Education Officer and RATS

On the formation of the Recruitment and Training Subcommittee (RATS) in 2014, the Education Officer became the chair of that subcommittee. Separate Education Officer reports for the years 2007 - 2013 are here. Education Officer and RATS reports for 2014 - 2018 (combined in some years and separate in others) are here.

Recruitment and Training Sub-Committee (RATS) Report 2020

Recruitment and Training

The 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic certainly presented its challenges in the recruitment and training of bell-ringers throughout the year. However, ringers are a resourceful lot and despite the Lockdown restrictions on bell-ringing, achievement and progress was made in several areas.

The key event was the development of the Ringing Room website by Leland Paul Kusmer and Bryn Reinstadler. Ringers who regularly used Ringing Room found that the platform put all ringers on the same level. In fact, less experienced ringers on several occasions, were better that more experienced ones! Ringers also rang on higher numbers and far more advanced methods than they normally would have had the opportunity to experience.

By the end of 2020, all districts were keeping in contact in a variety of ways. For example, the Cambridge District were holding Zoom meeting question and answer sessions and the Hunts District held Learner Ringing Room Practices.

Recruitment was possible in 2020. Several ringers ‘learnt to ring’ during the pandemic on Ringing Room, being trained at Stretham REC. It will be very interesting to see how they get on when they finally ring tower bells.

One area of training that was embraced was the opportunity to take up ringing on handbells. This was spurred on by Graham John’s eBells being manufactured (400 pairs sold by the end of 2020). These are 3D printed, weighted electronic handbells that can be rung on Ringing Room and Handbell Stadium.

Throughout the year, ART offered several opportunities to support ringers in Lockdown. This included training sessions on running a Ringing Room Practice and different ringing related activities to try at home. ART even produced a version of their ‘50 Ringing Things’ scheme called 50 Ringing Things to do in Lockdown.

Cambridge District put on regular webinars on a variety of ringing topics. The Ely DA are indebted to David Richards who was responsible for co-ordinating and managing these excellent presentations.

Ely DA Ringing Centres

Stretham REC Ringing Room, by the end of 2020 was running four sessions each week, ranging from ‘Beginners to Bell-ringing’ to ‘How to Ring Spliced methods’. The monthly theory sessions were well attended, and it was found to be much easier to deliver topics such as place notation and place bells to an audience sitting at home watching a screen, rather than in a very cold ringing room! Two sessions per week were devoted to improving handbell ringing with extra groups meeting weekly during the day.

There was good news from Barry Johnson about the St Clement’s Ringing Centre. The Faculty was finally obtained in 2020 and they are now just over halfway towards the target of £200,00 required to start the project. The target for fully equipping and running the project as an education centre is £250,00 and it is hoped that work will be started at some point in 2021. It is planned that the treble bell will be cast in memory of Felicity Webster. Thanks are given to Barry Johnson who has contributed much time and effort towards the planning and progress of this project which will be an excellent facility for the Cambridge area and the Ely Diocesan.

Ely D A Young Ringers – The Fen Tigers

Cecilia Pipe stepped down as one of the Co-ordinators of the Young Ringers. The General Committee thanked her for all the organising she has undertaken for the Young Ringers, especially with the annual RWNYC. David Pipe is happy to continue to help run the Young Ringer sessions and I will oversee the administration. We are hoping that there will be an adult (or possibly a young ringer) representative for the Young Ringers for each district which would help improve the contact with Young Ringers across the Ely Diocesan Association. The representative would support the young ringers in their district and help organise transport to Young Ringers events.

The RWNYC was cancelled for this year and it was not possible to hold the monthly Young Ringers practices at Histon due to the ringing restrictions.

Returning to Ringing in 2021

During Lockdown, ART and the CCCBR formed a Survival and Recovery group which provided updates on what ringing was possible during the Pandemic. In 2021 this group aims to support bell ringing on the return to normal ringing.

Members of the RATS committee are very much aware that when we finally are allowed up the towers there will be much work to be done. Bell ringing bands will possibly not be the same, some ringers will have decided not to return for various reasons, whilst others will be worried about pulling off for the first time for many months. The RATS committee will be providing ways to support returning ringers and suggestions for events and ideas to recruit new bell ringers.

