Getting Everyone Back Together Safely in South East Scotland

Earlier this week, Scouts Scotland issued updated guidance to all members in response to the five COVID protection levels which have been brought in by the Scottish Government. We are aware that this updated guidance has led to some discussion about how this will affect us locally, particularly as parts of the Region are in different tiers.

Therefore, we thought it important to provide an update to all our members on what this means for Scouting in South East Scotland.

Within South East Scotland the majority of our districts are current under Tier 3 regulations with one, Borders, under Tier 2 – although as with everything at the moment, these are subject to continual review and may change. If you are not sure what tier you are currently in, you can use the Scottish Government’s postcode checker
It is important to note that as none of the Region is within Tier 4, all Districts within South East Scotland remain at Yellow readiness level at the current time and thus face to face Scouting, both indoors and outdoors, can be undertaken subject to an appropriate risk assessment being approved. However, the latest guidance does require some additional areas to be considered. 

As we have said throughout the pandemic, we want to be clear that there is no pressure to return to face to face Scouting until you want to. You know your young people, your adult volunteers and the other aspects that they have to consider and you know the limitations of your meeting place so we recognise that the decision on whether or not to meet face to face has to be made at the local level  (usually Group/Unit) and reflect what is best for member’s health and wellbeing. 

Scouting in all Tiers

For those groups which are meeting indoors, the guidance has been updated to specify that face coverings should be worn by people of all ages where they are moving about in corridors, confined communal areas (including toilets), and other areas of buildings where physical distancing is particularly difficult to maintain. Whilst they are not required in meeting spaces, they should be worn in any situation, indoors or outdoors, where social distancing of 2m cannot be maintained between adults, adults and all young people and between young people aged 12+.

Scouting in Tier 3

For those groups within Tier 3 who are meeting face to face, a fully blended model should be in place combining face to face and virtual meetings and the programme being run should be reviewed in detail to ensure that this is the case. To help us to Keep on Scouting we have pulled together some programme ideas which can be run virtually or socially distanced.

Whilst the maximum numbers remain at 30 (including young people and adults) you should consider what numbers are most appropriate for a section meeting and also consider reducing the length of meetings.

Travelling Between Tiers


We have had a few questions about adult volunteers moving between tiers for the purposes of delivering Scouting. Under the latest YouthLink Scotland guidance, as an essential part of the education system in Scotland, travel to and from Scouting youthwork activity is permitted to take place, even if it involves moving between local authority areas and tiers.

However, groups and sections are asked to limit travel for meetings and activities which involves moving between areas that have different protection levels. So, for example, we would ask that sections in the Borders do not travel to Bonaly Scout Centre for a meeting as this currently involves moving from Tier 2 to Tier 3.

Risk Assessments

The UK Framework for face to face activities remains unchanged and should continue to be followed for groups and sections looking to meet face to face. In particular, risk assessments should continue to be completed and submitted for approval to the relevant commissioner.

It is also important to remember that existing Risk Assessments should be regularly reviewed to ensure that they meet the current situation. They do not need to be resubmitted unless significant changes are made.

Further guidance on completing risk assessments including a model risk assessment can be found on the Getting Everyone Back Together Safely page of the Region’s website and Mike Treanor, our Scouting Support Officer, is also happy to help any members looking for guidance or support with the risk assessment process. Our upcoming November Newsletter will also have an article on Risk Assessments which covers the requirements in more detail.

We expect there to be further updates next week and ongoing as the situation develops so please look out for these from Scouts Scotland and SES Region.

Finally, in the current challenging times, we both hope that you and your families remain safe and want to take this opportunity to thank you all for everything that you have done and continue to do for Scouting in South East Scotland.

Simon Cocker and Martin Elliot, Acting Regional Commissioners



Reflecting on a Successful Scouting Year in South East Scotland

Reflecting on a Successful Scouting Year in South East Scotland

Given the challenges that recent months have thrown at us, it can be easy to overlook the many successes that have been achieved within South East Scotland Scouts over the last year. As we approach our Region’s Annual Review, it is a great opportunity to take time to reflect on these successes and acknowledge the hard work and dedication of so many volunteers and young people in achieving them. .  

Given the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the Regional Leadership Team and Regional Executive Committee have made the decision to hold our Annual General Meeting and Annual Review virtually this year. This is scheduled for Tuesday 13th October at 7pm and everyone is welcome to join us to take time to celebrate some of the many achievements from the last year. Further details of how to access the event will follow in due course.

