Safeguarding training for bell ringers – a practical guide

Published: Tuesday May 16, 2023

The team mid 2,000th quarter peal attemptSafeguarding training is often considered something for people who work with children, but it is a mandatory requirement for a variety of church roles and responsibilities such as volunteers, which includes bell ringers.

Ian Bucknell, from All Saints Bisley, recently completed all three of the Church of England’s Safeguarding Framework courses and shares his experience.

How easy was it to complete the Safeguarding training?

Ian says, “I didn’t find the process terribly onerous; in fact, to my pleasant surprise, I found it quite interesting. All three courses can easily be completed online but there are other ways that the training can be completed. The Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers can help if you want to take a course. There was no cost, no essay writing, nor any requirement to stand up and speak to a group of people – it really was quite user friendly.”

Isn’t safeguarding about working with children?

Ian says, “Some ringers believe that safeguarding relates merely to children – and to simply avoid ringing with children. While the training I experienced did cover issues relating to child safety, the majority of case studies and issues we covered were very much adult related.

“I discovered that safeguarding covers a vast range of vulnerabilities including domestic abuse, addictions, mental health issues, bereavement, financial abuse as well as historic abuses and, after 40 years of ringing experience, I know that our beautiful world of ringing is, and never has been, immune to those issues. If we, as ringers, choose to ignore safeguarding, we are at risk of letting down our fellow adult ringing friends in their time of need.”

Does the training focus heavily on religion?

Ian says, “A concern some ringers have is that the training includes ‘too much religion’. Well, I did not feel that way. Of course, there were references to the Bible and Christ’s teaching but not to an enormous extent and the training was being supplied by the Church, so surely it isn’t surprising that those references are made.”

Do bell ringers also need a DBS check?

Most ringers do not need to have a DBS check; however, all ringers do need to complete Basic Awareness Training. If you are ‘teaching’ either adults or children then you will need both the Foundation course and a DBS check. You will need to seek the advice of your incumbent or your Parish Safeguarding Officer about this. Also visit: DBS forms, applications and process changes.

Ian says, “I urge all ringers to get themselves booked on the relevant courses as a priority. Do this as part of your commitment to your fellow ringers in the same way as they will be doing it for you. It really isn’t all that difficult when you get around to it.”

It is a requirement by the Church of England that PCCs ask all volunteers in their church to complete Safeguarding training. More information about the Framework and process can be read here: Safeguarding in Church of England Settings – CCCBR

To book on a course, in the first instance, visit: Safeguarding Training – Diocese of Gloucester (

Or contact the Gloucester & Bristol Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers Safeguarding Officer via Association Officers (



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