We are pleased to announce that the RSA Interpretation Centre welcomed over 300 visitors this Saturday, an increase of 50% on last year’s visitor figures.

As has been the case in previous years the Centre was manned by a team of former engineers from the Factory, organised by Ray Tuthill and the Royal Small Arms Factory Apprentices Association. Ray was particularly busy, showing off our recently refurbished John Thwaite birdcage clock. This work was carried out earlier in the year by Thwaites & Reed, its original manufacturers. The Enfield at War display, delivered through an HLF funded project in association with the London Borough of Enfield, also proved popular.

The RSA Trust is delighted to report that the ring of bells at St George’s Memorial Church in Ypres were officially rung for the first time on Sunday 22nd October at a blessing officiated by the Bishop of Gibraltar, Right Rev’d Dr. Richard Innes.

The RSA Trust was one of a number of supporters that raised £195,000 to see the bells cast at the John Taylor Foundry in Loughborough. Each bell has dedications by donors cast into it, the RSA Trust chose to dedicate our donation on the number five bell to “The Workers of The Royal Small Arms Factory”.

BBC East Midlands reporter Amy Harris covered the story on 1st November:

As always we are grateful to Alan Regin, David Smith and the rest of the Bells4StGeorges team in completing this memorial to the Fallen and especially to Alan in his work researching the stories of the bell ringers who gave their lives in the Great War, ensuring their remembrance.

Yesterday a delegation of trustees of the RSA Trust attended the dedication ceremony for the ring of eight bells cast for St George’s Church, Ypres. The bells have been cast to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele (also known as the Third Battle of Ypres) in 1917. The church was built in 1927 and was designed to house a set of English bells, but none were installed. Alan Regin, David Smith and other bell ringers from around the UK raised £195,000 to cast and install the eight bells at the church to rectify this.

The bells were transported to Belguim on the backs of two preserved lorries manufactured in 1915, both of which saw service on the Western Front before being placed in the aisle of the church for their dedication ceremony. The fifth bell was cast with a dedication to “The Workers of the Royal Small Arms Factory” with an accompanying dedication in the book of remembrance,

“The RSA Trust are proud to be the custodians of the former Royal Small Arms factory in Enfield. This inscription is in recognition of the dedication of the factory workers whose efforts in manufacturing the Lee Enfield Rifle contributed so much to support the Allied troops. It is also in memory of the many workers who sacrificed their lives in the WW1 battles.”

The RSA Trust is grateful for the efforts of Alan, David and their fellow bell ringers in seeing this important deed done and look forward to hearing the bells ring out in the autumn.

The Fifth Bell bearing the dedication to the Workers of the Royal Small Arms Factory
The ring of bells set out in the aisle of the church, awaiting dedication
The eight bell wheels, made by David Town of Northallerton
The Menin Gate
One of the two 1915 trucks used to transport the bells from Loughborough to Ypres
St. George's Memorial Church, Ypres

In September 2016 The RSA Trust agreed to sponsor a dedication on one of a set of eight ‘full circle’ tuned church bells, destined for St. George’s Anglican Church in Ypres, Belgium. The church was built as a memorial to the fallen British troops from the First World War battlefields in the 1920s. However a ring of bells was not installed at the time of construction. This is now being remedied by Alan Regin, David Smith and the rest of the Bells4StGeorges team who have raised £195,000 to cast and install the bells in time for the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele.

On Thursday 1st June RSA Trustee Michael Polledri MBE and our Heritage Manager attended the John Taylor & Co Bell Foundry in Loughborough to witness the fifth and seventh bells being cast. The day included a visit to the Bell Foundry Museum as well as a tour of the forge and tuning shops. We are very grateful to David and Alan for their tireless work in not only arranging the casting of these memorial bells but Alan’s work to research and tell the stories of all 1,077 bell ringers who fell in the First World War. Michael was also able to enjoy a recital by the group of bell ringers in the Foundry’s own belfry.

The RSA Trust’s dedication appears on the fifth bell and is dedicated to “The Workers of the Royal Small Arms Factory”. The set of bells will be taken to Ypres at the end of august. The video and photos below give a flavour of the casting.

