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Cheshire Scouts Newsletter 24 May 2020

Date: 24th May 2020 Author: Dave Hopley

Cheshire Scouts Newsletter
24 May 2020

This week we asked our County Commissioner, Graham Phillips to check on his inbox to discover the most frequently asked questions that he has had to deal with over the last 10 days. Below are the most frequently asked questions and his reply to each question.

Could you be our next County Youth Commissioner?

We are looking for individuals aged 18-24 to work as part of the Team Cheshire as our next County Youth Commissioner!

You will support adults and empower young people to achieve great things and help work towards our Vision 2023.

Could this be you, or do you know a great people person with super communication skills?

If so, please contact Deputy County Commissioner Dave Hopley

Click here to see the role.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Gilwell sending reminders to people about their DBS running out when we can’t process them currently?

Gilwell decided at the start of the current crisis to suspend the DBS process to reduce strain on resources and Gilwell, where over 50% of the staff are currently furloughed and local police forces who are required to check applications. It has however not been possible to change the automatic process built into compass, which generates these emails. Anybody who receives one of the emails about renewing a DBS can for the time being ignore the email but please be aware that at a point in the future it will have to be renewed. As a temporary measure a current DBS is being carried forward until it is possible to process them again.

We are trying to provide online meetings but not getting a very good response, which is very disheartening for the leaders who are putting time and effort into the sessions, what should we do?

It is really important that everybody appreciates that we are only at week nine of this crisis and adapting Scouting to a home delivery model is always going to be challenging. The fact that some members are not responding could be that they don’t have enough computer equipment in the household. There are reports that home schooling means that children are spending virtually all day in front of a computer and are therefore not motivated to undertake Scouting on a computer if it’s offered. Equally there are some really good examples of groups and sections in Cheshire who are getting very good engagement with online meetings. Over the next few weeks we will organise a County webinar and bring together some groups who are having success with online meetings so they can explain what they’ve been doing and share best practice. So keep watching Cheshire Scouting News for the date of this webinar.

Pictured below: Cubs from 3rd Frodsham made kites on Thursday

When can we start face-to-face scouting again?

If only I had a crystal ball! Nationally the current thinking is that face-to-face Scouting will only resume in September of this year, although leaders need to be aware that there is also a discussion around the possibility that it might be delayed until 2021. Clearly a decision on resuming face-to-face Scouting will be based on guidance offered by the government along with specific risk assessments in relation to face-to-face Scouting. I need to underline that the rule on no face-to-face Scouting remains in place and until this is lifted by Gilwell you cannot hold any activity that involves young people or a group of leaders in anything that is (or looks like) face to face Scouting. This includes charity activity such as collecting or delivering food, any face-to-face fundraising activity, any work parties in headquarters etc. The only exception to this rule is an individual leader who voluntarily checks the headquarters building on a regular basis to maintain effective insurance cover and those undertaking this role must make sure that their DC is aware of the situation.

Why is there so much pressure to get training completed?

The only pressure around training being completed currently relates to the completion of mandatory training, in particular safeguarding, safety and GDPR. Many of these modules have been outstanding on individual records for a considerable amount of time and there is considerable pressure from Gilwell to make sure this training is completed. Over two thirds of all adults involved in Scouting in Cheshire have completed all of these modules, each module takes between 20 and 40 minutes to complete and by completing the training modules it will significantly help to reduce the risk to Scouting in Cheshire.
On Wood badge training we have moved nearly all the modules to online sessions and there are record numbers attending these, in fact the demand is so great additional sessions are being added.

Is it true that executive members now have to do training?

Yes. All executive committee members (Group, District, County executive committee members) are now required to complete some minimum training. This includes module 1e (available as an online training session offered by the county training team) plus safeguarding, safety and GDPR. It is important to remember that an executive committee member is also a trustee of the charity and therefore the view at Gilwell was that they should be provided with some training to help them fulfil their role, including their legal responsibilities as a trustee. As we approach AGM time is important that those who already have these roles complete this training because without it they cannot stand again without the completed training. New members to the executive committee are required to complete this training within six months of their appointment.

We are concerned about losing youth members and leaders as this current situation continues?

A number of leaders have raised these issues, which is something the DC’s and County Team have discussed over the last couple of weeks. We are working on a strategy to support both the retention and recruitment of both adults and youth members. As we start to explore ideas on how we can achieve the aim of more leaders and more young people you will have an opportunity to feed your ideas into the process. Again I would just ask people to remember that we are only at week nine of this current crisis and Scouting is evolving and developing, there are already some examples from around the UK where membership is actually growing. Watch this space.

There is really good advice issued by Gilwell on

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls