The Tower Handbook

9.8: Social events

a: Why should we have social activities?

Just for the change. Spend an evening, afternoon or a day doing something different from your normal activities together. The hierarchies based on ringing skill can break down. New leaders and organisers can emerge. You can enjoy yourselves and develop a new team spirit. Your non-ringing relatives and friends can take part in non-ringing functions so they won't feel 'on the outside' and will be able to get to know the people with whom you spend a lot of your free time. You never know, as a spin off they might want to join you in the tower and learn to ring!

b: What sort of social events could we consider?

Anything your band would support and enjoy. Someone has probably done most you can think of (and some you can't). Try something new. Novelty attracts more people.

Ringers have run: darts and dominoes, a skittles match (good for inviting another group), a barn dance (go as a group to someone else's?), ten-pin bowling (but don't go wearing a tight shirt or blouse - you could lose a sleeve!). You could hold a barbecue, have a quiz night, organise a dinner, or a theatre trip.

c: How can we persuade everyone to support social events?

You can't, since they are all voluntary. Are they just social events (that you attend for your own pleasure) or are they fund raising events (that you organise to make money)? You can only expect people to attend social events if they enjoy them. There is no reason why all ringers should enjoy barn dances, or rounders matches, or theatre trips, or anything else you have in mind. The only thing all ringers have in common is ringing.

You should find some event to suit most of the band, but it may not be your own choice. Ask what people enjoy doing. Try putting a suggestion sheet on your notice board with space for people to say what events they would like, and for other people to say whether they would support them.

A fund raising event is different. You will want as many of the band as possible to support it to make it more successful, not just for their own pleasure. But it is still voluntary, so you need to make sure everyone really supports the cause for which you are raising funds. See section 9.9.

d: How can we get enough people to make an event viable?

The obvious way is to invite members of the family, and friends. One way to double your attendance is to hold a joint event. You could challenge a neighbouring tower, or your church choir to a competitive event like a skittles match. You could make it a regular event. You could have a simple trophy to compete for, like a wooden spoon.

e: What about events for people with young children?

You need to try to organise events that the young couples in your band can enjoy with their children. Day trips to the seaside, a country park or a theme park are a good idea. You could visit a steam railway and take a ride in style, maybe with a tower to grab included. All these things are possible if you do not have to travel too far or you go in a coach. You may even subsidise the trip from your tower funds. See section 7.7a.

f: Should we organise tune ringing on handbells?

Many bands do, although there is very little in common between change ringing and tune ringing apart from using bells. Some develop tune ringing to a high standard and get invited to entertain at events. For most towers, tune ringing is less serious. Even if you don't ring tunes regularly, why not consider ringing carols at Christmas to raise money for charity? You will need to start practising well ahead, and stick to simple things until you become more experienced. Tune ringing could allow some of your members who are not good at method ringing to bring out hidden talents.

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