For 18 years Geoff Perryman ran a practice night support scheme. He had a list of volunteers, and a list of needy practices, and he would phone volunteers and send them off to practices on a weekly basis. These volunteers became fondly referred to as Perry People. When Covid came along, Geoff decided that the time had come for him to pass the baton on, and now we are emerging from that, it is time to get started again.
The Perry Person scheme in the first place is simply a method of ensuring that practices have the critical mass of ringers to support whatever the local band is trying to progress in. Some bands just need more steady ringers for rounds and call changes, others may be trying to break into surprise major. I have seen the enormous benefits that the scheme has brought to Balsham, generally enabling ringers to progress through plain doubles and minor. It also brings the District to new ringers, and encourages people to join, and take part in District events. In my view, it is one of the most valuable initiatives in the EDA.
Technology has moved on since Geoff started, and the scheme will now operate through a web based app (called ‘AutoPerry), but the key thing is that volunteers are needed. That is YOU! It is almost inconceivable that any competent ringer (by which I mean someone who can at least strike reasonably well in rounds and call changes) cannot be useful at a practice somewhere.
Geoff was very careful not to ask people to help more than once a month, and if we have this level of commitment from enough people, the scheme should work well. However, with the new approach, that is entirely in your hands. If you only want to help occasionally, or if you want to go out every night of the week, that’s fine.
Auto Perry allows tower captains to advertise when, where, and what level of assistance they require, and allows volunteers to sign up to those events. It is very straightforward and intuitive, and should not frighten off any technophobe. You can register and give it a try at https://autoperry.cambridgeringing.info/ (and there's a link to it in the menu on the website so you can find it in future). Without you, this will never work!
As soon as this goes live, Tower Captains will be able to advertise their needs, and volunteers will be able to sign up to support practices. Initially, there is bound to be an imbalance of need and resource, so please be patient while the scheme settles down. Please bear with us, but also please do send comments and suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cambridge District Practice Night Support Officer