Group

Face-to-face Scouting as lockdown eases

We are delighted to be able to share some positive updates regarding face-to-face Scouting.

UK Scouting, with the National Youth Agency (NYA), have been in dialogue with the UK Government throughout the pandemic. Last week, our National Leadership team shared that from the 29th March 2021, Scouting in England will see lockdown restrictions begin to ease.

Hooray!

From 29 March, we’ll move to Amber, with Groups allowed to meet outdoors in group sizes of 15 plus leaders (5 maximum).

From 12 April, both outdoors and indoors meetings will be allowed in group sizes of 15 plus leaders (5 maximum).

From 12 April, we’ll be allowed to take part in non-residential day trips and visits.

These dates are at the earliest based on the Government roadmap.

What does this mean for Penistone Scouts?

We have planned a virtual programme through to the summer break. For Cubs and Scouts, we will keep these up our sleeves to fall back on should any local restrictions be imposed.

In tandem, we’ve planned and prepared a face-to-face programme that Cubs and Scouts will start after the Easter break. These are in place through to the summer break.

How will it work?

Beavers will continue to meet virtually. The fantastic packs the team prepare and deliver will continue to form the programme. Some face-to-face is forecasted towards the back end of the summer term – more on this as we firm it up.

Cubs will meet once per month face-to-face. We’d like to offer twice a month; however, with 60 cubs and a limit of 15 young people per face-to-face session, we don’t currently have enough adult volunteers with the cub sections to meet more regularly. If you can help us with this challenge, we would love to hear from you, please.

Scouts will meet every other week face-to-face. With 60 scouts, and the same 15 young people limit per face-to-face session, we can’t offer a programme every week for every young person. Instead, the two troops will run the same programme for two weeks, albeit with different young people alternating attendance.

Explorers we are sure will have an exciting programme too. Please look for messages from the central District team for these.

Can we go away or camp yet?

There are three key questions we field from the young people regularly:

  1. When can we meet face-to-face?
  2. When can we go on a day trip together?
  3. When can we go camping?

The first question we’ve covered off above.

Day trips are expected to be allowed from the 12th of April, however, we don’t have any plans for any just yet. Instead, we want to focus on the weekly programme as a priority.

Camping and nights-away – we’d love to, but similar to the removal of capping 15 young people attending face-to-face meetings, we don’t have a timeline we can share. Our headquarters team shared, “Updates on residentials in the UK and larger group sizes are expected to be announced in the coming months. These dates follow the government’s roadmap ­– they’re subject to the vaccination programme continuing at the same rate and the rate of infections reducing across the country. 

Keeping everyone safe

Our top priorities are the safety and wellbeing of both the young people and our volunteers. It is essential our volunteers, the young people and the parents/guardians of the young people are comfortable we are safe.

Similar to the last lockdown easing, we will only be able to have young people attend face-to-face sessions where a suitable adult has given explicit written permission for their young person to take part. We achieve this through Online Scout Manager event invitations.

All our activities are thoroughly risk assessed, documented, and require Rob’s approval as the Group Scout Leader and then a District team representative. This has to be in place before any invitations are sent out.

Our adult volunteers, as a minimum, undertake safety and safeguarding training. They also either hold a valid first-aid certificate or, as new volunteers, are in the process of attaining one. No event or meeting can take place without a suitable number of first aiders present.

We have COVID specific measures for our meetings and suitable protections in place. Appropriate information is sent out before face-to-face meetings, so it’s both timely and relevant.

Photo credit: David Martyn Hunt (Flickr – Creative Commons)

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