AGM 2018 – Regional Commissioner’s Speech

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:

  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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 Outdoor 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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


AGM 2018 Regional Chair’s Report

Firstly, my apologies for not being at the AGM in person!  I’m very disappointed that I can’t be with you tonight, but doctor’s orders have meant I have had to take a back seat. I do hope to be out and about very soon, but the expression “it’s as easy as falling off a bike” doesn’t hold true for getting back on again! Especially when fractured ribs are involved!

In terms of my first year as Chair, I’m delighted to say the year to March 2018 has seen another very successful year for Scouting in the South East Scotland Region. With over 7000 young people and 2000 adults it’s heartening to see we are in good health. The membership stats in the annual report make great reading and my thanks go to everyone  involved whether directly or indirectly with making the game of scouting so relevant for our young people in South East Region.

It has also been a year of change, with a new Regional Commissioner having been appointed during the year, along with a number of other changes to the membership of the Regional Executive Committee.

Most notably we have a new Secretary, John Bruce, a new Treasurer, Malcolm Cutt, and Graeme Robertson has agreed to be vice-chair (None of us expected he would be chairing the AGM I bet!)

I would like to thank the members of Regional Executive and the various sub committees for their commitment and enthusiasm in attending regular meetings to ensure we set and monitor the business strategy for the Region as well as providing appropriate governance for all that we do as a Region. I’m also delighted that Euan McFadzean our Regional Youth Commissioner was co-opted on to the Executive this year, making sure our youth involvement extends to this committee.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Colin Hyslop for his work in the role of Treasurer before stepping down at the end of last year and also to Brian Muir and Jill Barrow who have indicated a desire to step down from the Regional Executive at this time. They have all made significant contributions to our governance, bringing expertise and dedication to their roles.  I’m delighted to note that Jill will be continuing to provide support through her membership of the Finance committee and Brian will ensure there is a smooth handover to a new chair of the Risk Committee. Finally I would like to thank John Watt  as he steps down from the Finance committee for his significant contribution over a number of years.

Many of you will be aware that a new sub-committee, ‘Infrastructure’, has been put in place for the coming year and will be tasked with developing proposals for the longer-term investment in our outdoor centres and activity provision across the Region.  The group are due to present their initial proposal of ideas at the next Executive at the end of October.

I said at the outset, this has been a year of change and you should also be aware that our Regional Operations Manager, Gillian Fraser resigned in April giving us an opportunity to review our staffing structures. We also felt it important to seek views from our leaders and supporters on what support they would like to see from the Region in the future so that we can consider how we achieve that through our future staff and volunteer structures.  I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Gillian for all that she has done while in the role of Regional Operations Manager.

We agreed to take the proper time to do this review, and I was delighted that John Bruce agreed to step into an interim Centre Manager role, to allow us space to conduct this review with the input from our staff, leaders and other volunteers.  My thanks go to John, the staff team, the ASU team, the duty wardens and all the activity instructors who have not only kept things happening at Bonaly, but also made some immediate improvements to the overall customer experience there. A special word of thanks goes to Yvonne Yule who volunteered to spend her days off during the summer in the Bonaly office to lend her support!

In terms of progress with our structural review, I’m pleased to report that after consulting with a number of people including leaders, staff members and other volunteers, a paper will be going to the Regional Executive at the end of October to seek approval on a structure that we believe will be sustainable, affordable and will meet the needs of the Region. Watch this space!

As a Regional Executive, we also look forward to supporting our Regional Strategy for 2018-23 and the work we have done this past year sets us up well to do this.  I’m conscious much of my time this year has focused on Bonaly, the staff structure and coping with the changes in the Regional Executive.   It’s also been a busy time working with the Longcraig team on a number of operational matters and I’m pleased to report that lots of progress has happened this past year to enable an ongoing positive dialogue with the Dalmeny estate about securing a longer-term lease that meets the needs of all stakeholders. I also wanted to say another thank you to all at Longcraig for the taster event they hosted for the Exec and leadership team in June. – It was really well organised and clearly enjoyed by all present.

So with all that has happened this past 12 months, I look forward to next year and building on all that I have been involved with and finding some time to engage more with the District Executive teams in particular.

Margery and I have been keen this year to engender and develop a sense of being part of “One South East Scotland Region” so you should know we have been reviewing our engagement and communication approaches to ensure we are connecting everyone across the Region to deliver the game of scouting in an inclusive and supportive way.  Work has begun on our website and use of social media, so again watch this space for further developments.  The feedback we have received from our Engagements sessions has also been very helpful and we will share the high level themes that have been emerging and also how we might all work together to keep doing what we do well and bring about some improvements where needed.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank again all the Trustees and other individuals who have given generously of their time to support me and the work of the Regional Executive during the year.  I would also like to say a personal thank you to Margery, John B, Malcolm and Graeme for all their support this past year and to Dick, Ken and Douglas for their ongoing help and advice.

John Cannon – 10th October 2018

Scouting Support Officer

Could you be our Scouting Support Officer?


We are looking for an enthusiastic and experienced person to support our leaders


£26,000 – 28,000 p.a.
Two year fixed term commencing from January 2019

Could you be our Scouting Support Officer, or do you know someone who could be?

