Shaping Scouting in South East Scotland

Edinburgh Engagement Workshop

September saw members from across the Region taking advantage of the opportunity to share their priorities for Scouting in South East Scotland and ideas for how the Region can best support its adult volunteers. Three events were held in Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian which allowed adult volunteers to meet others from across the Region as well as take part in a number of different activities designed to identify key areas of focus for Scouting in South East Scotland.

Midlothian Engagement Workshop

The Regional Leadership Team and the Regional Executive are very grateful to all those members who took time to contribute to these events, the output of which will feed into the work currently going on to agree the future priorities and structure of South East Scotland Region.

Whilst initially scheduled to only run through September, it has been agreed to add two further events to ensure that as many people as possible can contribute. The two additional events are:

In order to organise catering, if you plan to attend one of the events please register using the links above or contact Martin Elliot, Deputy Regional Commissioner at

Shape Scouting in South East Scotland

South East Scotland provides Scouting for more than 7,000 young people and this wouldn’t be possible without your help!

As they look at how to take the Region forward, the Regional Leadership Team and Regional Executive would like to hear your opinions and fresh ideas about how the Region can best support its 2,300 volunteers.

We will be holding a series of events and would like to invite all adult members, in uniformed or non-uniformed roles, to attend one of them to meet other leaders from across the Region and help to shape our strategy and structure going forward.

The events will be held across the Region on the  following dates:

We plan to run these events across the Region and hope to confirm the remaining venues in the coming days.

In order to organise catering, if you plan to attend one of the events please register using the links above or contact Martin Elliot, Deputy Regional Commissioner at

Finding new leaders

Finding new leaders


1st North Berwick Recruitment Event

To find new leaders we arranged a Scout Information evening; advertised it widely; showcased our Group and emphasised the need for more help; explained waiting lists; took details from those attending; followed up with information and offers of support.  We now have six new leaders, whose enthusiasm has invigorated our existing team and greatly strengthened our Group.


Like many Groups across the Region, we are always in need of new leaders, with increasing waiting lists and changes in circumstances of existing leaders, so we decided to launch a recruitment event in June 2017. We did this to help us continue to provide the exciting, adventurous Scouting that we already do deliver with our young people on a weekly basis, and also to support our leaders in their roles and help them sustain their commitment by sharing with others the load and privilege of being a leader.
So what did we do?

  • First, we called our event a Scout Information Evening, instead of a recruitment event, to encourage people to attend.
  • We contacted all our existing membership and waiting-list parents.
  • We used every social media outlet locally e.g. Facebook groups for primary and secondary schools, residential community groups, newsletters, church announcements, personal contacts.
  • We placed posters advertising the Information Event throughout the High Street and all high-traffic areas in our town.
The evening

We arranged the meeting in our Scout hall where we had fantastic displays from every section with amazing pictures of varied activities and experiences.  These were hugely appreciated and a great source of discussion to help illustrate what it is we do in Scouting and how we deliver it in our Group.

Many of our Group Executive  and leaders from every section attended in uniform and hosted tea and coffee on arrival so people could chat with leaders and Exec members in an informal way.

We had a slideshow ongoing through the start of the evening to demonstrate the huge range of experiences on offer.

Nearly 40 people attended, which surprised me, but equally I was thrilled, as we had no idea if anyone might turn up.

I did a short presentation about 1st North Berwick Group, what our young people thought about our Scouting, what we needed, what was the reality of a child on our waiting list ever getting into their section due to huge demand and the capacity of leaders to meet that demand. I was very open and honest about the reality and the needs we had, and stated that by becoming a leader or an exec member their child would be offered a place in recognition of the time and commitment they were willing to offer by agreeing to an appointment for a minimum of two years.

I was clear about how many leaders we hoped for and about our desire to open a new Beaver colony as that was where we had the largest waiting list and said that we wanted to increase our Scouting provision locally with parental or other adult support, by recruiting new leaders to support existing section leaders.  Some of our leaders and Exec members spoke about their role and why they got involved, and gave an honest insight into what being this meant to them.

I reassured everyone that they didn’t need a Scouting background or to be Bear Grylls but stated that they did need to have a willingness to work in partnership with young people in our community and to learn and try new things.

All who attended completed an information form with details about their child/children, and what they as adults could offer to help our group, with options of weekly to termly commitments, by running activities, helping with trips, admin support for sections, getting involved in our Exec.  This meant that afterwards we had a register of who was there and it also gave people a chance to consider what they could offer after the Information Evening.

The evening closed with a question-and-answer session.


