I am very pleased to present the Chair’s report for 2019 and you will see I have summarised the year from a Regional Executive’s perspective in both the Trustees annual report and the Annual review. 

I can report positively, it’s been a very productive year, the Regional Executive has met several times and also the sub committees have met regularly to allow the Executive meetings to be really focussed.  Our Agendas are always full and conversation and discussion can be very lively!

I would just like to reiterate that our role as an Executive is to support the Regional Commissioner and her leadership team in the delivery of the Regional Strategy and on behalf of the Regional Executive I’d like to thank them as a group for their leadership in delivering the “game of scouting” in South East Region.

Many of you will remember I set out the Regional Executive priorities in Jan 2018 to the Regional team around headings of Governance, Infrastructure, Engagement and Staffing in support of the Regional Strategy and we had an update session this February.  Imaginatively called “One year on! “

Tonight I’d like to just touch on these aspects, as I believe we are really gathering momentum:

Governance is thankfully well embedded, we have a strong and committed Executive committee and sub-committees being Risk, Finance, Estates and Infrastructure.   We have good representation across Districts and we have had healthy robust discussions as a group as we have had some tough decisions to make to support an ambitious Regional strategy.  

I would also like to make mention of some really positive teamwork as our Treasurer, Malcolm Cutt has had some personal challenges and hasn’t been able to give the time he would have liked to the role. As a consequence both Graeme Robertson and John Bruce have stepped in to assist and more recently Bruce MacDonald kindly agreed to step into the role of Treasurer on an interim basis.  I’m also delighted that Malcolm has also agreed to chair the Finance Committee and continue to offer his expertise and guidance to the Regional Executive in that capacity.

My thanks again go to all Trustees and other individuals who give their time to support us in these capacities, particularly those who hold other positions in the Region also.

I would also like to take the opportunity to say a personal thank you to the Regional chair’s committee: Margery Naylor, John Bruce, Malcolm Cutt and Graeme Robertson, for their continued support and friendship this past year.  Also, special thanks to Douglas Allan who is standing down this year for all his support and contribution these past 3 years. 

Infrastructure has been a big focus for us.  As I said last year, we established an infrastructure committee under the leadership of Mark Hesketh and they have helped bring several ideas and thoughts from various sources into one place! 

This has led to a separate working party proposing a direction of travel for Bonaly Scout Centre for the next 5 years and this was led by Judith Wood, DC from Braid.  On top of that, the Estates committee under leadership of Steve Gamble have been challenged with sorting out some pretty big “Minor” projects as we have called them! I hope those of you that have been to Bonaly will be noticing the work that has been going on there and would like to thank the Active Support Unit in particular for their continued endeavours to work through “Barry’s list!”  as it’s famously known.

And, we still have a new amenity block to come next year!  Just for information, that is on the “major” projects list!

We have also a new Centre Manager, Mark Campbell, who joined us in May.  He brings a lot of experience from outdoor education, has hit the ground running and we are looking forward to seeing his knowledge and experience reflected in our service and activities in the coming months.

Longcraig Scout Centre has been busy too!  And in its 50th year we have enjoyed the celebrations around the theme of past present and future and most recently many of us attended a successful event to formally mark the 50 years with volunteers both past & present along with a number of guests, including lord and Lady Roseberry.  

In much the same way as Bonaly Scout Centre, there is a now a working party established to pull together a 5 year direction of travel plan for Longcraig Scout Centre and we as an Executive team should get an early sight of that this calendar year.

Engagement is extremely important to us.  Our consultation exercise this year was designed to listen to people and hear what matters most to them so that the decisions we take as a Region continue to be relevant to these needs. My thanks in particular go to Graeme Robertson and Martin Elliott for masterminding this exercise, which included both focus groups and an online survey.

We have also reviewed the use and format of our Newsletter, our website and the use of our social media channels.  This work is now being consolidated as part of a broader communications review to further improve how we best connect as a Region.

I also managed at long last to host a meeting of District office bearers on 27th August and I was really impressed with the level of attendance and willingness to engage as a Region on many matters of shared interest.  I was also delighted to have the support and involvement of our President and Vice Presidents at that evening too. So hopefully, you’ll agree we are gaining momentum in this area too!

Staffing is also a significant aspect of the way we manage our Region and I’m delighted with the progress being made here.   As I said, we have a new Centre Manager and a fantastic staff team at Bonaly, which also includes duty wardens, & activity instructors and I can see the momentum they are building having been given clarity around the direction of travel.

Our new Scouting Support Officer, Mike Treanor has only been in post a matter of months and already he is making an impactful contribution to meeting the needs of our people on the ground.  This has been a significant investment for us as a Region, but we believe it will reap huge benefit.

So in summary, a lot of positive things happening, there is a lot to come.  For example, as many of you know, Gang Show will be celebrating 60 years this year (and boy that number certainly ages me and there are photos to prove it!)  Robert Young has told me, tickets are selling fast! Better get yours!

In all seriousness, I believe we are building momentum in support of the Regional strategy with good governance, investment in our infrastructure, a focus on engagement across the Region and having a strong staff team.     I firmly believe, you never stop learning and no matter the role we take in Scouting, hashtag skills for life holds true!

Thank you

John Cannon
Regional Chair
1st October 2019