fresh approach in 2016. The EDA Young Ringers entered the 2015 Ringing World National Youth Contest and came joint fourth, achieving a ‘B’ grade and improving on their placement last year.
The Stretham Ringing Education Centre (in St James’ Church, Stretham) was opened in August 2015. The REC is a bell ringing training school, equipped with the latest simulator technology and staffed by ITTS-qualified teachers. It was set up by the EDA for the following purposes:
  • Teachers from any EDA tower can bring their learners and teach them at the REC
  • Towers needing assistance with teaching can send their learners to be taught by REC staff
  • Any ringer from the EDA area can book lessons (practical or theory) with REC staff
  • Any ringer from the EDA area can book time at the REC for self-directed learning
  • New recruits can be taught the basic skills at the REC before joining a tower
  • Training courses on any aspect of bell ringing can be run on demand at the REC
The REC is equipped with a simulator working on all six bells. There are two computers available, permitting two ringers to ring independently (using headphones). There is the potential to easily extend this up to one computer per bell if required. You can ring alone on the simulator for as long as you like to practice a new method or perfect your striking. The REC is also equipped with materials for self-study – books, DVDs etc.

The REC is available for booking 9am to 9pm every day, except when the facilities are in use by the church or the local band. All ringers are warmly invited to book practice time at the REC (costing £2 per person per session). See the REC website for details.
Barbara Le Gallez, RATS Secretary

Recruitment and Training Subcommittee Report 2014

The Recruitment and Training Sub Committee, or RATS as it has become known, was formed in February 2014 to give greater focus on the urgent need for attracting, recruiting and training new ringers. The committee members are Phil Bailey (Chairman), Peter Binns (Secretary), Nicholas Small, Barbara Le Gallez, Barry Johnson and Lesley Boyle.

The activities of RATS are not intended to replace or control the good work already undertaken by District Education Officers and others such as Barbara Le Gallez with her Young Ringers initiative, but to provide an Association umbrella for the co-ordination of educational activities and provision of dedicated training facilities. 

RATS have been working on developing the first of a number of organised Education Ringing Centres across the Association at Stretham.  A ringing simulator system is to be installed and repairs to the tower staircase undertaken to permit safe access up to the belfry for Centre users in order to view the bells in action.
A manager will be appointed for the Stretham Ringing Education Centre and it is anticipated that the centre will be up and running by the end of March 2015.
The Committee is also establishing a register of experienced ringers willing to teach others.  A questionnaire is being devised and will be circulated to the Association membership early in 2015.

During 2014, RATS organised two events to boost its funds:  a folk evening at Oakington in September and a handbell concert at stretham in December, both of which were very successful and raised over £500. 

A new recruitment poster campaign was devised during the year and will be launched in January 2015. Supplies of durable posters will be distributed to every tower correspondent with encouragement to make the best use of them in each community. One poster is general but the other is designed to target young people.
Peter Binns