Below is a list of ideas for the best implementation of the 3Rs. It is not suggested that all, or even most, of these points are applicable at your tower, but some will be.

Recruitment

  • Be positive, not negative: its too easy to think why we cannot do something
  • Changing the mind-set of our existing ringers so that they will recruit is crucial
  • Be proactive not just reactive. How about appointing a tower recruitment officer?
  • Particularly favour younger recruits, but do not ignore others, especially families
  • Use the media — parish news / village magazines, local press, Radio Leicester
  • Have you thought about organising a tower open day? Can it coincide with an event when people are likely to be around, such as a village fete? If your Church has a Gift Day, organise some kind of ringing. It needs to be visible if possible. Consider handbells as an aid to recruitment
  • Promotional materials - pens, coasters, leaflets, brochures, posters
  • Where do we promote — schools, youth clubs, scout / guide organisations / church notice boards
  • Lapsed ringers - do you know if there are any living near your tower, could they be persuaded to have another go?
  • Can we get the local clergy to be of assistance?
  • Make it clear that being a Christian / attending Church services is not a prerequisite
  • Don’t take the attitude that with child protection rules “it is not worth the effort / risk.” Try to involve parents of young recruits. Required under Children’s Act anyway.
  • Don’t take the view that young learners will soon be lost when they move away from home, or go to university. Some will stay, they learn quicker than older recruits, and most of our leading ringers learnt at an early age.
  • Do what you can to remove / reduce the impression the ringing isn’t “cool”, in particular don’t act like a “nerd” or an “anorak”
  • If practical appoint a younger person as ringing master, rather than the person who has been ringing longest
  • Can you attract new ringers who have an interest in engineering or carpentry, by telling them you need someone to look after the bells, and then persuading them to have a go at ringing?

 Retention

  • Always be safety conscious.
  • Be inclusive.
  • Good communication is key. Don’t make assumptions, as no 2 recruits are the same. Some ringers want to rush ahead, while others want the opposite. Listen!
  • Have some fun!
  • Contrary to established tradition, do not insist on absolute silence in the ringing chamber whilst the bells are being rung. Are you skilful enough to bring this change about without upsetting the traditionalists?
  • If you have youngsters, can you put them in touch with other young ringers?
  • Can we provide youngsters with some financial reward: get them ringing for weddings as soon as possible.
  • Persuade someone else to teach your own children if you can find a volunteer with the right skills and attitude.
  • The Oadby Ringing Centre for is available as a very useful resource, use it!
  • Until proficient at bell handling, arrange separate learning sessions. Maximum time 30 minutes per person. You may need to consider installing some method of sound control. Maximum 3 recruits at a time, otherwise they are likely to lose interest, and maybe your other ringers will too.
  • Always consider ways of making ringing interesting. Provide other activities in the ringing room: it may be hoping for too much to expect youngsters to read ringing books or stand behind other ringers all the time they are not ringing.
  • Do not insist on good striking at the risk of upsetting anyone, but always try to have at least one piece of really good ringing even if it means ringing rounds and call changes. Many towers would be glad to have the bells rung at all; excellent striking may not be an achievable short-term goal.
  • If you cannot conduct without shouting consider improving internal sound-proofing (i.e. for the tower not you personally!) If you still find yourself shouting, consider asking someone else to conduct even if they are less skilful at ringing in other respects. You may be the only person who does not realise you are speaking much louder than you need to. Try turning down the volume.
  • Try to catch learners doing something right and then let them know.
  • Never criticise the person, only the behaviour. They probably cannot do anything about the former, only the latter.
  • Ensure learners get at least an even share of the ringing at practice night.
  • Ensure the right attitude to learners permeates through the band and also applies to any visiting ringers. Encourage visiting other towers where similar ethos exists. Consider joint practices if critical mass is a problem
  • A good social side is essential; drinks in the pub after ringing for those old enough, and how about coffee during practice night.
  • Encourage new recruits to join the Guild and take part in Guild events, especially Guild social events. Can you do anything to help rather than just turn up?
  • Have you thought of appointing a mentor for new recruits? Give them some authority if you do appoint one. Whenever possible, but only if really necessary, have someone standing behind to assist rather than correct from across the ringing circle. If not possible, try to ensure the person “mentoring” is ringing adjacent to the learner, and corrects in an inconspicuous way.
  • Implement some kind of award scheme to encourage and reaffirm progress is being made. Set achievable but stretching targets.
  • Give learners responsibility as soon as possible. Be imaginative.
  • Exercise great care when informing about the amount of time needed to become proficient.
  • Most of all have fun and be happy – a happy ringer is a retained ringer!


The Education and Recruitment Committee is here to help you with all matters Education and Recruitment related – please contact us and make use of the ringers resources of this site.