In advance of the meeting I am pleased to share two documents with you:

  • Regional Annual Report 2019-20 – this 36 page document gives a comprehensive overview of what has been achieved across the Region including:
    • reports from the Regional Commissioner and Regional Chair,
    • a focus on Top Awards presented to our young people,
    • highlights from the 2019 World Scout Jamboree,
    • the 60th Gang Show
    • our recent Virtual camps

    as well as features on our Scout Centres at Longcraig and Bonaly. The report also includes updates on progress relating to our communications, training, adventurous activities and of course, our financial position.

  • Building Skills of Life Summary Report – this 4 page document gives an overview on how we have progressed against our three Strategic Pillars – People, Programme, Perception – and the Performance, Governance and Support which underpin them.

Whether you read one or both of these documents, I hope that you get a sense of how much has been achieved during 2019-20.  We have made further progress on each of the pillars of our strategy and we have an effective roadmap to ensure we meet the significant challenges we are facing in 2020-21, allowing us to continue this progress. All of our young people and adult volunteers should be very proud of their role in achieving this progress and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the role you play in actively engaging and supporting our young people in their personal development and in building skills for life.  

Happy reading

Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner, on behalf of all the members of the Regional Leadership Team


Scottish Charity Registration: SC010563

Reflecting on a Successful Scouting Year in South East Scotland

Getting Everyone Back Together Safely in South East Scotland

Last week, Scouts Scotland announced that the readiness level in Scotland was being reduced from Red to Amber and from what I am seeing and hearing across the Region, there is now a lot of discussion about what it means to be at Amber. Therefore, despite my plan to not send a message this month, we thought it important to provide an update to all our members on what this means for Scouting in South East Scotland.  

It is important for us all to be clear that restarting face to face Scouting is not going to be a simple process, but by supporting each other and working together, we will be able to meet together again. We will need to plan how we can offer activities safely, and what procedures we will need to put in place so that we can protect our members as we return to face to face Scouting. We will also need to contact parents and reassure them that any face to face activities will be carried out safely. 

Many of you have told me that you are worried about the work involved in completing the risk assessment process and getting it approved. I know from having written one that it seems an overwhelming task – but through utilising the support available both within the Region and from Scouting more widely one that all of us will be able to do. To help volunteers the Regional Leadership Team has now produced a model risk assessment for the Amber and Yellow stages and you can customise it for whatever activity you want to run. As we are in the Amber stage, the only activity that can be organised is a small, outdoor group activity of no more than 15 people, including leaders. One section has already prepared a risk assessment using the model and had it approved by their District Commissioner.

For me, the most important thing is that there is no pressure to return to face to face Scouting. You know your young people, you know the limitations of your meeting place, the ability of your leaders to be able to return and what your parents are willing to sign back up to. So continuing to offer a digital programme while we are at Amber is perfectly OK.

Please feel free to contact me or your District Commissioner if you want to discuss any issue. And I have also asked my two deputies, Martin Elliot and Simon Cocker, as well as Mike Treanor, our Scouting Support Officer, to look at how best the Regional Leadership team can support our districts, groups and sections and to ensure that all important information is communicated to members without filling inboxes – so please keep an eye on the Regional website and social media channels for further information, guidance and assistance about what being at Amber means for us in the coming weeks. Let any of us know your feedback and examples of best practice to share as well as any issues and concerns you may have.

Please be aware that volunteers throughout the Region are all working hard to make the process as straightforward as possible for everyone and so I would ask that you be patient with us if things aren’t moving as quickly as you would like.

We all really appreciate the work that so many of you are doing to prepare for restarting face to face Scouting. But do remember there is no rush to make any changes so, as I said in my June update, please do take a break and have some time for yourself over the Summer

Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner, on behalf of all the members of the Regional Leadership Team


Scottish Charity Registration: SC010563

Reflecting on a Successful Scouting Year in South East Scotland

A Message to Leaders and Adult Members from Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner

Normally at this time of year I would be wishing you all a well-deserved break over the Summer holidays – but this year has been anything but normal! We find ourselves unable to do many of the things we would usually do at this time of year – summer camps, face to face AGMs and end of term celebrations. But one thing I would encourage you to continue to do is to take a break and some time for yourself – even if you plan to provide some Scouting activities over the summer months. 