 

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Key Facts: Villa Scalabrini

Scalabrini

Funded since: 2011
Total amount funded: £100,000

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Our Relationship to Villa Scalabrini

We have a very close connection with Villa Scalabrini, having funded a series of projects at the nursing home in Shenley since 2011 that make resident’s lives comfortable and improve the resilience of the home. Some of the projects undertaken thanks to grants from the RSA Trust include:

  • Developing a “dementia garden” and roof terrace for residents
  • Creating a sky ceiling for a theraputic room
  • Converting a barn into a function room to help the Villa raise funds for itself

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Key Facts: Children’s International Voices Enfield

Funded since: 2011
Total amount funded: £53,127

Our Relationship to Children’s International Voices Enfield

Our trustees were blown away by the commitment of Drs. June & Christopher Keyte and the quality of their musical teaching to children and young adults of all abilities in Enfield. The choirs in a way had become a victim of their own success and the Keytes needed to expand their administration and appoint staff to manage the workload. The RSA Trust has since funded around £11,000 per annum to provide this much needed support.

Since the Trust started funding the choirs they have gone on to appoint a director of music and permanent administrator, ensuring their long term viability.

Key Facts: Edmonton Eagles

Funded since: 2012
Total amount funded: £100,000

Our Relationship to Edmonton Eagles Amateur Boxing Club

Edmonton Eagles have been instrumental in turning large numbers of young men and boys away from crime through use of after school amateur boxing clubs. The club also works closely with enact who regularly run sessions for young people on Enfield Island Village.

The Club have been endorsed by the Metropolitan Police, local schools and national sporting associations. They have won the Queen’s award for their activities in reducing crime and encouraging the take up of sport in Edmonton and elsewhere in Enfield.

They have also been extending the offer of the club to young people with disabilities and learning difficulties, improving the self esteem and physical health of these young people.

Key Facts: Nightingale Cancer Support

Funded since: 2011
Total amount funded: £210,000

Our Relationship to Nightingale Cancer Support

Nightingale Cancer Support is a growing and well respected charity in North London, providing support to individuals suffering from cancer as well as their families and carers. Formed in 2002, the charity works closely with health and social care providers to give training, counselling and advocacy to those who need it.

Since 2011 we have funded a variety of programmes, including:

  • Setting up a charity Shop on Baker Street
  • Night care services
  • Advice and support services
  • Training courses and complementary therapies

Key Facts: Enterprise Enfield

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Funded since: 2004
Total amount funded: £1.43 million

Our chairman, Gary Walker, presenting an award Inspiring Women, 2009

Our Relationship to Enterprise Enfield

Our relationship with Enterprise Enfield goes back to before the RSA Island Centre (let alone the RSA Trust) was developed. Our founding four trustees were all Board members of Enterprise Enfield and tasked with bringing the Main Machine Shop of the Royal Small Arms Factory back into use.

Since 2004 we have funded a variety of programmes, including:

  • Business Awards
  • Establishing a loan fund for start up businesses
  • Funding a newsletter
  • Starting up a women’s networking club

Our flagship funding scheme, the RSA Trust Inspiring Women programme was established in 2008 and has seen cohorts of women from Enfield undergo an intensive six month programme of coaching and support to either help them return to the workplace or to found their own businesses. This scheme has been so successful that it has attracted the attention of the European Union which has provided funding to open up the scheme to participants from Haringey and Waltham Forest! We have funded around £845,000 since 2008. One of the programme’s recent graduates went on to start a care agency and and now rents a unit at the RSA Island Centre, demonstrating the ethos of the RSA Trust perfectly.

We also provide £30,000 per annum for business counselling, open to all businesses in Enfield.

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The RSA Trust are pleased to announce that we have renewed our grants to Enterprise Enfield for the Inspiring Women Programme, for a ninth year, as well as funding for general business counselling. In total the RSA Trust is donating £120,000 this year to Enterprise Enfield. You can find out more about our relationship with Enterprise Enfield here. To apply to take part in the Inspiring Women programme please get in touch directly with Enterprise Enfield.

This September the RSA Trust also agreed to fund a sky ceiling at Villa Scalabrini in Hertfordshire for £17,500 and to sponsor a memorial bell for St. George’s Anglican Church in Ypres. The donation will allow the charity to add a dedication to the bell. The RSA Trust has chosen to dedicate the donation to the Workers of the Royal Small Arms Factory.