Scouting For & Shaped by Young People – Regional Commissioner’s Update

Scouting For & Shaped by Young People – Regional Commissioner’s Update

This term it has been great to be able to get out and join groups and districts across the Region as they run events, camps and adventurous activities and to see young people gaining #SkillsForLife and most importantly having fun!

Thank you to all of the adult volunteers who have invited me to events and I look forward to continuing to get out and about more now that we can.

I have also enjoyed getting to attend a number of Annual General Meetings (AGMs) recently, seeing the great ways that volunteers across South East Scotland have kept on Scouting in the challenging times that we are going through and to get the chance to thank them, either in person or virtually, for all that they do. 

We recently held our Regional AGM which highlighted some of our successes over the year and if you haven’t already, I would encourage you to watch our 2020-21 Highlights video and to read our Regional Annual Report 2020-21.

Youth Shaped Scouting

In my report to the AGM I spoke about some of the areas that I will be working with the Regional Leadership Team and Regional Executive Committee on as we take forward our Regional Strategy. One of the areas that I spoke about was Youth Involvement. We already have good examples across the Region of how young people shape their Scouting experience but there are always ways that we can increase engagement. 

This month saw Scouting release its new YouShape award, which is one way that we are working to make it easier to have a programme that is youth shaped whilst providing another way for young people from all sections to have an opportunity to develop important skills that will help them in their future life. Looking at how we ensure that young people have opportunities to shape their Scouting experience is an important part of the UK Scouts and Scouts Scotland Skills For Life Strategies and is one of my priorities as we continue to look at taking the Region forward. We have already taken steps to do this with involving young people in our recruitment processes and in the selection process for the World Scout Jamboree being just two examples but we recognise that there is still more to be done.

To help us to develop our youth involvement I am looking for a small number of volunteers – young and not so young – to join a short term working group to focus on this subject. If you are interested in this please e-mail me at

One way that our young people’s voices can be heard is through Scout Scotland’s elected Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) who represent the views of our youth members at the Scottish Youth Parliament. I am extremely proud that all three candidates for the MSYP elections are South East Scotland Scouts members. I would like to offer huge congratulations to Avery, Niamh and Ewan for this achievement and thank them for being prepared to represent members of Scouting across Scotland in this important role. I wish all three the best of luck for the campaign and would encourage young people and adult volunteers to participate in the upcoming hustings. Find out more about the candidates and sign up for the hustings here.

We have also seen great youth involvement in our top awards with more than 250 young people gaining Gold, Silver and Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Awards during the recent expeditions run by the SEEE team – in the words of one participant said it was “Great to look back and see what you have accomplished”. I would also like to congratulate Edward Maxfield on being the second young person in South East Scotland Region to achieve the Scout of the World Award – a great example of Youth Involvement in action!

25th World Scout Jamboree

One of the examples I gave earlier was the upcoming World Scout Jamboree. In Summer 2023, more than 40,000 Scouts from all over the world will gather in Korea. 

The Unit Leadership Team for Unit 8 (made up of South East Scotland Region and GirlGuiding) has now been appointed and I was pleased to meet with Unit Leader Steven Maclennan and Regional Adviser (International) Simon Innes to begin looking at how we best support the unit contingent. 

We were all in agreement that it was important that we ensure that young people who are going to get the most from attending are able to participate regardless of background or circumstances and Simon and I will be working with the Regional Executive Committee to look at how we can remove any barriers to participation. 

If you know of young people who may be interested in being part of our contingent please encourage them to attend one of the unit’s upcoming roadshow webinars to find out more about the Jamboree and how they can become part of the unit. They can sign up for these here 


As we look to the future I look forward to seeing our newest section give more young people the opportunity to get involved. Good luck to the 25th Braid and the 21st Craigalmond groups as they start to establish the first Squirrel dreys in the Region. 

I finished our Regional AGM by recognising that while it has been a very challenging year we should all be very proud of what has been achieved in South East Scotland over the last year and as we look forward to the possibilities that the future offers us I shared these words from Bear Grylls. Thank you all for everything that you have done for Scouting in the Region and I am very excited for what the future holds for us.

Best wishes,


Martin Elliot
Regional Commissioner 

Adults can develop #SkillsForLife Too! 

Adults can develop #SkillsForLife Too! 

When UK Scouts launched their new strategy in 2018 they decided to call it Skills for Life emphasising the Scouts’ desire to ensure that as many young people as possible have opportunities to develop skills which will help them to enjoy the best possible future. 

But it isn’t just our young people who can develop Skills for Life through involvement with Scouting. Scouting is also dedicated to supporting our adult volunteers to continue to develop their skills, both to ensure the best possible experience for our young people but also to provide opportunities for our adult volunteers.

That is why we have the Scouts’ Adult Training Scheme, which is made up of mandatory, role specific and ongoing learning and builds on your existing skills and knowledge. This means that the training each volunteer completes is tailored to your specific requirements, with the development of a Personal Learning Plan crucial to identify what learning is required and what existing experience can be used to validate required modules.

