The Essex Association of Change Ringers   President: The Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Chelmsford

Association Membership and Insurance Cover

Membership of the Essex Association of Change Ringers

The Essex Association of Change Ringers (EACR) represents ringers who live in the boundary of the old county of Essex or who are ringers at a tower within Essex (the Association predates the Diocese of Chelmsford by some 35 years). Membership of the Association is normally open to any person interested in bells and bellringing, and eligible ringers are warmly invited to join the Association.

By joining the Association you will be invited to ringing meetings, training courses and other events arranged by the individual districts and by the Association as a whole. You can also meet other local ringers, participate in business meetings, courses and events, and help to ensure that ringers have a voice in their local communities and in Essex. By subscribing you are supporting the work of the Bell Restoration Account which provides grants to Association towers needing work.

Ringers are usually attached to an individual tower in one of the six Districts of the Association (Northern, North-Eastern, North-Western, Southern, South-Eastern and South-Western). A new member is elected by the existing ringing members of their District, generally at a business meeting within the district of the tower to which they are attached. A map showing the EACR towers is here. For more information, contact the Secretary of any District, or contact the General Secretary of the Association. For example, a District Secretary can tell you which is your nearest active tower, and provide details of the next business meeting.

Members are requested to update their Membership Details to help the administration of annual claims for Gift Aid, Registration for Association Insurance and communication of Association and District activities. The Membership Information Form (updated October 2018) may be used for this purpose and may submitted to the District Secretary or Treasurer as soon as practicable following any change.

Membership Application Form

Prospective members shall apply using the prescribed Application Form and may only be elected by a majority vote of members present. New members should be proposed and seconded by a current member and, by way of introduction, we hope that you would all be at your election meeting. Election is only completed on payment of subscriptions. Click here to download the Association's prescribed Membership Application form (updated October 2021). The form is an Adobe PDF file (78Kb). You can then print it (A4 size) before submission. The completed Membership Application Form should be submitted to the District Secretary by no later than the start of the business meeting in which the membership proposal is to be heard. Prospective members are asked to verify they are eligible for membership by confirming they have read the Rules of the Association.

Ringing Members and Non-Resident Life Members may be provisionally elected (via "Belfry Election") prior to a peal attempt by two Ringing Members of the Association and ratified at the next business meeting, the proposers being responsible for payment of a single-subscription (currently £8) and for ensuring the prescribed Application Form is completed.

Subscriptions (due on 1st January)

Ringing members of the Association pay an annual subscription. Subscriptions are due on election and subsequent annual subscriptions on 1st January. The current rate for membership is:

Ringing members£8
(* Ringers under the age of eighteen on 1st January).

Ringing Members or Friends may become “Life-Paid” by paying a lump sum equal to not less than 20 times the annual subscription at the current time, currently £160.

Of these subscriptions, 25% is automatically transferred to the Bell Restoration Account.

Categories of Membership

Ringing Member live within the boundaries of the Association and
  • is able to ring changes to a standard suitable for Sunday Service ringing on tower bells or to ring handbells. Changes shall be deemed to include method ringing, call changes and tenor cover on tower bells. Handbell ringers shall be capable of ringing methods on two bells retained in hand, and
  • chooses to pay an annual subscription
  • may vote at meetings of the Association
  • may become an officer of the Association
  • eligible to ring in peals rung for the Association
  • covered by the Association insurance
  • may receive a copy of the Annual Report
Junior Member As above (aged under eighteen on 1st January) As above with the exception that you cannot become an officer of the Association
Friend a non-ringer who wishes to be associated with and support the objects and activities of the Association but who is not eligible for membership under any other category
  • covered by the Association insurance
  • may receive a copy of the Annual Report
  • cannot vote at meetings
Life Vice-Presidents are Ringing Members honoured by the Association for their exemplary service and substantial contribution to the operation of both a District and the Association for over 20 years
  • as for Ringing Members
  • free from annual subscriptions
Life Members are Ringing Members or Friends honoured for their substantial contribution to their tower and District for an extended period (over 20 years) or who have been Ringing Members for at least 50 years
  • as for Ringing Members
  • free from annual subscriptions
Non-Resident Life Member (NRLM) one qualified to be a Ringing Member who does not live within the Association boundaries and who does not wish to pay an annual subscription. Usually a peal ringer from elsewhere. Ringing Members who have paid five consecutive years subscriptions may become NRLM on moving away on paying the current year’s subscription. NRLM’s moving into the Association area become Ringing Members on payment of current subscription without election
  • not covered by the Association insurance
  • cannot vote at meetings
  • may receive a copy of the Annual Report for the year in which they were elected

Membership Information Form

The proposal to adopt a Membership Information form to obtain basic information about the current membership was agreed at the October 2011 Management Committee meeting. The form is especially aimed at those members elected prior to the introduction of compulsory completion of a membership form in 2012.