This is something I plan to do and am encouraging members of the Regional Leadership Team to do in the coming weeks.

#SESLongestDay Sleepout 

Murray from Cardrona all set for fun in the sun for #SESLongestDay SleepOut

Whilst we cannot hold our usual summer camps, we have continued to see members from across the Region taking part in virtual camps and last weekend we saw more than 1200 members joining in the #SESLongestDay SleepOut event. From the opening ceremony, with a special message from Sharkey, our Scottish Chief Commissioner, through the wide range of challenges and activities run throughout the event to the first Regional Virtual Campfire before everyone spent the night in their tents, hammocks and dens. It was a great privilege for me to close the event and reflect on a successful weekend. I would like to thank Mike Treanor, Martin Browne and the team for the work that they did organising the event and sharing so many moments from the event across our social media channels. It was also brilliant to see Youth Involvement at work with some of our Explorer Scouts and Scout Network involved in organising the event and giving a very powerful Scouts Own on Sunday morning. 

Lucas, 100th Pentland Barclay Cubs, joins in #SESLongestDay Sleepout

Virtual Camps still need Marshmallows!

Scouting For All

Over the last month, it has been hard to miss the worldwide anger and reaction following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. As our Explorers discussed in their Scouts Own for the #SESLongestDay, inclusion and respect are central to our Scouting values and so as Scouts we stand together against racism and all forms of discrimination. But we should not be complacent and the current movement challenges us to both reflect on how we put these values into practice and recognise that there are still more things that we can do. Inclusion is a central part of our current Regional Strategy, and despite the current situation, we continue to work towards making Scouting in South East Scotland more representative of our local communities. One way that I have been working to be better able to identify and challenge discrimination and reflect the Scouts values is to educate myself and I would encourage us all to read some of the Black Lives Matter resources collated by the Scouts as well as the resources provided for Scouts Pride 2020 which starts this Saturday.


Looking to the Future
As the current lockdown conditions are gradually eased, our thoughts start to turn to the future and the time when face to face Scouting can restart. This is something that the Regional Leadership Team and Regional Executive Committee are already thinking about and the framework released by UK Scouts this week provides greater clarity on how we will be able to restart. I would encourage all groups to review the framework and work with your executive committees to make sure that when face to face Scouting is allowed, you are in a position to complete the required approval process. It is important to remember that a group or section cannot undertake any face to face scouting activity until it is allowed by the current national readiness level and your plans and risk assessments have been approved by the relevant commissioner. We will be working closely with Districts and Groups to restart Scouting safely across the Region. Our number one priority is making sure that all our members are kept safe. If we don’t feel we can do that, we shouldn’t feel obliged to restart activities.

Whilst our Regional Centres remain closed, they are already thinking about the future too. I hope that you have had an opportunity to read the articles written by the Longcraig Active Support Unit in recent Regional Newsletters showing the work that the ASU have continued to do whilst they cannot meet and I was very pleased that the Regional Executive Committee this month authorised funding for the first stage of a project to improve the facilities at the centre. We are also working hard to review what Bonaly Scout Centre will look like post-lockdown and look forward to welcoming everyone back to both of our centres as soon as we can.

It has also been very encouraging to see so many of you looking to get ready for getting back to Scouting by participating in the virtual adult training which has been running during lockdown. We have now been able to run many of the Wood Badge training modules online as well as specialised events such as a recent forum for District Office Bearers. Many thanks to Mary Dick (ARC Adult Training) and her team of Regional Trainers as well as District Training teams for the work that they have done to adjust the training to run virtually in such short timescales.  


As I mentioned at the start, it is my hope that all of our members can take some time to relax and recharge over the summer holiday months and to lead by example, I will not be sending out a message in July. However, the Regional Leadership Team will continue to make sure that any developments are communicated to you all through our website, newsletter and social media channels.  

As the current restrictions continue to loosen, let’s hope we can begin to see more glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel. It continues to be a privilege to lead such an amazing group of volunteers and on behalf of all our members I would like to thank you for all that you do for Scouting in South East Scotland.  

Keep well and keep safe.

Margery Naylor on behalf of all the members of the Regional Leadership Team


Scottish Charity Registration: SC010563

Reflecting on a Successful Scouting Year in South East Scotland

An Update to Leaders and Adult Members from Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner

Martin Luther King said that “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge.”
As Regional Commissioner I am very proud of how South East Scotland Region have responded to the ongoing challenges as we have seen volunteers finding new and innovative ways to keep on Scouting during the current suspension of face to face activities.

