General articles

Very worried of Gloucester is ill informed

In his article, (p.525) Steve Coleman takes a pop at the Ringing Foundation and the Integrated Teacher Training Scheme (ITTS). While entitled to his opinions it is of some concern that the style of his thoughts may lead others to believe they are facts, and, in particular, that two opening “facts” which seem to underpin his views are inaccurate.

The facts on membership and fund raising

Steve says “The members are exactly the same people who are the Central Council representatives unless they choose not to be … So essentially, the Ringing Foundation is just another CC Committee”. This is not what the Foundation membership rules provide and hence any conclusions drawn based on this assumption are irrelevant. CC members are invited to be members of the Foundation, but have to choose to become a member.

On fundraising he says, with emphasis, that “The idea was a separate company should be set up to raise money from outside of the ringing fraternity”. While this may be the case that some saw the opportunity to raise money in this way as a benefit, the Foundation seeks to further its charitable objectives and raising money from outside the ringing community is not mentioned anywhere in those objectives and is not what the Foundation is charged with doing.

The Ringing Foundation objectives and management

In its memorandum and articles the Foundation, as a charity, has the object, “To advance education and training in bell ringing particularly but not exclusively by providing workshops and courses on bell ringing and supporting bell ringing projects as a way of supporting the development, the skills, practice and art of change ringing on tower and handbells and raising public awareness of all aspects of bells and bell ringing.”

The Foundation is an entirely separate body from the Central Council and is not beholden to it. The Foundation has no means to mandate a levy on members of the ringing community for its objectives other than through the powers of persuasion in the belief that ringing needs a structured and funded organisation in addressing the issue of decline in ringer numbers.

Putting the record straight

The Foundation, early this year, wrote to fifty eight associations, guilds and societies asking for them to consider making a donation, mainly to support the ITTS project, and in giving scope to our ambition, the request that a sum of £1 per member would be very welcome. As secretary of the Gloucester and Bristol Diocesan Association, Steve, in a somewhat tart response, asked not for simple clarification but for further extensive information and copies of documents and accounts going back six years. In the context of our funding appeal the Foundation declined this request as unduly onerous and that the effort was anyway unlikely to further our cause for any contribution from the G&B. This can hardly be construed as a policy of secrecy.

Central Council £10,000

There is no secret either about the £10,000 pledged and then donated by The Central Council to the Foundation. The founding group of the Central Council provided this without restriction on how it could be spent. The disparity of timing in the recording of the donation in accounts of the Central Council and the Foundation was admitted at the time, there were no repercussions from regulatory bodies and five years on is not a matter of any significance.

The structure and organisation of ITTS

The Foundation, to end 2013, has raised £32,100, excluding the money from the Central Council, two thirds of which is from personal donations (£20,000) and the rest from bodies both within and outside the ringing community. For the same period expenditure in the form of direct grants and projects is £25,900, as listed below, and administrative expenditure £6,900, the largest proportion of which spent in the initial year or so of setting up the Foundation. There is no hiding of the fact that 85% of spending has been for the initiation, development and support of the ITTS project But a word on how this is structured and how the money is accounted for. £10,000 was spent directly by the Foundation in creating ITTS as a project that could be rolled out and applied on a scaleable basis. Beyond this the Foundation asked for the ITTS group to establish a management organisation – The Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) – and to make application for funding. In August 2012 a grant was awarded in the sum of £26,000, for a period to end 2014, for the ART to deliver; 200 ITTS accredited teachers, 500 enrolled new ringers for training, and run 60 courses. Monthly, and quarterly reporting procedures were set up to monitor progress and in the eighteen months so far results are ahead of objectives.

Ringing Foundation success

Funds raised by the Foundation are for the development of the human resource side of change ringing as opposed to the hardware side of bell restoration and so on. It follows that spending money for this purpose will be on paying people, either directly or indirectly, to get jobs done or to provide services. The Foundation believes that a structured, professional approach to ringing training is key to ensuring that ringing, and particularly change ringing, remains a nationwide activity for future generations to enjoy. We are proud of what we have done so far and passionate about taking it forward.

Myths about funding

Back in 2007 the general impression was that third party money for the cause was there for the asking and that the Foundation was the means for obtaining it. The realisation is something different in that, yes, submissions can be made to a number of identified bodies and groups for funding but only after answering two key questions. Firstly, they want to know what the money is to be spent on, a defined project with good indication of delivering stated objectives and preferably one that is already up and running. Contrast this definition of a human resource project with the easy description of one for bell restoration. Secondly, they say that funding can only be partial, in other words at least 50% matched funding or advance of money only on project completion. This stabs at the inconvenient truth that says, why should third parties subscribe to the future of ringing activity if those presently engaged and enjoying it are not prepared to bear a good measure of the cost of doing so.

Ringing Foundation 2013 accounts

The accounts are prepared in accordance with the required standards and there is no accrual for future or promised income other that that shown for recovery from HMRC through Gift Aid.

Grants & Awards 2008 to 2013

  £
Honiton Ringing Centre 400
Magdalan, Oxford, School Ringing Centre 440
Charmborough Ring In Schools Project
(CRISP)
400
RW Young Ringers Competition 200
Edington Ringing Centre 250
Big Ring Pull
(North Bucks Branch – Oxford DG)
1,000
Harry Windsor Ringing Centre 25
Bradford Ringing Centre 250
St Martin’s Guild Summer Camp
(Two awards)
500
Warwick University Ringing Society 250
Kilburn Young Peoples Project 250
Marsworth – Simulator 100
ITTS Set Up & Development
(2010 - Nov 2012)
9,954
ITTS – Stage I – Grant Application
(Dec 2012 - 2013)
11,850
  25,869

 

BOB HANCOCK
Director, The Ringing Foundation

BB BellBoard
CC
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers