Hello fellow members in Scouting!
South East Region continues to be a success story – by every measure. It has never been stronger or been making more of an impact. And this is because of our volunteers. So, I would like to start by thanking everyone – because all of you have made such a positive contribution to supporting the work of the Region, the Districts and within the Groups. Thank you in particular to our leaders for how well you provide fun and adventurous activities for our young people. That’s what Scouting is all about and that’s what we do in South East Region!
Our Annual Report reflects the activities within the Region and all that we have achieved together over the past year. It has been a busy and rewarding time. Our Annual Report, which is on your chairs, sets out many of the details of what has been happening, including the regular meetings, visits, camping –including international camps, (Diane Marshall can tell you all about the 12 International camps this year and our full quota of young people going to the World Scout Jamboree) and not forgetting the Gang Show, working at the Tattoo, and Youth Involvement including gaining the Regional Youth Involvement Award. And thank you, Judith Wood, for getting it printed so beautifully – and cheaply!
So rather than me talking about our activities, I will focus on the highlights of what we have achieved so far and then talk about the future of Scouting in South East Region:
- We now have a full Regional Leadership Team with District Commissioners in every District: Douglas Allan in Borders, John Hannah in East Lothian, Mark Hesketh in Craigalmond, Rob Whitelaw in East North East Edinburgh, Keith Bryce in Pentland, Judith Wood in Braid, and Martin Browne in Midlothian. This is a major achievement and will, I know, ensure that Scouting goes from strength to strength, and will be fun and will be safe for young people in the coming year. Our District Commissioners are the engine room of Scouting in our Region, and they work tirelessly – as I know from getting emails last thing at night, middle of the night, and first thing in the morning. I don’t in the least mind this – I really admire their commitment! All 7 Districts have continued to provide exciting opportunities for our young people. Outdoor activities have featured heavily with camping and residential experiences still a firm favourite.
- We also have almost a full team of Deputy Regional Commissioners, Assistant Regional Commissioners and Regional Advisers. Some of them may not be well known to you, so I have listed them at the back of the Annual Report. Some of them will be very well known to you, especially Diane Marshall and Martin Elliot, our Deputy Regional Commissioners. I do appreciate all that our team members do, both in high profile roles and also – and as importantly – behind the scenes. It would be wrong to single out any of them, except I do want to acknowledge two people: Mary Dick, our ARC Adult Training and Russell Shoulder, our Safeguarding Awareness Coordinator. Together, they ensure that our leaders are well trained and are running Scouting activities in a safe and responsible way. And we provide all mandatory training free of charge in our Region.
However, we do need more Assistant Regional Commissioners to support the work in sections, so if any of you are near retirement and need something to fill your time – or just need more to do, please come and see me after the AGM! This as an opportunity to make a real impact in Scouting in the Region.And looking at how the Regional Leadership Team can support Scouting, I would like to welcome Lawrence Mitchell and Bruce MacDonald in their specialist roles of promoting adventurous activities such as mountaineering, hill walking, kayaking, sailing, and rafting – and organising all the permits needed by leaders. They have, between them, doubled the number of Regional Assessors for adventurous activities permits.
Now – talking of water activities leads me to onto Longcraig.
- Longcraig Water Activities Centre is flourishing, after a difficult time in 2017. Thanks to the hard work and enormous time commitment of the 40 or so volunteers members of the Active Support Unit led by Malcolm Leckie, they have provided sessions for over 1,000 young people in 2018, along with supporting the annual Scottish Scout regatta at Lochgoilhead.
We have also worked hard with the Regional Executive Committee to analyse and improve the services offered at Bonaly Scout Centre. With the help of John Bruce and the Regional staff, we are planning strengthen the role it plays now – and can play in the future.
- Based on this analysis, we are developing a staffing structure that can offer real support to our leaders. So, I am truly delighted to be able to let you know that the Regional Executive Committee has agreed to fund a Scouting Support Officer to support the work that is done by leaders and all our adult volunteers, day by day, week by week, year in and year out, such as running meetings, managing camps, and organising fundraising events. This person, who will be recruited as soon as possible, must have an in-depth knowledge of Scouting and be able to promote the recruitment and retention of new leaders.
- And why is recruitment important? Because we are the victims of our own success as a Region! Already we have over 2,000 adults and over 7,000 young people involved in Scouting. This is nearly 1,000 more young people and a 75% increase in adults since 2013. In every section we have increased our numbers, particularly Explorers whose numbers have grown in 2018 by nearly 30% to about 700 Explorers.
But we now have over 1,000 young people on our waiting lists who want to join in the fun and excitement in our sections. So, our task over the next year in 2019 is to work together with our current leaders to assist in the recruitment and training of new leaders and volunteers. We have worked hard in this first year as a new Regional Leadership Team to set in place the building blocks for sustained growth and development – now we want to make it happen.
- The future in 2019. It is very exciting that every District has produced a development plan for what their leaders want to happen in 2018-19. Based on these 7 plans, and the recent Engagement sessions recently held across the Region, we have developed a draft Regional Strategy for 2018-23 for our work with young people. I have put some copies on the table at the side and you are welcome to take them away or download it from our website.
Our Regional Strategy follows the national UK and Scottish long term strategies in focusing on the three pillars – People, Programme and Perception. But overall, our strategy focuses on the recruitment of new leaders because that is the main challenge for us all. And we would welcome any comments you have about the Strategy.
So, we look forward to next year when we can encourage Scouting in our Region – for example, we plan to set up a Regional Awards Advisory Group and then double the number of awards to members who have given so much to young people.
- Thank you to all our leaders and supporters. I would like to conclude by affirming that Scouting is successful in our Region because of the dedication of our leaders and supporters, who are all volunteers. Your time, talents, skills and sense of humour make you a real asset to this Region. I want to say, on behalf of all the young people in Scouting in our Region, ‘Thank you’ to all our leaders and volunteers who have given so much to providing the very best of Scouting over the last year – and will do so again, next year!
It’s been a privilege for me to have been the Regional Commissioner over the last 12 months. Challenging but definitely rewarding, so thank you to everyone within the Region for your support.
I’d like to end by particularly thanking Diane Marshall, Brian Morrison, Graeme Robertson and Martin Browne for organising the Annual Review. A huge amount of time, energy and thought has gone into it. So over to Martin Elliot to chair the Annual Review.
Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner