• Phillip George
    77
    It is ok to want to improve our personal ringing skills at whatever level we want and can achieve. We all want to raise our ringing capabilities and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. But I am looking at the problem from a different angle. My comments below are not directed to you personally. I think they are applicable to a lot of ringers and ringers in positions of repsonsibility.
    Question: What is your main wish in life?
    Answer: To be happy! WRONG answer.
    Possible correct answer: I want a fulfilling job/career which benefits me and my familiy and enables me to be a constructive part of my family and community where my positive contribution will be rewarding and which will make me happy. etc etc.
    Question: What do you want to achieve in ringing?
    Answer: I want to ring surprise minor/major (or whatever), ring at loads of towers, ring quarter peals, be a tower captain or association officer so that I can say that I am a tower captain, or association officer. WRONG answer!
    Possible correct answer (depending on what you want to do with your ringing, and delete which ones may not apply): I want to enable and develop ringers and towers by supporting their ringing, creating opportunities helping them to realise their potential, as well as ringing to my wish list. I would like to be trained in tower management and communication, interacting in my social and ringing circles so that other ringers become enthusiastic about ringing and understand their responsibility in the tower and community. I want to be part of a team structure (tower or district) which is forward thinking and pro-active as well as giving me the opportunity to reach my technical ringing potential.
    I know --- It's a big ask!!!
  • Peter Sotheran
    124
    > I constantly post on FB, Twitter, Insta and on our community email list to let people know what we are doing.<

    I am a few years ahead of Philip-G and my experiences run parallel to his. General appeals for new ringers very rarely bear fruit. But specific events are often more rewarding. Most summers we have a Belfry Open Day when visitors are allowed to climb to the tower roof to take photos etc; we are lucky in that our roof is safely accessible. This raises awareness of the ringers and the tower but it is NOT a pushy recruiting occasion, more a relaxed 'get to know you' event.

    Around now we usually have an Open Evening when we advertise that visitors are welcome to try their hands (assisted back-strokes only) interspersed with rounds & cc and perhaps a PH or a course of PB but nothing complicated. Quite specifically we make no attempt to blind them with science by explaining change-ringing in detail. Our best result was 10 recruits of whom 4 stayed the course and joined the Sunday service band.

    At the beginning of this year we posted on our local FB page an invitation: "Would you like to say that you rang for the Queen's Jubilee? Join us now and we'll teach you how to do it." This brought four new faces, two of whom are now ringing PH with us on Sunday mornings.

    Whatever you do, when recruiting, never play the 'desparate for new ringers' card. No one wants to join a failing organisation. Always find something positive on which to base your promotional events.
  • Alan C
    95
    There are lot of assertions being thrown around in this thread, but is there solid data to back any of it up?

    Do the majority of ringers want to improve their ringing?
    What is improved ringing, is it ringing what you can with greater accuracy, or ringing more complicated methods (obviously not in Devon and Cornwall), or a combination of both?
    Given this is all voluntary, who is going to want to be a Tower Captain if the burden is as heavy as some are suggesting?
    Are the problem of ringing solvable by a glorious one size fits all solution, a restructuring that most are not interested in or don't care about, or is it more nuanced than that?

    I agree that a national structure that can bring the 'disjointed' elements together is an absolute necessity, but in seeking to replace existing structures, is there a danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater?
  • A J Barnfield
    215
    There is not a snowball's chance of replacing the existing structures. The best hope would be setting up a separate parallel organisation where the emphasis is on the development of method ringing. ART is part way there in that it provides a curriculum and teachers for primary education but we need many more primary schools, and structure (curriculum, trainers, mentors, schools) for secondary education and, perhaps, tertiary.
  • John de Overa
    445
    My comments below are not directed to you personallyPhillip George

    Don't worry, I didn't assume they were. I'm just a late starter who's found it difficult to advance, who sees others who started after me in the same position and hopes things could be improved for them.

    Do the majority of ringers want to improve their ringing?Alan C

    I think they do, but that doesn't mean they all want to become Surprise ringers. Whatever support they are given needs to be aligned with their aspirations and abilities. I think @Simon Linford's promotion of Devon CCs is a good example of that - indeed my home tower is now regularly ringing 60 on 3rds.

    Whilst recruitment is obviously key, it's unlikely that the ability profile of new recruits is going to be significantly different to the current ringing population. That means that around 10% of them will become Surprise level method ringers. Even with vastly improved training that figure probably wouldn't exceed 20%. We need to have structures in place to help ringers perform to the best of their ability at whatever level that is - "Excellence at all levels".

    What is improved ringing, is it ringing what you can with greater accuracy, or ringing more complicated methods (obviously not in Devon and Cornwall), or a combination of both?Alan C

    Yes, all of the above, with the understanding that not everyone is going to aspire to be a method ringer. Those people need to be supported as well.

