I wanted to write to you to let you know how useful the content on your site is. I am a ringer at All Saints Church in Old Heathfield, East Sussex. Like many churches, we have been struggling with a small band with a high proportion of elderly ringers. A few months ago, I happened across your site, and read with great interest your section on “Recruitment and Retention“. It was hugely helpful and inspiring.
As a result, we recently launched a recruitment campaign. We marketed our usual practice night as a “Bell Ringing for Beginners” course starting on 2nd May. We timed this to begin soon after a fair which is held in the village. We borrowed a mini ring and were at the fair all day, letting people have a go and giving demonstrations. We combined this with advertising the course on Facebook and posters put up around the surrounding villages.
On the first night of the course, we were amazed to have 8 new people turn up, including 3 lapsed ringers and 2 teenagers. After reading your advice on how people expect to learn, we structured the practice night as if it were a beginners course, with explanations of what bell ringing is about, trips up to the bell chamber, and the maximum time possible given over to giving each beginner opportunities to learn to handle a bell by themselves.
We have just had our 4th week with the new learners, and, incredibly, they are all still attending! The 3 lapsed ringers have progressed quickly, as you might expect, and 2 of the complete beginners can now ring by themselves.
Please pass on my sincere thanks to whoever put together your advice on recruitment and retention. It has given our band the boost in numbers that we urgently needed.