Summary notes from this meeting are published here: http://surreybells.tumblr.com/post/156839518716/a-full-morning-of-discussion-at-the-open-general
Full notes attached below.
Special Morning Meeting Saturday 28 January
A special meeting of the association’s General Committee will be held at 10 am on Saturday 28 January.
All Association members are welcome to come. It would be wonderful if there were to be at least one person from every Association tower.
Please let Kate Flavell know if you intend to come so that we can be sure there is enough room for everyone. firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 8942 1662.
When? Saturday 28 January. The meeting will start at 10 am and end by 1.30 pm, after which we will all have lunch together, which will be chosen and ordered during the morning.
Where? The Robin Hood pub 52, West Street, Sutton, SM1 1SH. Easily accessible by public transport.
Can't make it? Please read the agenda, there are some big issues up for discussion, and let us have your comments: email@example.com
1 Chairman’s Opening Remarks
2 Recruitment and training
One of the main aims of the Association is to improve standards and expectations of ringers across the board. We need to invest in recruitment and training of ringers, provide opportunities for ringers to progress and improve their skills and promote the highest standards of leadership and stewardship in our towers. How well are we achieving this? What are the problems? What could we do better?
The Association generates regular surpluses and has about £20,000 in the general fund. In addition to this we have over £30,000 in legacy monies to distribute. How can we make best use of this money to benefit local bell ringing?
A significant proportion of our membership are hardly engaged with the Association or with ringing activities outside their own towers. What can we do to improve participation and encourage greater engagement in the Association? Particular problems are a lack of attendance at meetings and practices, same faces appearing at training courses time after time, few nominations for district and Association officers.
Is the Surrey Association still appropriate or relevant? Set up in the 1880s, would it be set up as it is these days? If not, what would there be? The current structure of the organisation faces a number of challenges. Our two districts are very divergent communities but both share problems of low engagement from members. Maybe there are structural problems present. We are being squeezed by considerable overlap on our western border with the Guildford Guild. This dilutes participation and confuses identity. On the eastern side the Docklands ringers are rapidly taking on a separate identity. There is no natural focal point to the Association as the cathedral church is in the far north of the area and largely detached from the activities of the majority of the membership.
Our name causes confusion. The Surrey Association does not really represent Surrey at all. Maybe this is holding us back and stopping people from identifying with us? Is the Association actually sustainable as an independent entity? What does our identity and brand mean? Should we be looking to redefine our borders, change our district structure or change our name?
6 Any other business
To support item 5 the Surrey Association tower map has been redrawn to show the overlap with the Guildford Guild (in red) and the Docklands Ringing Centre (in yellow). A total of 23 towers out of 72 in the Association have this 'dual' membership status. The remaining Northern District towers are shown in blue and the Southern District in green.
Find the map here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1fPoio8krXk0MGhGQPDEwshKCznU&usp=sharing
Some relevant historical notes:
1) The Surrey Association was formed in 1880. The current rules of the association define it's boundaries as 'the County of Surrey as recognised in 1880'.
2) The Guildford Diocese, and associated ringers guild, wasn't formed until 1927. The Diocese covers nine of the eleven districts in Surrey, much of north-east Hampshire and part of Greater London. At that time the Associations's Western District was dissolved and the Central District became known as the North Western District from 1928 (it was later renamed to the Northern District in 1954).
3) The South London area of the old County of Surrey was absorbed into Greater London when that was formed in 1965.
4) The Docklands Ringing Centre was formed in 1995 and is a separately constituted charity embracing 11 towers in the Docklands area which straddles both the Surrey Association Northern District and the Kent County Association Lewisham district.