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Services to members

Sonning Deanery Branch exists to serve its members, as does the Oxford Diocesan Guild, of which it is a part. This page summarises the main services that both the Branch and the Guild offer to members. Some of the items below include a link to more detailed descriptions .

Ringing Outings Training Competitions Social events Tower Maintenance Award Reports Newsletters E-mail services
Books Publicity Insurance Advice Information Young Ringers Award Guidance Funding Wedding volunteers
  Provided by Sonning Deanery Branch Provided centrally by the Oxford Diocesan Guild
 Ringing opportunities • The Branch organises monthly practices on the 3rd Saturday of most months at different towers. Most practices are in the evening, but some are in the morning or afternoon. See diary.  See more detail
• The Branch runs weekday practices most months on the 1st 3rd Tuesday afternoon. See diary.   See more detail 
• The Branch runs a Surprise Major practice most months on the 2nd Wednesday evening. See diary.   See more detail 
• The Branch runs an elementary practice most months on the 1st Tuesday evening. See diary.   See more detail 
• Branch towers welcome members from other towers at their practices.
There is ringing before and/or after most Guild events. See the Guild diary  ... Back to top
 Outings The Branch often organises a ringing outing during the year, typically ringing at 5 or 6 towers in nearby counties. More detail The Guild has a Ringing Day in May, in a different branch each year, when many towers are open for ringing. See the Guild diary   ... Back to top
 Training The Branch runs courses to meet a wide range of needs. The time and date are chosen to suit those who have asked for the course in question. See details The Guild Education sub Committee runs three regular one-day courses. Basic courses are at Radley in the spring, and Steeple Aston in the Autumn, and a more advanced course in September is in the Reading area. It runs a 10-bell training day, normally in December at Aston Clinton. The Guild also runs periodic courses on other topics. All events are advertised by e-mail and also in Odd Bob. See the Guild diary . 
The Committee also provides education leaflets on various topics and advice on training aids. and runs the Guild's scheme of grants for educational purposes   ... Back to top
 Competitions The Branch organises two striking competitions (6-bell in spring and 8-bell in autumn). They provide opportunities for members to test their skills, as well as socialising with ringers from other towers. See rules for 6-bell & 8-bell. See diary. See more detail The Guild organises three striking competitions (see Rules):
• 6-bell (1st Sat in October) – Each branch may choose a tower team to represent it. The winner of the Branch 6-bell competition represents Sonning Deanery. See the Guild diary
• 8-bell (May Day Bank Holiday) – Any tower may enter a team, and any Branch may enter one or more teams. See theGuild diary
• 10-bell (4th Sat in November) – Each Branch may enter one team. See the Guild diary  ...  Back to top
Mutual support The Branch runs a wedding volunteer list to put members who would like extra (paid) ringing in touch with towers that are short of ringers for a wedding  
 Social events In some years, the Branch has organised social events such as skittles evenings and dinners and several towers within the Branch have organised quiz evenings. To see whether any are planned in the coming year, see diary. In many years, there is a Guild festival in July. The format varies, depending on the branch or tower hosting it, but it often includes some sort of meal or social gathering ...  Back to top
 Information distribution Distribution of information to members:
• Direct messages via e-mail (short notices, announcements, requests)
• More substantial information via tower correspondents (posters, reports, etc)
Distribution of information via the Branch secretary:
• Posters, notices, reports, etc
• Information about courses and other Guild events ...  Back to top
 E-mail services Using the Guild facilities (see right):
• Standard addresses for officers (see list of prefixes)
• Group mailing lists that go to: All members, All tower correspondents, All officers, Members of an individual tower, Members willing to help out with wedding ringing.
• Group mailing lists for use by the members of individual towers (for those towers that request one).
See details of lists and addresses
If you have a new e-mail address, please inform the Branch Postmaster
E-mail services that make communication simpler, while protecting personal addresses:
• Standard e-mail addresses for all officers (see list )
• Group mailing lists for committees, etc
• Similar facilities available for all branches (see left for Sonning Deanery) ...  Back to top
 Reports Most officers produce annual reports, which are distributed to Tower Correspondents prior to the AGM, and in most cases also available via this website, see list of documents The Guild produces an annual printed report, containing: information on all Guild towers (contact details and ringing times), contact details for all branches, member lists of all Guild towers, map of all Guild towers, details of all Guild peals
• A copy is sent to each tower correspondent
• A free personal copy may be requested by any member ...  Back to top
 Newsletters The Branch produces a  Newsletter 4 times per year
• Printed copies distributed to all towers
• Soft copies are available to download 
The Guild produces  Odd Bob  2 times per year
• Printed copies distributed to all towers
• Soft copies may be available to download  ...  Back to top
 Books The Branch has a small stock of books for sale, mostly about learning various aspects of ringing. The bookstall is taken to many Branch events, so you can browse books before buying them. See list of books etc available The Guild has a fairly comprehensive bookstall, which is present at all central Guild events ...  Back to top
 The Guild Library contains over 1000 books, periodicals and other documents that members may use for reference. See catalogue  ...
 Publicity The Branch owns a pull-up banner that may be borrowed for use at events, open days, etc.  Back to top
 Insurance   The Guild provides personal accident insurance for all members ...  Back to top
 Advice Several senior members of the Branch are willing to give informal advice to members about most topics related to bells and ringing. Ask one of the officers. The Guild Towers & Belfries sub Committee can provide tower inspections and advice on all aspects of bell installations ...  Back to top
 Awards – Tower Maintenance   The Guild Towers & Belfries Committee runs a Tower Maintenance Award Scheme, to encourage good practice in tower maintenance. Any tower may request an inspection, and as a result may be awarded a certificate (bronze, silver or gold) that remains valid for two years. ...  Back to top
 Awards – Young Ringer   Every few years, the Guild Education sub Committee runs a Young Ringers Award Scheme. Members up to 18 may enter. They keep a log-book over a whole year, and are assessed on a wide range of aspects of their participation in ringing and related activities, their progress, and their knowledge of wider aspects of the ringing community, bell maintenance, etc. ...  Back to top
 Guidance   The Guild has developed a Safeguarding policy in consultation with the Diocese of Oxford. ...   Back to top
 Funding The Branch can make a grant towards suitable projects in towers within the Branch. Ask one of the officers.

The Guild operates two funds that support work on bell installations within the Oxford Diocese:
• The Guild Restoration Fund – This can make grants towards any work including restoration, augmentation or new rings. See report
• The Oxford Diocesan Bell Fund – This can make grants towards restoration work (but not augmentations or new rings). See more details
• The Guild also offers grants for educational purposes  
   ... Back to top

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