Handbells, Handchimes or Belleplates®
Handbells may be available within your local church or school. Make some enquiries locally and talk to people who have been in the area for a long time to see if there is a tradition of handbell ringing. If you do find an old set they may well need to be refurbished.
If you can't find any instruments, you may have to buy new and you may need help with finance. Bells are the most expensive option and you can get quotations for various sized sets from suppliers.
Chimes are less expensive and lighter in weight - again the handbell suppliers can quote for these. Belleplates® are the newest addition to our range of instruments and are the least expensive. They are lightweight and ideal for older people or young children.
Go along to a handbell rally or event , listen to the differences and talk to the ringers before deciding.
Somewhere to practice
Village and church halls are the most popular but if you have a large house then this will be the least expensive option. You will need tables too - the folding Go-Pack type are ideal - although paste tables will get you started.
Foam or padding
Particularly if you are using bells, you will need to protect them from contact with the table. 3 or 4 inch deep medium density foam can be bought from foam suppliers - check your local Yellow Pages.
There is a lot of handbell music now available from a range of suppliers - but most is protected by Copyright so don't be tempted to photocopy music. HRGB has a scheme called Music for All that publishes inexpensive music ideal for beginners.
You will need to match the range of your bells to the music so ask advice from someone who understands and reads music - even if you decide later to convert it into your own format.
You will often find that the church is a good source of ringers - and so might the school be. Advertise in the local paper and, when you have enough interest, for a group and register it with HRGB.