Message from the Chairman, Phil Barnes
We will have several vacancies for important offices at the Association AGM on Easter Monday and, following on from my New Year’s message, I hope that we will have some volunteers to take on these important tasks.
The known vacancies will be:
- Association Chairman
- Honorary Treasurer
- Central Council Representatives (at least two vacancies)
- Public Relations Officer
In this note I will say a little about the first two roles, which both also involve acting as the Trustees for the Association Bell Restoration Fund. I will mention the others next time.
The obvious parts of the role are chairing the Annual Meeting and the General Committee meetings as well as being the “public face” of the Association as a whole. But the Chairman needs to be far more than just a figurehead.
It seems obvious that ringing itself should be at the centre of our Association’s activities. The Chairman has a key role in leading this and in trying to coordinate the activities of our Districts to produce the strongest ringing community that we can.
What may be less obvious are the other behind the scenes activities that support this. These include being a point of contact with the Central Council President, other Guild and Association leaders and sometimes with our local Diocesan authorities (the latter including some safeguarding matters). The Church itself is going through a period of great change and the churches where we ring are not immune from change. Ringers in general need to forge stronger links with the Church and for the Association that means developing stronger links with our Dioceses.
In addition, robust safeguarding practices and procedures are increasingly important and we can no longer ignore or simply pay lip service to best practice. The Chairman must be both a role model for good practice and provide support our Safeguarding Officer in her work.
While this may seem daunting, it has been a huge honour and privilege to serve as Chairman for the last four years. I would be very happy to speak to anyone who is interested in taking on the role to give them a little more background about what it means in practice.
I cannot overstate the importance of a good Treasurer and would like to pay tribute to Maureen Poole for all the work she has done since 2019 in setting the Association’s finances on a firm footing and in making our financial records easy to understand. Whoever takes over from Maureen should find that they have a clear set of processes to pick up and run with.
Since the Bell Restoration Fund is a charity, one of the duties is the preparation of the BRF accounts and their submission to the Charity Commission each year. The Treasurer is one of the three Trustees of the charity (along with the Chairman and Hon Secretary).
You don’t need to be a qualified financial professional to be a good Treasurer. You do however need to be numerate, sufficiently comfortable with IT to use spreadsheet or accounting programs and online banking as well as being organised and able to keep good records.
If you feel you might be able to take on the role, please get in touch with Maureen for a chat about what it means in practice.
As I said in my New Year’s message, the combination of a New Year and the long anticipated emergence from the pandemic offer us a huge opportunity to reboot our ringing. Fresh leadership can be part of that renewal so please think over what you can offer to ringing in Kent.