The many benefits of volunteering have been well documented. It can help you make friends, learn new skills, advance your university application or career, and even help you feel happier and healthier by connecting you with others and your community. For some it enables them to bring their skills and experience to the service of the wider ringing community, whilst for others it enables them to branch out and use skills which may have been under-employed in their working life. With busy lives, it can be difficult to find time to volunteer; however the benefits can be enormous, providing vital support to a worthwhile cause and heling others.
As a charity and central body for ringing, both in the UK and overseas, the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (the “Council”) depends almost wholly on the generosity of its volunteers, who give their time to support its work.
The wide range of the Council’s activities mean that volunteering can be very diverse and satisfying. The Council’s work covers many areas including engineering, education, publicity and promotion, library services, the media, historical research, event management and the technical development of ringing - see below for a list of opportunities.
As the Council has no direct membership, its volunteers come from the representatives and members of its constituent societies, existing ringers and indeed from those with no ringing background who would like to do their bit to promote a healthy future for ringing.
Do I need to belong to a ringing society to volunteer?
No. While most Council volunteers already belong to a ringing guild or society, this is not a requirement and the Council welcomes volunteers who are not themselves ringers, but who share the Council’s objects.
Are Council Members discouraged from volunteering?
No. Quite the opposite. Council members are generally the representatives of the Council’s constituent guilds and societies and they contribute a considerable amount of time and effort to support the Council’s work. All Council members are able to volunteer and they are positively encouraged to do so. How is the
Council’s work organised?
The Council’s operates through its Workgroups and Stewards, with support and oversight provided by its Trustees. Workgroups are formed of teams of volunteers, each led by a Workgroup Leader and each leading an area of the Council’s work. Stewards are either individuals or smaller teams who have the care of the Council’s key assets, such as its library and historical artefacts.
Must every volunteer join a Workgroup?
No. Workgroup Members tend to contribute more widely to the management of a Workgroup’s area of responsibility, but also rely on support from individual specialists who contribute their skills and know-how to help with specific projects and services.
Is there a requirement to attend meetings?
No. Whilst most Workgroup Members tend to meet regularly, online or in person, each volunteer’s contribution can be shaped to suit their personal circumstances and the amount of time they are able to give.
Does the Council encourage volunteering by those who have special needs or who come from a minority background?
Yes. As a great deal of work can be done from home, there are few limits on what can be achieved and the Council makes every effort to accommodate the needs of individual volunteers.
Is there a minimum age to volunteer?
No, although vulnerable adults or those under 18 years of age should be aware of the Council’s Safeguarding requirements.
What is the application process?
If you can offer of your time to support the Council’s work, please do contact one of the Workgroup Leaders, Stewards using the contact details above. Alternatively you are welcome to contact one of the Trustees, whose contact details can be found on the Council’s Website.
The Council generally finds volunteers through informal contact with those who have expressed an interest in supporting its work or from existing volunteers and representatives of its member societies.
Most volunteers including Workgroup Members are recruited by the relevant Workgroup Leader and the Council’s senior officers (including Workgroup Leaders themselves and the Council’s Stewards) are approved by its Trustees.
From time to time, the Council also advertises, where it needs to find people with specific experience or skills.
Is there an application form?
There is no formal application form, although volunteers are of course expected to support the Council’s objects and to comply with its policies. In particular, they are expected to ensure that their conduct of Council business complies with the Council’s policies including any Conflicts of Interest, which can be found on the website at https://cccbr.org.uk/about/governance/
Do volunteers receive expenses?
Whilst volunteers are generous in giving their time, the Council has an expenses policy to deal with out-of-pocket or other expenses which are incurred on Council business.
The current Council workgroups are:
Young Ringers – Schools and Youth Groups
Develops long-term sustainable sources of recruits from schools and youth groups, focusing on those in their primary and secondary school years.
Young Ringers – Universities and Colleges
Develops long-term sustainable sources of recruits, focusing on their transition through higher education and beyond.
Senior Stakeholder Liaison
Develops the Council’s high-level relationships with Church, heritage and funding bodies.
Volunteer & Leadership
Mobilises bell ringers to develop the teams, knowledge, resources and skills to enable ringing to flourish, including through technical and leadership training.
Historical and Archive
Develops and promotes the Council’s comprehensive historical resources.
Communications & Marketing
Co-ordinates communications and marketing activity, promoting public appreciation of bell ringing, supporting recruitment, and overseeing the Council’s communications.
Stewardship & Management
Supports ringers, the owners of bells, and other interested parties in all matters relating to the care of bells, ringers and those who visit bell towers. This includes offering publications and advice services on a range of areas including safety, governance, funding and engineering.
Technical & Taxonomy
Develops authoritative reference standards, maintains records for change ringing, offers advice on ringing standards and promotes the use of new technology and manages the Council’s technology platforms.
The current teams of Stewards are:
Carter Ringing Machine
Deal with the hosting, care and maintenance of the Carter Ringing Machine Collection.
Maintain the Dove database of towers and bells, and promote the use of technology to make it as available as possible.
Care for the Council’s physical and digital libraries and promote opportunities to extend their use.
Rolls of Honour
Deal with the care and appreciation of the Council’s Rolls of Honour, listing ringers who gave their lives in the two world wars and subsequent conflicts.
Fred E Dukes Fund Act
As management trustees for the Fred E. Dukes International Bell Fund with responsibility its investment and distribution in accordance with the legacy of the late Mr. F. E Dukes.