Coronavirus / COVID19 Update - 17 March 2020
Following on from last night's very sad announcement and the need to cancel all face to face Scouting events, meetings and activities, I wanted to confirm where we are, and also give some thought to what we might be able to do to help our communities while we're not 'Scouting'. There will naturally be a lot of fear and many unanswered questions at the current time, but for all of us it is something that we need to manage in a calm and collective manner.
Like everyone else, we are unsure how long the period of suspension will last and as such we will need to make some difficult decisions at all levels (County, Districts and Groups), the result being that many future County, District and Group events will be cancelled, including events such as St George’s Day celebrations.
From a County perspective, our Skills Matter and Archery Assessment weekend (28-29 March) will be the first victims of this situation, both of which are cancelled. Longer term, we're already looking at what we need to do (physically and financially) with other events that we had planned such as the Cub Camp and Beaverlympics. One suggestion being that we look at opportunities of postponement, rather than just cancelling and forgetting about them (maybe we can rearrange them for 2021 for example).
Any face to face training that was planned, is naturally suspended under the current guidance from the Government and HQ. We will re-arrange any missed sessions once we have a clearer vision of the future plans.
The European Jamboree 2020 which is due to take place from 27 July to 6 August has not currently been cancelled, and we will keep those involved up to date with further information as soon as it is received, or a decision reached by the organising team, as it is beyond the scope of the County Team to manage this event.
The most important thing during these times is to keep ourselves and others safe, ensuring that we follow the regularly updated Government advice, especially about washing our hands regularly, and self-isolating if we, or members of our family have symptoms of the virus.
In the next few weeks both The Scouts and Online Scout Manager will be looking at activities that our young people can do at home whilst meetings and activities are suspended.
This could also be a great opportunity for those leaders with a bit of free time on their hands to complete any required online training; As was released in recent emails, we need everyone to complete their online safety and safeguarding training as soon as they can, so why not use the spare time you may now have to update your training and send your certificates to your TA, LTM or to the County Training Team, all of whom will update records for you (if you don't ask....!)
Let’s remember that we are in this together. Let’s look after ourselves and our communities. I have shared below some information from North Yorkshire Scouts about how we as leaders might be able to help our communities in this difficult time.
Finally, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for everything you do for Scouting and that you will have to do in the weeks ahead. We will endeavour to keep you updated with any information as and when it is released, but please bear with us, this is new to us all and we need to learn and work together in these challenging times.
As always, if there is anything you need, or if you have a burning (sensible) question, please don't hesitate to get in touch with either myself of one of the County Team.
Take care and stay safe.
Information on community support ideas from North Yorkshire Scouts
- Is there a person in your life, a family member, someone in your Scout Group or your local community, that you could call on the phone or Skype/Facetime and see if they are OK? Getting their number or details now before any lock down would be useful.
- Perhaps people can’t get to the shops, so could you pick up some groceries for them? Leave them outside their door.
- Perhaps they are self-isolating and feeling lonely, could you call them on the phone and see how they are?
- How about writing them a letter telling them about yourself. They could always leave a reply for you to pick up outside the door. You could get younger members to draw a picture to cheer them up.
- If you have some spare income, or some spare food, could you donate to your local food bank? Many are now very short of supplies.
- Be on the lookout for requests to help from other organisations and if it is safe for you to volunteer, please consider doing so.
- Share your stories on social media so we can show how we are helping, and others may just read of this and ask for your help too.