    The best hope would be setting up a separate parallel organisation where the emphasis is on the development of method ringing. ART is part way thereA J Barnfield

    I agree. Some sort of national body which could provide support and resources to promote method ringing. If only we had such an organisation already... :razz:
  • John Harrison
    401
    never play the 'desparate for new ringers' cardPeter Sotheran

    Agree entirely. I used the phrase 'begging bowl or welcome sign' in the first of my articles on relationship with the public for our branch newsletter, see: https://jaharrison.me.uk/New/Articles/UsThem/
  • John Harrison
    401
    What do you want to achieve in ringing?Phillip George

    The long list, even omitting according to preference, all seem to be secondary, means to one core reason. I get reward from helping others to succeed and fulfil themselves as ringers, but if I got no fulfilment from my own ringing, now or in the past, why would I put the effort into helping ringers rather than say footballers or wood carvers? And why would I want to be part of a community of people with whom I didn't share a any aspiration?
    I agree that everyone doesn't want to ting S12 or whatever, and most people don't aspire to win competitions, but surely there aspire to some level of performance that gives therm and their audience satisfaction. There has to be San element of fulfilment in the ringing itself, otherwise why do it? If all you want is the social side just go straight to the pub. If all you want is to serve your church, give out hymn books or make the coffee which is much easier, or join the choir where the average standard of performance may be higher.
  • Alan C
    95
    I agree that everyone doesn't want to ting S12 or whatever, and most people don't aspire to win competitions, but surely there aspire to some level of performance that gives therm and their audience satisfaction. There has to be San element of fulfilment in the ringing itself, otherwise why do it? If all you want is the social side just go straight to the pub. If all you want is to serve your church, give out hymn books or make the coffee which is much easier, or join the choir where the average standard of performance may be higher.

    I don't suppose anyone wants to perform badly, but why people ring is their own business and their motives are not subject to the approval, or otherwise, of others.
  • A J Barnfield
    215
    If we don't know why people ring it will be very difficult coming up with a development strategy.
  • John de Overa
    445
    I don't suppose anyone wants to perform badly, but why people ring is their own business and their motives are not subject to the approval, or otherwise, of others.Alan C

    A couple of responses to that:

    • Some ringing is awful and it's clear that the culprits have no idea - and that includes some bands ringing methods. Although they might not want to perform badly, the end result from outside the tower is indistinguishable.
    • I think it's perfectly reasonable to want to understand the motivations of people who ring, as AJB says, how else are you going to know what support they might need? What isn't OK is passing judgement on their motivation, which I have seen happen, sadly,
  • Alan C
    95
    A ringer's development plan will be based on their motivation rather than their ability? That's an interesting idea.
  • Alan C
    95

    If bands perform badly, that reflects on their ability rather than their motivation, I can't see why you would support ringers differently based on their motivation rather than ability.
  • John Harrison
    401
    If bands perform badly, that reflects on their ability rather than their motivationAlan C

    In most cases it will depend on both, since motivation will be a strong determinant of whether they try to improve their ability, whether they are aware if they have done so, and whether they choose to inflict what they are capable of on an involuntary audience.
  • John Harrison
    401
    don't suppose anyone wants to perform badly, but why people ring is their own business and their motives are not subject to the aAlan C

    I'm sure no one wants to perform badly, but if their motivation doesn't include performance as an objective, I've they don't see themselves as performers, the question might not enter their heads.
    And I don't think motivation is 'their own business' if it undermines what others can achieve. And it is certainly a legitimate interest for anyone investing lots of time and energy into their teaching and support.
  • Barbara Le Gallez
    77
    As people have said above, ringers have many different motivations. So I would say any CC master plan for attracting, improving and retaining them has to bear that in mind.
    Perhaps in the past there was too much focus on duty and service; nevertheless this motivated some people to give of their very best. If these concepts are now regarded as off-putting, and in its place ariseth the strategy of Yellow YoYo (which I can't wait to see), doubtless there will be some other actual or potential ringers who are put off by that.
    There is unlikely to be one right answer, so can I ask, please, that any strategy takes account of that.
  • A J Barnfield
    215
    "strategy of Yellow YoYo (which I can't wait to see)," Ditto. It will be interesting to see if they have grasped (what I perceive as) reality.
  • John de Overa
    445
    If bands perform badly, that reflects on their ability rather than their motivation, I can't see why you would support ringers differently based on their motivation rather than ability.Alan C

    I think that's overly simplistic. Bands may perform badly for a whole host of reasons. ability being just one of them, and probably not the most important one. And why wouldn't you support ringers based on their motivation? What would be the point of trying to teach advanced methods to someone who was just interested in service ringing, for example?

    motivation will be a strong determinant of whether they try to improve their ability ...John Harrison

    Yes, spot on with all of this comment.

