The Bell Fund works in partnership with the Guild to promote church bell ringing in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. While the Guild supports bell ringing by assisting with recruitment and training, and by providing advice, support and sometimes labour for bell repair work, the Bell Fund focuses on providing grants towards the cost of work to improve, repair, or replace bell installations, and also for the augmentation of existing rings or the installation of new ones.
The BF will consider giving grants for:
- Refurbishment, overhaul, repair and improvement of existing rings of bells;
- Restoration of existing rings of bells;
- Preservation of bells and fittings from redundant churches, and other sites, to enable re-use;
- Augmentation of existing, and the provision of new, rings of bells; and
- Works which improve the ease of handling of rings of bells or improve the internal or external sound.
Outside the scope of the BF:
- Replacement of minor fittings (ropes, stays,etc.)
- Repair work to towers.
The Trustees prefer to be involved at the earliest stages of a project. This may be achieved through a direct approach to the Trustees, either formally or informally. There is no formal paperwork to fill in, but when making an approach it will be helpful:
- To give an outline of the work being planned;
- To say who is going to do it or provide copies of quotations;
- To indicate how much it is expected to cost;
- To provide assurance that the work will obtain the necessary approvals.
Even if all this information is not to hand, early notification will help the Trustees to budget for the grant and help ensure that the grant will not be curtailed because of commitments already made to others. It will also help to assess how the resources of the Guild might be deployed to reduce costs by providing labour.
From the beginning, the Trustees will be enquiring whether the church authorities have approved or will approve of the work. They will want to know that the project will produce the best result that various physical constraints, including money, impose. Finally, they will consider the likelihood of success, including whether the bells will attract an active band of ringers. This last item may include assessing whether the bells are likely to be available for ringing into the foreseeable future.
The Trustees will always maintain commercial confidentiality and although they will need access to suppliers’ quotations, these will not be shared with competitors. The grant given towards agreed projects varies but is normally 12½% of the cost (pre-VAT) and £500 towards any bell that augments the ring.
Loans towards projects will be considered on their merit as will the establishment of restricted accounts within the Bell Fund. These accounts allow safe holding of any funds being raised while allowing the benefits of Gift Aid to be enjoyed.
As already mentioned, the Guild can sometimes provide labour which will help reduce costs. It is often found that the saving from reducing contractor’s labour costs is much the same as the value of the grant.
Donations to the Bell Fund are always welcome and can be Gift Aided where appropriate as the Bell Fund is a Registered Charity. Please contact the Guild Treasurer.