2022 is only a month old, but already there are many signs that Scouting in South East Scotland is in for a good year ahead!
Last weekend I was delighted to join with representatives from 5 of our 7 Districts for a Recovery Workshop run by Scouts Scotland supported by members of the Regional team. It provided an opportunity to reflect on how Groups and Districts are recovering from the COVID pandemic and what additional support District and Regional teams can provide as we continue to rebuild. We all came away with a lot to think about and I, along with the Regional Leadership team and Kirstie, our Scouting Support Officer, will be working with Districts to support them as they look to implement some of the resulting actions locally.
The output from the workshop will also feed into our ongoing work updating the Regional Strategy and I am delighted that we have made a number of appointments within the Regional team to support this work.
It is important that we recognise the great work done by so many of our volunteers and one of the ways that we can do this is through Good Service Awards. Last year saw volunteers from across the Region recognised in this way and to support this I have appointed a Regional Awards Advisory Group and I am very grateful to John Bruce, Regional Vice President, who has agreed to chair it supported by Bill Ramsay and a Youth Member from Borders District. Find out more about this new Group and how it can help you with award nominations here.
You will hopefully have seen in my earlier communications that I see Inclusion as a key part of our Regional Strategy and so I am delighted that the Regional Executive Committee has agreed to appoint Melissa Meldrum as Regional Adviser (Inclusion). Melissa is a Scout Network member in Pentland District and is a secondary teacher in West Lothian. In her new role, Melissa will work with me, Mike Treanor, Deputy RC (People), and the wider Regional Leadership Team and Regional Executive Committee to develop the Inclusion part of our strategy in this area and lead on its implementation. Further details on this and how Melissa can support Groups and Districts will be shared in the coming months but in the meantime please join me in welcoming Melissa to the Regional Leadership Team
We have also seen more new Squirrel dreys set up across the Region and I would like to congratulate the 21st Craigalmond (South Queensferry), Cardrona and Lauderdale in the Borders, 1st Midlothian (Gorebridge), and 31st Juniper Green in the Pentland District who have joined the 25th Braid Scout Group in expanding their provision to early years with full investitures or early taster sessions.
We have continued to improve our training compliance with rates for safety, safeguarding, first response and GDPR all improving since the last update.
Thank you to all who have worked so hard to achieve this and particular congratulations to Edinburgh North East, Midlothian and Pentland Districts who have managed to achieve the national target of 98% compliance in Safety and Safeguarding training.
This training is an important part of our framework for ensuring that Scouting in South East Scotland is as safe as possible for our young people and is mandatory for most roles.
If you have to complete it or will have to soon, it does not take long to complete and support is available from your line manager, training adviser or Mary Dick, Assistant RC (Adult Training).
Thursday 3rd February marked Time to Talk Day. Run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, Time to Talk Day is the nation’s biggest mental health conversation. This particularly important this year as we recover from the effects of the COVID pandemic. There is still too often a taboo about talking about mental health but as I wrote previously, it is important that we are able to be open when we are struggling. Scouting has a range of programme ideas which I would encourage you to use with the young people in your sections to help them to learn the importance of looking after their mental health.
I would also encourage any of our volunteers who are struggling to speak to someone. When I went through a difficult time, I was able to speak to those around me and arrange to take some time out and it did me the world of good so please don’t be afraid to say if you need some time away from Scouting to look after your mental health. If you are looking for someone to talk to, I am one of the Wellbeing Champions set up by Scouting in response to the COVID lockdown and am happy to speak to any volunteer.
I hope that you, like me, are excited about what 2022 holds for Scouting in our Region, but none of this would be possible without our brilliant volunteers so thank you for all that you do for Scouting in South East Scotland.