We are looking for an enthusiastic and experienced individual to support leaders in the Region. This person will assist in promoting the recruitment and retention of new leaders and developing Scouting programmes and activities at the grass roots. The role requires you to have experience of Scouting or a similar uniformed organisation. You will work closely with existing Scout leaders and structures and provide sustainable support for them. Home based, you will be a self-starter and an excellent communicator. You will be responsible to the Regional Commissioner.

We have a thriving membership of adults and young people in our Region – over 2,100 adults and 7,200 young people. The young people are members of the Explorer, Scout, Cub and Beaver sections. Our leaders and the Regional Leadership Team are all volunteers and work incredibly hard to support the membership.

Why we are recruiting a Scouting Support Officer:  We wish to support leaders and assist them in maintaining and developing Scouting in the Region. This person will assist us to recruit and support more adult leaders. We have made significant progress with a re-invigorated Regional Leadership Team and there is a great deal more that we want to accomplish, particularly to ensure that young people can have more opportunities for adventurous activities, since we know that this is the biggest attraction for young people.

How to apply

Applications should be returned by email to Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner, South East Scotland Region Scouts, at

The closing date for return of applications is 5pm on Wednesday 21 November 2018.  Interviews will be held in Edinburgh on Saturday 8 December 2018.

For further information contact:

  • Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner at, or
  • John Bruce, Regional Secretary, at the South East Regional Office on 0131 441 1878.

South East Scotland Scouts Region is committed to Equal Opportunity.

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

Supporting young people through periods of change

Supporting young people through periods of change

Supporting young people through periods of change

Young people face many periods of transition. Scouting offers the perfect opportunity to support them and give them the benefit of your knowledge and experience.

Here’s some advice on tackling a selection of issues that might come up in each section.

Beavers: experiencing change at home, such as divorce or moving house

At this age, you can focus on the emotional impact of change and how to cope. Give young people the chance to talk about their wishes, worries and fears, and let them work through them. For some Scouts experiencing change, attending Beavers will give them a chance to take their minds off what is happening, so they might not want to talk. For others, being able to speak to their friends about how they’re feeling is really valuable. All you need to do is create a safe space.

This is also a great time to start introducing messages about change often being positive. Emphasise this when new members and volunteers start, and if you have to move locations or change the time of your group.

Cubs: moving into secondary school

According to one in10 school leaders, over 50% of young people don’t achieve the right levels of ‘school readiness’ when they start secondary school. According to leaders, the most common ways young people are under-prepared include lack of resilience (53%), lack of social skills (46%) and low self-esteem/confidence (47%).

By becoming Scouts, young people will already get a boost in these areas. However, almost everyone gets nervous about moving into secondary school. Hold a session where older Cubs can discuss the move, and bust some myths together! If they’ve been told that having to attend so many different lessons is overwhelming, you can reassure them by drawing a connection between their new timetables and the range of badges they work towards – for example, young people who were excited about their Backwoods Cooking Badge can look forward to food technology, and those who got stuck into their Science Badge will be able to explore physics, chemistry and biology in more depth.

It’s also good to remind older members how expectations of them at secondary school will be different to primary school. They will have more responsibility over their time management, learning, clothing and equipment. Having them prepare for trips and activities will teach them these skills anyway but you can remind them that at their new school, they’ll need to pack their own bags and learn to prepare properly every single evening. You can also talk about how they can plan their own journeys to school, emphasising the importance of safety. Linking this to their Personal Safety Badge is a great way to do this.

Scouts: coping with exams

90% of success is preparation. You can show your young people how to prepare for exams by creating timetables (except with something more fun than revision  like preparation for a trip or a new badge).

You can also talk about relaxation techniques. Introduce your Scouts to mindfulness apps and gentle forms of exercise like yoga, and emphasise taking regular breaks. Getting into nature has also proven to be beneficial for mental health, reducing brain fatigue, stress and anxiety. A 2010 study found that participants who walked in a forest had lower blood pressure and levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) afterwards than those who strolled through a city. So plan an expedition into the nearest forest or green area around the time of exams, to help everyone relax.

Explorers: going into further education

One of the best ways you can support your young people in preparing for further education is by helping them work out what they’re passionate about. What badges have they particularly enjoyed working towards? Are they happiest when teaching and helping others, or do they come alive when they’re using their hands to create something?

Once they know what they’re going to do, encourage independence by getting them to take their Scouting to the next level. It could be a good time to discuss going for their Queen’s Scout Award or their Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, for example. These awards involve committing to activities such as learning a skill, taking up a physical activity and providing a service, for six months to a year – demonstrating commitment and dedication, and preparing them for the reality of a minimum of three years at university or similar environment. They also involve overnight stays in unfamiliar environments with people that are unknown to them – an excellent way to get them ready for leaving home.

Finally, although Scouts always look out for each other, it doesn’t hurt to remind them to support each other during times of transition and to look out for any other young people who seem vulnerable or lost during periods of change. It’s not just about getting each other through difficult times, but about helping others to get through them too.

Scout Brand Update

Scout Brand Update

New Branding

SHQ Scotland says “We truly believe that the new Scout brand will help make sure that Scouting is clearly understood, more visible, trusted, respected and widely seen as playing a key role in today’s society.  We have a small amount of funding available to help Groups with the cost of updating your Scout Hall or your materials to the new brand.

Would you like to start the new Scouting year by updating your Scout Hall or other materials with our new brand? If so, we’ve got some funding to help you do this. Head to our funding page to find out more: …