Community support

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000


"Bells Up" is one of the few handbell tune ringing the North East of England. We formed in September 2015 as part of the charity Community Music Whickham and Swallwell.This charity was established with the aim of making provision for anyone in the community to achieve their personal highest standards of excellence in music making, to have their creative aspirations encouraged and their self esteem and confidence improved.

Our weekly rehearsal is full of excitement when everyone looks forward to music making, learning new skills, team work and fun! Such is the enthusiasm that some of us would love to meet more frequently. We are inspired by our tutor who works with us on an entirely voluntary basis and reassures us that " there is no such thing as a mistake - it is just a creative deviation." As well as learning tunes we do warm up exercises, study music theory and musicianship and over the twelve months since our first rehearsal we have learned to read music. As most of our group did not have any previous musical experience this is an amazing achievement.

After just three months we performed at a Christmas Carol Concert in December 2015 and also for another local charity by playing carols. We then expanded our repertoire to include popular Tyneside melodies and some well known classics such as Pachabel's Canon. As part of a Music Marathon event in our local town Swalwell we helped to raise over £1000 for charity and we performed at our local Church Fayre in Whickham during the Queen's Birthday celebrations when we received rapturous applause. Our charity, Community Music Whickham and Swalwell, organised a large music festival in July 2016 to celebrate the works of Swalwell born composer William Shield. Bells Up performed in an important concert as part of this festival. Over 900 members of the community benefited by taking part in this event either as performers or audience members.

In addition to gaining musical skills we feels that our health has benefited by handbell ringing. We have found an improvement in our concentration and memory, some of our joints have been mobilised and our self confidence in performing for our community has flourished. We are proud to wear the lovely blue colours of our charity CMWS when we give concerts.

Currently we have 12 bells in the key of C. Each person plays 2 bells at a time. The group continues to expand and as we welcome anyone to join - no previous musical experience is necessary- we will increase the numbers in our team as we encourage more members of our community to delight in this wonderful experience. Therefore we need some more bells.

Ringing music in only one key is limiting the type of tunes that we play and we are desperate to ring a wider variety of music . It is a particular ambition of Bells Up to ring the theme from the Snowman - Walking in the Air- for Christmas Carol concert 2017. To achieve this we need more bells. Advice from experts suggests at we need 13 more bells. The cost to augment our existing set is £3629.

With this this funding not only can we achieve our ambition to ring a wider variety of music and to perform it for our community, we can also enable more people to join the Bells Up team and enjoy all the important health, psychological and social benefits of handbell ringing.

Community Music Whickham and Swalwell

Moment of Pride

"Bells Up" is an inspirational group, discovering hidden musical talents and sharing our enthusiasm and excitement with the wonderfully supportive local community. We are proud to be part of a charity which nurtures potential and encourages us to perform to support other deserving organisations

Location: Whickham