As I mentioned in my last message, we will have several vacancies for important offices at the Association AGM on Easter Monday and, as promised here is some background on the other roles including Training Officer, which will also fall vacant.
Central Council Representatives
Due to a current representative standing down, there will be at least one vacancy for a member to represent the Association on the Central Council.
For those who don’t know, the Central Council is the representative body for all who ring bells in the English tradition with rope and wheel. Founded in 1891, the Council today represents 65 affiliated societies (including the KCACR), which cover all parts of the British Isles as well as centres of ringing in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, South Africa and Italy. Its mission is to be the strategic leader and public voice of the ringing community, the arbiter of standards and to promote an environment where ringing can flourish. You can find more about the Central Council from its website https://cccbr.org.uk with https://cccbr.org.uk/about/ being a good starting place.
The way it works has changed a lot in recent years and it has developed a major focus on keeping ringing healthy and helping our hobby to adapt to a rapidly changing environment in society generally and the church in particular.
One thing that has changed is that many people are now involved in the work of the Council who are not representative members – and it’s no longer the norm for those involved in the working groups to be representatives too. That raises the question of what we now want from our reps?
The main thing that I think the Council needs from its reps is a broad range of ringers who bring their experience of ringing in the different kinds of towers in a range of different areas. Those who only ring simple methods at a rural six will have a very different view of life to a young adult who has learned to ring in a city centre and now rings in their local twelve bell contest team. But the views and perspectives of both are important to the Council and to us.
The reps give feedback on the work that the executive and workgroups have planned as well as what is already underway. There is usually only one meeting annually, but a good rep will be keeping an eye on what is going on in the Council from the regular communications and will be a key source of information for KCA members about the Council – and vice versa.
The key skill is to take your experience but to remember that you are there to represent the views of the Association and its members rather than just your own. So, it’s important to go out and seek those views, to be open to learning from others and to be good at collaborating. You can be any age and at the risk of repeating myself – a diversity of viewpoints is a good thing (just so long as you want to help improve and strengthen ringing).
So don’t be shy! If you have an interest in things beyond your own tower and own District and the time and interest to play a role in the future of ringing, then please step up.
I am happy to discuss with anyone who might be interested.
The main role of the Publicity Officer is to identify and exploit whatever opportunities are available to showcase ringing and / or the Association in a positive light. It helps if you are outgoing, approachable and can be proactive in sniffing out good stories from around the Association. Since local radio and news media often plan human interest stories a few weeks ahead it also helps if you can find out about upcoming events well ahead of the date. (Obviously this often depends on the rest of us ringers letting the Publicity Officer know in good time about what is going on).
Very rarely, there are bad news stories that the Association may need to respond to so, ideally, the Publicity Officer would be readily contactable and able to coordinate a response.
The Association has committed quite a lot of funds to support training in many ways. Various Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) courses were held locally before COVID, jointly organised with the KCACR and fully funded for our members. The current Training Officer, David Grimwood, has also organised tower leadership sessions and organised ringing-focused safeguarding training for tower leaders, in partnership with the Diocesan Safeguarding teams. We have also supported some local towers to set up training facilities for use by themselves and wider groups. There is therefore a solid basis on which to build, if you have the ideas and energy to continue and expand on this. Good training has never been more important than now.
Different training officers have managed this role very differently over the years and I don’t think there is one “correct way” of approaching it. We need people with ideas, a willingness to themselves think differently and “out of the box”, the ability to get others to help them and the energy to keep going. In summary team players with ideas and energy!
If you are interested, then please contact either David Grimwood or me for an informal discussion about one of the most important roles in the Association.