The membership of the Association is currently around 1,150. Of the current membership 51% were elected prior to 2003, the year when voluntary completion of a membership form came into being. At best the forms use was patchy in the early years but gradually completion of the membership form has become more commonplace and as a result of a rule change in 2011 is now mandatory.

The Charity Commission's best practice and model constitution for charitable associations states that: "The trustees must keep a register of names and addresses of the members which must be made available to any member upon request." This is underpinned by the statement that "It is very important for the good administration of the charity to keep the register of members up to date: failure to do so can result in a number of problems, including serious difficulties in calling annual or extraordinary meetings."

While we are able to communicate with our members via email groups, District tower correspondent groups and the website, the Association now needs to address the fundamental issue which is a lack of knowledge of its actual membership.

The Membership Information form will obtain the same information that is requested on the current Membership form while additionally requesting the age profile of individual members. Completion of the form is voluntary but the Management Committee hopes that as many members as possible will complete and return their forms.

The form is here (updated October 2018)

Gift Aid

Full details of how the Association can treat your subscription and donation as Gift Aid can be found here.

Public Liability and Personal Accident Insurance

The Association holds two insurance policies for its members. The following notes are intended as a guide only. They are not intended as a substitute to the insurance policies held by the Association relevant to the period of cover, which contain the full policy definitions, terms, conditions and exclusions.

Public Liability

The policy covers bell ringing, minor maintenance and fundraising events. No definition of ‘minor maintenance’ is available but it would cover routine maintenance and similar activities. Fundraising includes, for example, the use of halls for meetings and publicity and social events (including the use of mini-rings). The indemnity is up to £5,000,000 for every claim with a £250 excess and includes member-to-member liability. The policy is with Ecclesiastical Insurance Group. Public liability cover for major bell projects should be arranged separately.

Personal Accident

The policy covers all paid-up members of the Association (but not non-resident members), including any person under instruction prior to acceptance for membership of the Essex Association. The policy is underwritten by Allianz Insurance plc. Members are covered whilst ringing or attending to any works or travelling to or from a church or bell tower to practice or take part in ringing anywhere in the world. Cover and benefits payable have been extended in respect of age benefits (see table below).  Cover is subject to the policy terms, conditions and exclusions – the Insured shall take all reasonable precautions to prevent accidents and any injury, loss or destruction or damage and shall take all reasonable steps to observe and comply with statutory or local authority laws, obligations and requirements.

Benefits payable in the event of an accident Aged under 80 Aged 80-90
1 Death £30,000 £2,500
2-3 The above amounts are also payable across the age ranges in respect of loss of sight of one or both eyes, loss of one or more limb(s), loss of hearing in one or both ears or loss of speech
4 Permanent total disablement £30,000 £2,500
5 Temporary total disablement £300 pw for up to 104 weeks Not covered
6 Temporary partial disablement Not covered Not covered
7 Paraplegia £50,000 Not covered
8 Triplegia £85,000 Not covered
9 Quadriplegia £125,000 Not covered
Additional benefits are payable e.g. dental, optical, rehabilitation and counselling

Any member whose subscription is in arrears and who has not paid those arrears by the 30th April each year will not have their insurance cover renewed. It is therefore even more important that you do not let your membership lapse. In the event of a claim the Association Officers will decide whether or not you are a valid member based on membership lists, which the Association are required to maintain (Rule 11.3).

The above is a summary of the policies held and in any conflict with this summary and the actual policies, the policies will take precedence. Claims and queries concerning the extent of the cover, exclusions or operation of the policies should be directed in the first instance to the Association Treasurer so that the position may be clarified with the insurers.

Andrew Brewster
Association Treasurer
January 2021

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