Bell Ringing, Flower Arranging, Foodbank, Lunch Club, Open the Book

Support for both our church members and the community around our church.

[Open the Book team]

Bell ringing is a wonderful hobby and is also a service to the community and church. It is accessible to just about anyone from age 9 to 99 and it costs very little, (except maybe the odd drink in the pub on practice night!). Bell ringing is a team activity that exercises both body and brain and it is great fun.


At St Mary’s we have a ring of 6 bells, which are rung from the ground floor. They are quite light and very easy going making them particularly accessible to young and old alike. We practice on Wednesday evenings, with a learner’s/improver’s practice from 7:00pm to 8:00pm and the general practice from 8:00pm to 9:30pm, followed by drinks in the pub. We ring for Sunday service, 9:30am to 10:00am (except for the 1st Sunday of the month at the present time), and for weddings.

Do I have to go to church?

No. You do not have to attend the church service, but once you have reached a suitable standard we encourage and expect you to ring for Sunday service, 9:30am to 10:00am.

How old do I have to be to start bell ringing?

Normally you need to be at least 9-10 years old, but more usually our young learners are between 12 and 14 years old. We have boxes you can stand on to help if you are a bit short. There is no upper limit on age, and there are many ringers who are in their nineties. Bell Ringing keeps you healthy in mind and body. If you are under 18 we require a parent or chaperone to be present.

[Ringers from St Mary's and St Peter's Yateley]
Bell Ringers from St Mary's and St Peter's Yateley who rang a quarter peel in honour of the Licensing of Rev'd Rachel Hartland

Are bells heavy or hard work to ring?

Bells are quite heavy ranging from about 50kg to over 4 tons but they are not hard work to ring. Our tenor bell (number 6) is the heaviest and weighs 5cwt (about 250kg) but a child can ring it. Most bells require very little effort to ring because they are carefully hung on ball bearings and are swung using a rope and a large wheel!

How long will it take me to learn?

This very much depends upon how much “time on a rope” you can get as well as your aptitude. Some people naturally take to bell ringing and can reach “service ringing” standard within a month or two. Others may take much longer. But the vast majority of learners usually master the basic skills within 4-6 months. It depends a lot on your level of commitment.

How much does Bell Ringing cost?

Virtually nothing, especially if you can walk to your local tower! We give our time in teaching for free. Actually, bell ringers usually get paid for ringing at Weddings.

Can I visit any bell tower?

One of the great things about bell ringing is that you will receive a warm welcome at almost any other tower if you get in touch and come to their practice – or even on Sundays, especially if they are short of ringers. Once they have some basic skill, we encourage our learners to attend other practices as visitors to get experience on different bells and to make new friends. Towers arrange bell ringing outings, visiting between 3 and 6 towers in a day and some also arrange breakfast, lunch and dinner too! Our local Bellringers’ Guild also organises many district practices and training days throughout the year giving more scope for ringing at other towers.

We welcome visitors and new recruits, whether you can already ring or want to learn.

[Creation Cafe Flyer]

A weekly pop-up cafe for walkers, creatives, and anyone in the community who just wants some company in a warm, friendly environment.

Runs most Mondays from 2-5pm from the Hall at the back of the Church.

All welcome! Muddy boots, well-behaved dogs, and any 'creative work' in progress.

[Creatives and walkers enjoying the cafe]
Creatives and walkers enjoying the cafe

Do pop-in for a drink and cake

The Flower Arrangers are a group of volunteers who arrange the flowers for our Sunday Services and weddings on a rota basis. More volunteers are always welcome!

[Flowers arranged in church]
A Typical Flower Arrangement

We're always on the lookout for people with a talent for flower arranging so do please contact us if you are interested in joining our team!

[Hart Foodbank Logo]

St Mary's, in conjunction with a number of other local churches, have established a Foodbank hosted at St Barnabas Church, one of four Foodbank Centres for Hart Foodbank, part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust.

Foodbanks work by enabling people in crisis to ask for a Foodbank Voucher from local agencies, such as:

  • Citizens Advice
  • Housing Support Officers
  • Schools
  • Churches
  • Health Visitors
  • Social Services
  • and some local charities

They assess your needs and give you a voucher to exchange for food. You present the voucher at the Foodbank where food is supplied for each family member, sufficient for 3 days.

Foodbank Opening Hours
at St Barnabas Church

Monday and Thursday, 1:30-3:00pm.

How to get help

If you need food help, please contact us:

  • 07926 806256

We will help you with your immediate food crisis and signpost you to any further help you might need.

For further detail, please visit: Hart Foodbank: How to Get Help .

How to give help

  1. Donate Food

    If you are able to donate food, you can take it to one of these local donation points:

    Location Opening Hours Notes
    Centre Stores, Eversley Store Opening Hours Near Tills
    Co-op, Yateley Store Opening Hours Near Tills
    Discoveries, Yateley Store Opening Hours
    St Barnabas Church, Darby Green Mon - Fri 09:00-16:00 Term-time only plus during Foodbank opening hours
    St Mary's Church, Eversley Mon - Fri 09:00-17:00

    For a full list of donation points within Hart together with details of current weekly shortages, please visit Hart Foodbank: Donate Food .

  2. Donate Money

    To make a donation, please visit Hart Foodbank: Donate Money .

  3. Volunteer

    At the St Barnabas Foodbank Centre, volunteers:

    • meet and greet guests
    • receive donations and make up food parcels
    • deliver food parcels and transport food between the warehouse and foodbanks

    Full training is provided.

    We're looking for people who can commit to volunteering:

    • Monday and/or Thursday afternoons from 1:15-3:00pm
    • Weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or a timeframe to suit you

    If you'd like to volunteer, please contact our Foodbank Centre Lead.

The Lunch Club meets every Friday in term-time from 12-2pm in the Church Hall.

It's a social gathering with lunch - hot soup, ploughmans lunch, cake, and tea or coffee - followed by an hour's talk and discussion, usually with a guest speaker. It costs just £4.

[A happy bunch of lunch-clubbers!]
A happy bunch of lunch-clubbers!

There is an opportunity for Holy Communion at 11:30am on the 1st Friday in the month for those that are interested.

To enable us to cater for correct numbers, do let us know beforehand if you're planning to come.

What is Open the Book?

Open the Book is a nationally recognised scheme for telling Bible stories, produced by the Bible Society and acted out by local volunteer Storytellers.

Each presentation takes around 10–15 minutes and can be incorporated into a wider school assembly, or can be stand alone.

Which schools do you visit?

Charles Kingsley's CE School, about once a fortnight.

You will need to be DBS checked (organised by the school) before you can attend a session.

[Open the Book in action at Charles Kingsley's School]
Open the Book in action at Charles Kingsley's School

Do I have to be an actor?

No, the roles involved can include:

  • Acting
  • Narrating
  • Singing
  • Music Playing
  • Making Costumes
  • Making Props

Do please contact us if you're keen to get involved!

As a Benefice we have 4 free tickets to Winchester Cathedral, including their Kings and Scribes exhibition.

The Cathedral, one of the finest medieval cathedrals in Europe, is a fascinating place of spiritual and historic interest, and this would make a fantastic family day out.

Did you know?

Winchester Cathedral has been a living place of worship and welcome for over 900 years!

If you wish to make use of them, please contact us with the date you want them, and we'll arrange with you to collect and return them.