Barrow Bells - Tower Stewardship
This page attempts to convey the roles, responsibilities, and policies underlying the everyday operation of the tower. From Health and Safety to Social Activities!
A constitution has been written and agreed by the members of the St James Society of Change Ringers, and is available to download or view HERE
There are several positions that are filled in the tower in an informal or formal capacity, however, like many other towers, one individual may hold more than one position (e.g. the tower captain is often also the ringing master)
There are responsibilities that are likely to be held by persons outside of the tower, such as the Child Protection Officer, who will work with the the tower captain and other officers to ensure that the correct people undergo DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks (formerly CRB - Criminal Record Bureau) and formulate and agree a policy of good practice to ensure the protection of any youth that is in the care of the Tower and of the Church. At St James, there is a member of the PCC who has the role of CPO, and can be contacted through the vicar/PCC (see Contacts)
|POSITION||Role & Responsibilities|
|TOWER CAPTAIN||The Tower Manager or 'Boss'.
|RINGING MASTER||Runs the practice night, making sure everyone has an equal share of ringing, calling rounds and call changes, or calling 'touches' of methods, but encouraging others to do the same. A good ringing master is a competent ringer and able to call and 'put people right' quickly (i.e. help the other ringers to correct any mistakes)|
|INSTRUCTOR||Helps to train ringers of all abilities, from basic handling for novices, to more complex ringing and conducting for more experienced ringers. Someone with a kind nature and patience. Sometimes can be someone from another tower, or can be helped by someone from another tower.|
|SECRETARY||Otherwise known as the Tower Correspondent. Receives and answers letters about the tower, and bells. Possibly produce minutes of any tower meeting. Often also acts as a Social events organiser, from an evening out, to a ringing outing.|
|TREASURER||Looks after the money for ringing for weddings, and donations from any visiting bands. Managing petty cash, and paying for minor repairs. When larger sums are handled, liaises with the PCC treasurer and the bell account held by the PCC.|
|STEEPLE KEEPER||Ensures proper and regular maintenance of the bells and bell frame. Manages repairs and ensures all repairs are logged, and supports team in submitting faculty applications if necessary. Ties clappers and muffles bells when necessary. Is in charge of everything to do with the bells in the belfry above the ringing room.|
There may also be one or more of the above who receive training to become First-Aiders as a precaution, to be able to assist with any injury sustained in the tower (however rare and despite taking every practical H&S precaution)
The tower is affiliated to the Lancashire Association of Change Ringers (LACR), and is one of the towers that is listed in the Furness and South Lakeland branch of the LACR.
Historically, Barrow-in-Furness was part of Lancashire before the county boundary changes in 1974, and the tower had been part of the Lancashire Association since the LACR was formed in 1876. Initially opart of the Preston Branch, a Furness Branch was created in about 1905.
The Church belongs to the Diocese of Carlisle, but the Carlisle Diocesan Guild of Change Ringers does not have a branch that extends as far South as Barrow-in-Furness. The most Southerly tower in the CDG Western Branch is Irton.
Affiliation fees are paid by St James PCC on behalf of the Church and the ringers, and contributes to the LACR Bell Restoration Fund
After ringers have demonstrated that they can master essential bell control to be able to ring a bell safely when unsupervised, and once they have shown enduring interest in te 'exercise' (as ringing is sometimes known), a ringer will be encouraged to become a member of the LACR and their name will be put forward to LACR for admission.
The Association also promotes a certificate of proficiency which can be awarded on achieving a set standard; including ringing a full peal or two quarter peals, and being able to conduct a touch (at least 2 courses) of any ringing method.
Training will be co-ordinated by the tower Instructor.
Other experienced ringers from the tower will assist wherever possible, and help will sometimes be sought from experienced ringers from other towers.
There are also regular and special training days promoted by our branch, and annual training days offered by both the CDG (usually in Whitehaven) and the LACR, which will be extremely useful in developing and improving the standard of ringing in the tower. These events are also an excellent social outing for anyone from the tower, whether attending as an student or helper/instructor.
A structured learning scheme with targets to aim for, but encouraged at a comfortable speed for the individual, should be adopted, and rewarded (even if the reward is just a verbal congratulation or achievement noted in the Belfry records).
The social aspect of the Society is crucial to retaining and growing the number and standard of ringers. Not all the ringers will be practising Christians, and may not therefore ring for, or attend services. However all ringers have a benefit to the Society and ultimately the Church, by helping to create a positive social atmosphere that encourages ringers to join the Society and attend regularly, and also improves the standard of ringing of all the other ringers.
If the society grows enough, there could be a new role of Social Secretary. For the time being this will be the collective responsibility of all the officers and members of the Society.
There ought to be an annual tower outing, to which members of adjacent St Mary's Dalton-in-Furness should also be invited. We may also hopefully be invited along to join in their annual tower outing.
There should be shared transport to take part in Furness and South Lakeland branch events, including monthly meetings, BBQs, Carol Services, 6 bell striking competition etc.
The Society needs to hold its own social events which may (or may not) involve any ringing - e.g. anyone for Karting (or 10 pin Bowling if/when the new alley is built)?
There should be an open day at least once every year, to promote bellringing within the community, and potentially recruit new ringers. At other times of the year the Society can invite other groups to visit - Scouts, Guides, Youth Groups, Schools; to make them aware of what we do.
The adults may adjourn to a local hostelry when the ringing practice finishes.