Then the hard work began as everyone who attended was e-mailed and thanked for their interest. Those who couldn’t attend but had been in touch by phone or e-mail were also sent an information sheet to complete. The offers of help were varied and it took some time to analyse who could do what and when, and match what they could offer with what we needed as a Group.

Then those who specifically offered some assistance were invited to meet up again for a short meeting to explore their offers to see if we could turn them into a reality. A more detailed explanation was given about the Appointment process along with reassurance that training and support would be available regardless of the role undertaken.

Bottom line

The event with subsequent follow-up resulted in 8 new potential leaders being identified but two subsequently withdrew as their circumstances had changed, so we successfully recruited 6 new leaders who now help deliver our Scouting on a weekly basis plus one person on a fortnightly basis. Their enthusiasm and fresh perspectives have invigorated and supported the existing teams and 1st North Berwick Group has grown in strength, size and profile within our town. 

Hilary Cartwright GSL 1st North Berwick

Building the Future Together

Building the Future Together

On Jan 11 we held an event called ‘Building the Future Together’ for the Regional Leadership Team, the Regional Executive Committee and the Regional staff team. It is a serious topic, but nevertheless we had a great evening. ‘I think things are going to be different in the future and I can be part of it’, said Adam Bennett, Assistant Regional Commissioner (Youth Involvement).

Our objectives were to:

  • improve awareness, understanding and communication, between these different teams
  • share our understanding of the challenges, future direction, and strategy for our Region.

Over 50 people, including our President, Dick Allan, and two of our Vice Presidents, Ken Thomson and Douglas Allan, were present. Everyone fully joined in the complex and challenging ‘getting to know you’ exercises devised by Graeme Robertson. These included Who’s Who Bingo and Speed Dating. The comment most frequently heard was ‘I met people I didn’t know, even after all these years!’

Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner, outlined the Scottish Scouting Strategy 2018-23 which focuses on three pillars: People, Programme and Perception. The main aims of the national strategy are to improve support for leaders, extend adventurous activities for young people and improve the public’s perception of Scouting by us being more involved in our communities. She went on to explain what it meant for us and how we could all work together to develop Scouting in the Region over the next five years. She stressed the importance of the Districts coming forward with their own development plans because they would be the key drivers of the Regional strategy.

John Cannon, Regional Chair, talked initially about his first 100 days in the role and all that’s been going on. John then highlighted what he saw as the Regional Executive Committee’s priorities. He stressed that the role of the Executive members was to support the Regional strategy and summarised their activity under three headings: Governance, Infrastructure & Engagement. John felt there was a need to create a new overarching committee to lead the development of an infrastructure strategy with responsibility for developing our existing activity centres to meet the future needs of the Region, including supporting the 2018-23 strategy, and to find ways to support and promote further all our activities across the Region. John also believed they have work to do to encourage greater engagement across the Region and said he would be working with Martin Elliot to find ways to make this a reality.

Martin Elliot, Deputy Regional Commissioner (Adult Support), then followed John and spoke about the importance of engagement across the Region, emphasising his determination to develop effective communication and – as importantly – engagement within the Region, between all our members, young and older, emphasising the need to have engagement that is two-way, provides multiple communication channels and encourages members to be vocal.

We appreciated the displays set up by the Bonaly Centre and Longcraig ASUs and the detailed logistical work organising the evening, put in by so many people especially John Bruce. And we rounded off the evening with Diane Marshall thanking Graham Coulson for all his years as Deputy Regional Commissioner (Adults). Margery presented him with a gift to express our appreciation of the enormous contribution he had made to the Region, in his many roles.

At the end of the evening there was real buzz in the room with people agreeing that they had achieved greater awareness of members in other teams, an improved understanding of the challenges we face and a commitment to supporting actions to move the Region forward. We left thinking that Scouting in South East Region was going to be different – and more fun – from now on!

So, what will happen next? We will be working together to develop the Regional strategy and we will let you how you can get involved. We are also seeking volunteers to help with improving engagement and developing the infrastructure plan. If you interested or know of someone not currently involved in the Region that you think could help, please could you let Margery or John know.

Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner

Census 2016

We’re really pleased to announce that South East Scotland Region has grown once again this year, for the 7th consecutive time.  Regional membership now stands at 6,956 young people and 1,500 adult volunteers.

Continue Reading Census 2016

Developing Scouting

The report on our very successful Development Project is now available on this website.  In addition, we provide a selection of materials to help those wishing to develop Scouting in the Region by recruiting more adults, creating new sections or improving the quality of what happens in their Group or District.  To see what is available, look at the Development Resources section of the website.