Throughout the year as part of the plan to raise awareness about the project we have sent short articles to the local village magazines. One of these pieces resulted in an approach from our local Tesco Community Champion who suggested we contact Tesco about supporting the bell project.
This turned out to be more of a challenge than you might think. Tesco like to help, but they also like to be "finishers" or to fund a particular part of the project; and like many other donors they will not fund a project that has already started. Our champion advised that it could take as long as a year to secure funds from Tesco; but we were hoping to have the project well underway within that timescale.
For a while it seemed as though this might prevent our application, we would need to identify a discrete part of the project that would cost around £4,000 and could be delayed, if necessary, until the rest of the project had been completed. We eventually realised that the combination of the repairs that were needed for the Ellacombe chiming apparatus and the rope guide would make a suitable project, if there were funds left over they could be used to get a spare set of stays for the new headstocks.
The bell ringers made an application to the Tesco Bags of Help Grant Scheme and much to our surprise we were very speedily told that our project had been selected - we would be allotted a token bin at the Tesco supermarket in Callington for the months of January and February 2019. What's more, any grant would be awarded by the end of March, we would be able to make the repairs whilst doing the rest of the project.
The Bags of Help Grant Scheme is incredibly generous, the funds awarded depend on the votes cast by the customers at the supermarket, but participants are guaranteed to receive either £1,000, £2,000 or £4,000. Now all we have to do is persuade people to cast their votes and hope the competition isn't too tough.