I would like to thank all members of the Ely DA who have supported ringing either online or in the towers in 2020. I look forward to ringing with you in person in 2021.

Dee F Smith

Recruitment and Training Sub-Committee (RATS) Report 2019

Membership of the RATS committee in 2019 was: Dee Smith (current Chair), Martin Kitson (previous Chair), Nicholas Small (Treasurer), Tom Pinnock (Secretary and Huntingdon Rep), Lesley Boyle (ART Rep Ely District), Barry Johnson (St Clement’s Church – the forthcoming Cambridge Teaching Centre and Young Ringers), Martin Slough (Wisbech District), Nick Carver (Ely District) Louise Dobson (Stretham REC) and Phil Bailey (Ely District).

The RATS looks after these main areas:

    • Young Ringers – currently organised by Cecilia and David Pipe as ‘The Fen Tigers’.

    • Ringing and Teaching Hubs: Stretham REC, Walsoken, Cambridge University Guild

    • Association-relevant Training events, such as Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) workshops and teacher training modules, and other training events.

    • Supporting Association wide recruitment and training, and other relevant events, with expertise and funding

The Fen Tigers had a successful day at the Ringing World National Youth Contest, held in Liverpool. In the method section they achieved a Grade 5. Special thanks go to Cecilia and David Pipe for all the support and organisation of getting the team together and sorting out arrangements for the weekend. For future RWNY Contests the RATS have agreed to contribute to the cost of travel and accommodation for competitors.

Young Ringers Practices are held at Histon in the afternoon on the first Sunday of the month. If you are a Young Ringer (under 19 years of age) and can ring rounds and call changes, please do come along.

The Stretham REC Committee consists of Stephen Setter (Manager), Louise Dobson (Administrator), Dee Smith (Chair), Catherine Simcock, Lesley Boyle, Nicholas Small, Martin Kitson and Phil Bailey. The focus this year has very much been supporting the ringers who started or returned in response to the Ringing Remembers Campaign. This has included ringers from Brinkley, Great Wilbraham, Triplow and other towers in the Diocese. The Saturday morning session is very popular and covers the skills ranging from Bell-handling up to Plain Hunt. The Wednesday evening session also provides support for ringers up to Level 3 on the ART LtR scheme. Other courses held at the REC have included a Beyond Bob Minor course, introduction to Plain Hunt and Raising and Lowering.

The Walsoken Hub continues to be very active in teaching up to Level 3. This includes the 8 new ringers who were recruited through the successful Wisbech Open Days and have benefited from the support and expertise available at Walsoken.

In Cambridge a new teaching hub has been set up – the Cambridge University Guild ART Hub which is based over several towers.

The Cambridge Ringing Centre, which will be based at St Clements Church, is making steady progress. It is hoped that the faculty of the project will be granted in March 2020. Meanwhile fundraising has been ongoing to raise £250,000 to cover the costs for the project.

ART events have continued throughout the year and have included an all day Learning the Ropes Festival in Norwich, and M1 and M2 Workshops. The Ely DA were very successful in the Annual ART Awards events achieving three awards:

    • Cambridge University Guide – University Society that has made a Significant Contribution to Promoting Ringing to Younger People

    • Lesley Boyle- For Inspiring Leadership in Ringing

    • Jimmy Yeoman – Learning the Ropes Achievement Award.

In my first year as RATO I have tried to visit all the districts in the Diocesan. I have been really impressed by the commitment of many ringers who are providing training for ringers at different stages. New ventures such as the Project Pickled Egg are being tackled and now there is the new Pathways Campaign which caters for a wider range of ability. Do contact your district secretary or myself if you require details of any training events.

As this is being written, I know that towers are recruiting to ring for the 75th Anniversary of VE Day on 8th May and VJ Day on 15th August. To help recruitment events we do have a mobile bell, a banner and information boards to help on the day.

In the absence of a Safeguarding Officer may I remind ringers that every tower Captain in the Diocese must complete C0, C1 and C2 training modules and to be aware of Safeguarding issues when teaching Young People and Vulnerable Adults.

May I take this opportunity to thank all those who are involved with the teaching or are supporting the training of our ringers.

Dee F Smith