    I don't think motivation is 'their own business'John Harrison

    And the same here too.
  • Barbara Le Gallez
    77
    What would be the point of trying to teach advanced methods to someone who was just interested in service ringing, for example?John de Overa
    Well, from a religious point of view, service ringing is a way of giving glory to God. So somebody who is "just interested in service ringing" ought to be very highly motivated to develop their God-given talent to the utmost. This would be analogous to a great composer composing sublime music for the sung Mass.
  • Barbara Le Gallez
    77
    Ditto. It will be interesting to see if they have grasped (what I perceive as) reality.A J Barnfield
    I am really hoping Yellow Yoyo will have me dressed in a yellow woolly jumpsuit, bouncing up and down on the end of a bell rope.
  • John Harrison
    401
    would it not be more sensible to judge an organisation by its results rather than focusing on what you consider a silly name?
    I hope recruits aren't put off by what (to a non ringer) are silly method names.
  • John de Overa
    445
    So somebody who is "just interested in service ringing" ought to be very highly motivated to develop their God-given talent to the utmost.Barbara Le Gallez

    Which clearly isn't the case.
  • Tristan Lockheart
    116
    ↪A J Barnfield interesting that you frame the constraint on a DMO in terms of the weaknesses of local organisation rather than as a weakness of the CC per se. Your views in that direction are well known but I hadn't linked them directly with the problem of making the transition to a DMO.John Harrison

    I think a great deal of what the Central Council does already is suitable for being a DMO, or would require very little change to achieve this.

    I would be interested to hear if there is any activity that can be delivered on a global level which is not being done already which people think the CC should be doing? Because otherwise, it seems that the lack of a local delivery mechanism is the main thing holding back a DMO Central Council.
  • A J Barnfield
    215
    "it seems that the lack of a local delivery mechanism is the main thing holding back a DMO Central Council." Yes. And the lack of funds to do anything significant.
  • Simon Linford
    308
    Exactly. Marketing companies usually have 'non standard' names - it's just part of what they are. It's a shame that already some are looking for negatives.
  • A J Barnfield
    215
    I admit that I have something of an emotional problem with marketing. It tends to make me think of fancy icing and decoration on a distinctively average cake.

    If the marketing strategy is linked with setting up a decent T&D system then I would be more optimistic. I don't mind icing on a decent cake. But then if the cake is good it probably doesn't need icing.

    Mind you I have been assuming that the marketing will be aimed at non-ringers. If the marketing is to be aimed at guilds, associations, tower captains and ringers in general and if the aim is to get a total shift in the way most think about T&D then I can very much see the point.
  • Phillip George
    77

    "... I don't mind icing on a decent cake. But then if the cake is good it probably doesn't need icing".

    But the cake needs to look attractive to non-ringers. And whilst on the subject of ringers, we tend to see ringing, and all its important facets, from our own point of view, which often can be somewhat blinkered..
  • John Harrison
    401
    Mind you I have been assuming that the marketing will be aimed at non-ringers. If the marketing is to be aimed at guilds, associations, tower captains and ringers in general and if the aim is to get a total shift in the way most think about T&D then I can very much see the pointA J Barnfield

    I too assumed it would be outward facing. If ringing were widely perceived as a high skill, high status activity then recruiting would no longer be a case accepting anyone we can get, with more emphasis on encouraging and selecting those who are well suited and likely to do well.
    However, there is a problem with that. It will work for some bands, those where the lived experience is of a high status activity, with training and development capability to match. But not all bands are like that, so to avoid a very high 'returns' rate from those disappointed with the advertised product we need some serious internal changes.
    That is probably harder to achieve, and I'm not sure marketing, even inwardly aimed, will achieve it.
  • John Harrison
    401
    we tend to see ringing, and all its important facets, from our own point of view, which often can be somewhat blinkered..Phillip George

    Quite! In our little bubbles we tend not to think about those outside, including our (involuntary) audiences. I discussed the need to relate better to non ringers in the series that began with the 'begging bowl' article I mentioned earlier.
  • Simon Linford
    308
    This is right - the reason for getting outside help is that we need to see ringing from the outside to really understand how to attract the right recruits. First we do need to understand all the different motivations, all the types of people for whom ringing becomes 'their thing'. As JAH said - select those who are well suited to ringing and likely to do well.

    There is an old adage that half of all marketing expenditure is wasted - the dificulty is knowing which half. The most effective marketing is as targeted as possible, so once you determine which sorts of people you want to attract, you go out looking for them and deliver them the right message. We don't do that at the moment with a couple of exceptions. Exception one is the church notice board which does at least target those who are going to church anyway. Exception two is children of existing ringers, who are very easy to get to and who at the moment probably form the mainstay of most youth teams.
  • John de Overa
    445
    more emphasis on encouraging and selecting those who are well suited and likely to do well.John Harrison

    I'd be interested to hear thoughts on how such people could be identified?
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