As we all adjust to the significant changes that have happened in all parts of our lives, including Scouting, during the last few weeks to keep our communities and ourselves as safe as possible, I wanted to update you on what has been happening in South East Scotland and how we have been adapting our Scouting to continue to support our members in the current challenging environment.
#SESSleepout and Keeping on Scouting
It was brilliant to join with so many young people and adult volunteers taking up the #SESSleepOut challenge and camping in our first ever Regional virtual sleepout. Between 11th and 19th April we saw tents and dens appearing in gardens and houses across South East Scotland as members showed that COVID-19 wasn’t going to stop them Scouting. We saw members young and not so young taking part in the challenges such as performing a flag break on your home made flag poles, designing virtual badges, walking 1907 steps wearing your necker and the #neckieflip challenge.
This event typifies the new and innovative ways that we have seen Scouting continue to be delivered across the Region and I want to thank all of you for the opportunities you continue to provide to young people to develop #skillsforlife, even in these difficult circumstances. Mike Treanor, our Scouting Support Officer continues to identify ideas to allow us to Keep on Scouting and you can find some of these on our regional website (https://sesscouts.org.uk/covid-19-programmes/)
Other Decisions and Actions
The Regional Leadership Team, the Regional Executive Committee and members of the Regional staff team have also been working hard to put in place measures to reduce risks relating to South East Scotland Scouts operations and to protect the health and wellbeing of our volunteers and staff team. A summary of some of the discussions and actions that have been taken are:
- Bonaly and Longcraig Scout Centres were closed on Wednesday 18th March and will remain closed until June 30th.
- The Regional Office is currently closed but can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Regional Executive Committee has appointed a small sub-group of Trustees to monitor the ongoing situation and feed in recommendations to the whole Regional Executive Committee. This group has met at least weekly since mid-March and continues to review the ongoing situation. In addition the Regional Executive Committee has added additional meetings in April and May to allow it to respond to the changing situation in a timely manner.
- The majority of the Regional staff have been furloughed to reduce staffing costs while we have no income coming in. Furloughed staff may not undertake any work for Scout East Scotland Scouts during their furlough. That includes work telephone calls and emails. Thus, with the exception of the Scouting Support Officer, please do not contact any Regional staff about any work related matters. This would put at risk our ability to gain financial support from the government. Friendly and sociable contact is absolutely fine.
- The Regional Leadership Team and Regional Executive Committee continue to review this work and also to discuss how we continue to support Scouting remotely at this time.
Training for leaders
While our delivery of adult training courses has stopped in person, please do remember that there are a range of resources available to us, to allow mandatory Safeguarding and Safety training to be completed online. For those new to Scouting or with perhaps some of your training modules to be completed, there are workbooks and e-learning options for some of the adult training modules. We would encourage people to look at what training is outstanding on Compass and to then check the helpful guidance provided by Mary Dick, Assistant Region Commissioner (Adult Training), to see what can be completed at this time.
We have had a number of questions from volunteers about how COVID-19 affects Subs, PVGs and trustee responsibilities:
- Subs: Groups and sections will want to discuss how to manage this best at a local level. The Regional Executive Committee has agreed to consider how to assist if asked by District Commissioners to do so.
- PVGs: The Scouts have stopped processing disclosures at this time because it’s difficult to effectively do identity checks. We’re also following the advice of Disclosure Scotland who are understandably prioritising people directly dealing with the coronavirus situation, and who need disclosures more urgently. No-one will be suspended because they don’t have a valid disclosure during the Coronavirus situation. Current volunteers whose disclosures expire can continue to meet digitally, following the advice and guidance issued on holding virtual meetings to make sure we keep everyone safe.
- Trustee Responsibilities: We have pulled together some information to help Executive Committees consider how they can best support Scouts locally during this time.
We know that these are challenging times for everyone as we get used to meeting up with our friends and family, remotely rather in person and juggle working and family time from home, so please do make sure that you are taking time for yourself as well as to do everything else. To assist all of our young and adult members, we have put together some key messages and online resources from a range of organisations.
When The Scouts asked our young people what they thought was the most important thing for them to take action on, top of their list was ‘peer support’. They told us that young people’s mental wellbeing is going to be disproportionately affected by the current coronavirus crisis, and yet it’s not being widely talked about. That why The Scouts launched #Threefor3. We are asking young and adult member to write (or draw) three things you’re doing to look after your mental wellbeing during this challenging time and share these ideas with three other people. Once you’ve shared your three things, the people you’ve shared with should share their own three things with you and three others, keeping the conversation about wellbeing going. You can do this with your family, friends and by tagging people on social media using #Threefor3
As always, I want to say a big thank you for everything you do for Scouting in South East Scotland and for the ways in which we are adapting what we do so that our young people can continue to enjoy Scouting.
Margery Naylor on behalf of all the members of the Regional Leadership Team
Scottish Charity Registration: SC010563