Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000

Description

Ringing church bells is a fun and inclusive activity that is good for your physical and mental health, keeps the mind active and encourages social interaction and a sense of belonging. There is also tremendous satisfaction in knowing that you are providing a much valued service to the community and helping to keep alive a tradition that dates back to before the Norman Conquest.

We want to encourage more people in our local community to participate in this hugely rewarding activity that is open to people of all ages and backgrounds from all walks of life. Anyone can take part from the age of 10 or so until well into their 70’s and beyond and you don’t have to be connected to the church to participate - we welcome people of all faiths or none.

Research commissioned by The Churches Conservation Trust found that bell ringers could look forward to improved agility, co-ordination, reaction time and balance, plus improved muscle endurance and cardiovascular fitness.

The study also identified that as a gentle and inherently sociable pastime, bell-ringing was an ideal ‘gateway’ to improved fitness and healthy living. Bell ringing requires you to think and use your memory, which is great for keeping the mind as well as the body active. And the fact it’s a social activity means it’s an ideal way for everyone to feel part of a group and involved in their own communities.

We want to purchase a training bell, simulator and software to install in our ringing chamber. A training bell mimics accurately what it is like to ring a full size bell but is lighter and easier to handle. Our full size bells weigh between 5cwt and 22cwt, which can be quite daunting when you are just starting out. The simulator will allow people in the ringing chamber to hear what is happening without disturbing the neighbours, which is very useful when people are just beginning to learn to ring.

A smaller portable training bell was brought to Ledbury and used in the local high school and at the Ledbury Community Day with great success. This has reinforced how important it is to have our own permanent facility within the tower.

This equipment will allow us to:
• demonstrate what is actually happening in the belfry when you pull on the end of a rope
• offer many more people who have expressed an interest in ringing the chance to try it out for themselves
• make it much easier for people learning to ring to acquire the basic skills needed to handle a bell
• give people the confidence to progress on to learning how to ring the full size bells
• provide more teaching sessions locally

All our ringers are volunteers and they include qualified ringing teachers and other experienced ringers who will provide one to one support for people learning to ring. Ledbury ringers are part of a wider group of 60-70 ringers from local churches who support one another in ringing, training and other activities.

Once learned, ringing is a skill for life and can open up a lifetime of experiences and enjoyment, including visits to the local pub after ringing on practice nights, outings to ring on different bells outside the local area and many purely social events. As part of the wider ringing community, you will always be made welcome at any of the 5,000 other towers in the UK.

If we are successful in raising money for this project it can be up and running relatively quickly and only requires the equipment to be manufactured and fitted. It is a facility that will be used for many years to come.

Our aim is to get 200 people to come and ring the training bell in our first year. We would also expect to welcome some 200 school children through already established connections with local schools.

We believe that by making the early stages of learning to ring easier, more people will go on to become active ringers which will not only have a lasting impact on their health and wellbeing but also help to sustain ringing in Ledbury for the benefit of the community.

St Michael and All Angels Church PCC, Ledbury

Moment of Pride

We are proud to be at the heart of our community, calling people to worship and ringing for local and national events in joyful celebration and in times of sorrow.

Our highly committed ringers also give their time freely to help others to learn and benefit from this hugely rewarding activity

Location: Ledbury