Coronavirus / COVID19 Update - 29 March 2020
Following last week's update, I wanted to try and provide a bit of a further update on where we are and what's happening in the County and Scouting overall.
First and foremost, I wanted to thank you all for the continued hard work that is going into continuing Scouting within the County. It is amazing to see the ongoing Scouting taking place, albeit in a different way, but nonetheless, some fantastic ideas and challenges being set. Please continue to share these. My personal favourite this week came from 6th Scunthorpe (Messingham)... who set their Scouts a challenge in their Facebook group as: "A picture of your scout (on this post) of at least two lots of dried pots after a meal....if you've got a dishwasher, then it can have a few days off". This was just one example that caught my eye and there's been many more great ideas, which included our Hedgehog trial section, who are still meeting during this challenging times using available technology and things they have at home.
Naturally, there are a number of questions being asked by volunteers surrounding Scouting and what we're doing (or going to do). We wanted to try and give some advice, as best as we can, on some of the matters raised.
Obviously in relation to timing and the future, we don't know any more than you about how long this situation will continue, but in the meantime, there are still things we can do to keep the Scouting spirit going. That said though, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and we don't have to do it all in the first couple of weeks. Young people and parents are no doubt getting things fired at them from all angles, with this ever changing situation: home schooling; parents / carers working from home; worries for those who cannot work and of course, those that continue to support us working in the NHS, supermarkets, deliveries and the supply chains to name but a few.
Scouting and engaging with Young People
There have been some great resources released by The Scouts and by OSM on 'Cyber Scouting'. When the time is ready for your section / group, why not share these ideas with parents and carers. The Great Indoors, which was sent to all leaders by Tim Kidd (UK Chief Commissioner) for example has 100 activities that young people can do at home.
We're aware that other Counties are putting information together too and we'll be collating these into a list of resources shortly and adding this to the County Website as a go-to place which we can then update as necessary.
You may have seen that there has been a change in the rules around ID checking when completing DBS checks and there will be more information on this from HQ in the coming period, regarding specifically how in Scouting we should proceed in completing these. In the meantime, whilst DBS checks are important, as we are not carrying out 'regulated activity' we can hang on for the HQ advice to be released. There is no doubt whatsoever, that having DBS checks for volunteers will remain a high priority and once the relevant advice has been released, we will be able to rectify any gaps that we may have. That said, this may also be a good time for you to review any members that are listed in your group, but no longer take part (for example, previous parent helpers) and remove these to prevent unnecessary reminders about expiring DBS checks.
Subscription Collections / Membership Fees
Thank you to all Groups and Districts for collecting in their membership fees on time for the current period. We're currently processing these in order to pay them on as required. This is however an area that we've had a few questions around.
What we have to remember, is what our membership fees pay for, for example at HQ: Safeguarding, Complaints, Insurance, Programme, Training, Legal, Litigation and the Regional Services Team to name just some of the areas. Whilst it would be nice for HQ to turn off all costs in this challenging time, most of these teams are essential and could not just stop work. As Groups, Districts and the County, we all need to mindful of costs that we incur, and certainly from a County perspective we're in the process of reviewing all of our income and expenditure in light of the current situation. Like HQ though, we can't mitigate all of it as we have a number of fixed costs that we can't 'turn off'. This will no doubt also be the case for Districts and Groups alike. In the coming week, there will be further clarification and advice from HQ on what we might be able to do to help in the current situation.
Before any of the Coronavirus situation, HQ had already planned a campaign to ensure everyone was up to date with mandatory safeguarding and safety training. I can now say that this can be done online and at this time no one needs to do it face-to-face. In the coming weeks, HQ will be sending out emails to everyone who ,on their Compass record, is out of date with this mandatory training and requesting they complete it. On completion, you can send your certificate to your local Training Manager or to a link at HQ and it will be validated on your Compass record. Please can we have a big push in this as the emails come out, with a plan for us all to have completed any necessary online training by 31 May 2020.
Support for all
Lastly, I'd like to ask that you look after yourselves, your families and take extra care during the current situation, but equally ask that we support each other. I know from my own experience, that being at home 24/7 is a challenge, but we are in this together and we can all help each other in these difficult times.
Good luck with all you are doing and thank you again for keeping the spirit of Scouting alive. As our Scout Law says, a Scout has courage in all difficulties. I think we are experiencing a time when more than ever we will need to live up to this. Be courageous, keep safe, stay at home wherever possible and keep in touch.
As always, if there's anything you need, the County Team and I are available to help and support wherever we can.