This applies to me too as I work towards my Regional Commissioner wood badge and, like many of you, I recently met with my Training Adviser to put together my Personal Learning Plan which included validating some of my training requirements based on prior experience but also identifying learning opportunities which would be beneficial to me in my new role. As a result I now have a plan on how I can work towards completing my wood badge.

I know that there is concern amongst many volunteers about the upcoming transition date of 30 September 2021 by which all adult volunteers who have been in role for 3 years or more are required to have completed their wood badge training so I want to take this opportunity to reiterate the message that Mary Dick, Assistant RC (Adult Training) made in her June update that the Regional priority will be on supporting those who still have to complete their wood badge training rather than sanctions. As part of this we will be continuing to run modules over the summer months so keep an eye on the Regional training calendar and social media for upcoming opportunities.

It is important to note that we there have been a number of important achievements already this year:

  • compliance for Safety and Safeguarding mandatory ongoing training now at 97% from 91% at the start of the year – really close to hitting the national target of 98%
  • 255 leaders from across the Region completing the new module 10A First Response Online Theory module
  • most wood badge modules available virtually with many running at full capacity with waiting lists
  • additional workshops provided to focus on:
    • risk assessments
    • premises safety
    • supporting adult training
    • training advisers

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the Region’s training provision, in particular Mary, as ARC, and Diane Winnard who did so much work supporting the new First Aid training as well as the Regional Trainers who have put a lot of work into providing engaging training opportunities for all volunteers.

We are not resting on our laurels though and Mary and I are looking at how we can continue to improve the training provision within the Region and expand the non-wood badge training provided e.g. Mental Health training so keep an eye on Regional communications in the coming months for updates. We also always welcome feedback on the Region’s training provision so please feel free to contact either Mary or me.


Whilst we are gradually seeing Scouting within the Region returning to normal this still doesn’t feel like a normal end of term. However, I hope that all of you are able to take some time over the coming months to rest and recharge batteries. The work that you have done to support Scouting within the Region over the past 12 months has been amazing and is hugely appreciated by me and by the young people who have been able to enjoy opportunities for Scouting in challenging times.

I would like to add my personal thanks to two members of the Regional team who are stepping back from their roles at the end of this term. Simon Cocker, is moving to North Yorkshire so will be stepping down as Deputy Regional Commissioner and Mike Treanor is retiring as the Region’s Scouting Support Officer. Both have been key to the Region’s success in recent years and provided important leadership to Scouting in South East Scotland. For me personally, they have both been a huge support as I have taken on the RC role and I know that their influence will continue to be felt by the Region long after they step down.

I will be taking my own advice so there won’t be an update in July but the Regional Communications team will be working hard to keep you up to date on what is happening across the Region so keep an eye on our communication channels.

Best wishes,


Martin Elliot
Regional Commissioner

Scottish Charity Registration: SC010563

New Year Update from our Acting Regional Commissioners

As we start the New Year we wanted to take this opportunity to again thank you for everything that you continue to do for all of our young people and for your communities and also look forward, with hope, to the year ahead.

Currently Scouting across Scotland, including for South East Scotland Scouts, is at Red Readiness level which means online delivery only. We know that programme planning for online delivery is challenging, but there are some excellent resources available to help you here:

The Red Readiness level will be reassessed as soon as the Scottish Government reviews the situation for schools and we will continue to make sure that you are kept up to date with the current status. For those of you who were planning a return to face-to-face Scouting, you can continue to press ahead with getting risk assessments approved for when we revert to amber or yellow, so you will be ready when restrictions are eased. As we have emphasised throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no pressure to do more than you feel able to and please do reach out to your Group Scout Leader, District team or the Regional team if you require any support.

January is Census time and this year is going to be different to normal. Given the different ways that we have had to operate over the past year, it is important that we understand who is still a member, whether they are currently active or are likely to return. One thing that isn’t different is the importance that all Groups and Districts recognise the need for promptly entering all required Census data and we are grateful for your continued support with this task.

Whilst 2020 was a very challenging year, there were still many highlights. One of them was the innovative new ways people found to continue Scouting, in particular the Virtual Camps run by both the Region and by individual Districts and Groups. It was great to see so many of our young people (and adult volunteers) taking part, undertaking the various challenges and sharing their experiences and photos on social media.  Given the positive feedback, we are planning another SES Virtual Camp to coincide with the Easter Weekend – look out for more details soon.

It’s great to see lots of initiatives being planned for later in the year when hopefully we are back to being able to meet face to face. Examples of this are:

  • 149 Explorers planning their Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions,
  • Scouting Top Awards being signed up for
  • Bonaly Scout Centre open for bookings.

Once again, we want to thank all of you who do so much, week in and week out, to support our young people and make South East Scotland Scouts what it is – a place where we are proud to say we provide young people at all levels with fun, adventure and skills for life.

We look forward to a much happier 2021.

Simon Cocker and Martin Elliot, Acting Regional Commissioners

Scottish Charity Registration: SC010563

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