Dear parents and carers
Welcome back to another term of Scouting. We’re really pleased, as I’m sure you are, that we are still meeting face to face and (touch wood!) everything seems to be going well and we’re all keeping safe.
I’m writing a little later than usual for the start of a new term as I wanted my termly update to coincide with this term’s biggest administrative task (or is that ‘nightmare’!).
31st January is the annual census of UK Scouts. This is where we re-register the Scout Group as an official member Group of UK Scouts and record the number of individual members we have, which in turn determines the insurance requirements, etc. From this, we are then billed an annual membership fee per member, which is around £45 each by UK Scouts and Kent County Scouts (Folkestone & Hythe District Scouts have again kindly been able to waive the fees we usually have to pay to them). We build this cost into the subs you pay throughout the year for each young person and then we pay it on for the year ahead.
Fortunately, we use Online Scout Manager to help us and it makes it really quick and easy for me to give the numbers to UK Scout HQ that they ask for – providing the information is in OSM!
ACTION REQUESTED: If you get an email from OSM, entitled ‘Scout Census Information’, asking you to complete the census questions, please do enter the details – even if just to say ‘prefer not to say’ as this helps me compile the Group’s census return. Please could I ask you do this by 29th January to give me time to complete the return by 1st February.
All data is anonymised and even I can’t see who has put what, I just get the numbers per section which I then report on. If you would like to know more about the census and how we manage data, check out the handbook here: www.11thfolkestonescouts.org.uk/census. It really does only take a few seconds once you’ve logged in, I promise.
If you don’t get an email, don’t worry, it just means you’ve completed the information in the past and they system remembers so we don’t need you to enter it again. If you’d still rather recheck it, please email me and I can force the system to re-ask you.
ACTION REQUESTED: The next email you may get from OSM is asking you to make a gift aid declaration. If you pay more than £132 in tax per year, please could we ask that you complete the declaration. This enables us to claim gift aid on your membership subscriptions – at no cost to you what-so-ever. We can claim £33 per member from the UK Government. We use this additional income to balance the budget and so far, we have been able to resist increasing subs for the past 8 years, although with rising energy costs, etc. it is becoming increasingly more challenging. You’re help with gift aid will certainly make it easier. The process takes a few seconds – click the link in the email and enter your details (please only enter house number/name, not street and please leave a space in the postcode after the 18/19/20 – it goes on a HMRC form and is finickity about formatting!).
Thank you very much for your support with these two important items and I look forward to seeing you all over the coming weeks.
Group Scout Leader