Keeping on Scouting

Following the success of the #SESSleepOut challenge, we have continued to see members of Scouting from across the Region joining in virtual events and coming up with different ways to take part in the Game of Scouting while unable to meet together.

Hike to the Moon saw youth members from all sections along with adult volunteers hiking a mile at home or as part of their daily exercise to raise money for the Big Night In Appeal. Well done to all our members who took part and helped Scouts to smash their target of £240,000 (£1 for every mile to the moon). We also saw many members taking part in Jamboree on the Trail earlier this month. JOTT usually involves hiking as a group, but whilst we could not do this this year many Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers, Network and adult volunteers joined in the lockdown JOTT by donning their necker and going for a walk on their own or with their family. It was brilliant to see all of the photographs shared on Social Media as Scouting continued to join us together even whilst we cannot meet in person.

Rhys, 114th Braid, takes part in Hike to the Moon

Hilary, East Lothian District Commissioner, joins in JOTT

It has also been great to see groups and districts running events. I know that Craigalmond District were disappointed to have to cancel their district wide Really Big Camp due to the lockdown but was very impressed to see the Virtual Really Big Camp run instead with more than 500 members of the district joining camping in their gardens or in dens and taking part in the challenges including a necker walking trail and a special video challenge set by District Commissioner Mark Hesketh. I followed the event on social media over the weekend and loved seeing what our adults and young people produced as did Sharkey, our Scottish Chief Commissioner, who sent a special message to those who took part in the event.

Last weekend, Midlothian District ran their #MidJam event with young people from all sections camping over the weekend and taking part in a huge variety of challenges set by the organising team, including throwing a teabag into a mug from the furthest distance and making a sandwich with one hand. A particular highlight was the virtual campfire with contributions from young people and leaders from across the district.

These are just a small selection of the events and activities that have been going on to allow members to keep on Scouting during lockdown and I want to thank all of you for the opportunities you continue to provide to young people, even in these difficult circumstances. Mike Treanor, our Scouting Support Officer continues to identify ideas to allow us to Keep on Scouting and the newly updated Programmes page is available on the Regional website.

Keep an eye out for an exciting Regional event coming up with a Solstice Sleep Out being planned for 20th June. More details will be coming out soon!     

Continuing to Support Adult Volunteers

As well as continuing to support the young people in our sections across the Region, the COVID-19 lockdown hasn’t stopped us continuing to support our adult volunteers with many activities which would have been provided face to face moving to a virtual version. A few of the many examples of this are:

  • The first running of virtual wood badge training. Many thanks to Mary Dick (ARC Adult Training) and her team of Regional Trainers who ran the first module virtually and now have a programme of modules being provided in the coming weeks. Please see the Regional training calendar for upcoming sessions.  
  • Virtual Appointment Advisory Committees. This month’s Regional Newsletter included an excellent article on how Districts are starting to move their AACs online. 
  • Executive Committees. Many district and group executive committees as well as the Regional executive committee are now meeting virtually and continuing to fulfil their duties as trustees.
  • Longcraig. I have been very impressed with how Malcolm Leckie, Ian Harrower and the Longcraig Active Support Unit continue to work on supporting each other and our Regional Centre even whilst they cannot meet together including weekly update e-mails, fortnightly virtual ASU meetings, promotion of virtual watersports material and planning recruitment and fundraising activities.


Last month, I highlighted the importance of taking care of our mental wellbeing and the Scouts #Threefor3 campaign. Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week and we saw this highlighted across the Region’s Social Media channels. As part of this we saw some members sharing their #Threefor3 actions to look after their mental health during the lockdown and then nominate 3 others to do likewise. I was nominated by Graeme Robertson, Vice Chair of the Regional Executive, so thought I would share my #Threefor3 with you here:

  1. Contact family members every day
  2. Go for a walk every day
  3. Think of one thing to be grateful for every day.

I hope that you and your families stay safe and as ever I want to thank you all for everything that you have done and continue to do for Scouting in South East Scotland.

Margery Naylor on behalf of all the members of the Regional Leadership Team


Scottish Charity Registration: SC010563

An Update to Leaders and Adult Members from Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner

An Update to Leaders and Adult Members from Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner

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 (     

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
  • 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.

Interim Arrangements

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