Dear parents and carers
I hope you’re all doing OK with Lock-down 3. It certainly feels different to the last two and will hopefully be the last… let’s hope at any rate.
I haven’t written for a few weeks as I need to make sure everyone reads this one carefully.
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 this year 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 and the reduced £6 per month we have collected covers this cost.
We know it has been a very odd year and virtual Scouting doesn’t appeal to everyone, especially this lockdown with the increased expectation of virtual school lessons and time spent in front of a screen already. So, as always, we have a plan and couple of options for everyone (actions required are in BOLD):
Those members (the vast majority of the Group) that have paid the reduced subs regardless of whether they have been able to attend virtual meetings or not, need to do NOTHING. You will be registered with UK Scouts as usual and all current activities and communications will carry on as they have and hopefully we’ll back to face to face Scouting soon.
If virtual Scouting isn’t for you or you’re not sure if you want to come back to Scouts when we’re back to normal, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR SECTION LEADER to let them know. We will move you back to the joining list so that as soon as face to face Scouting resumes, we can invite you back and if you want to, you are welcome to re-join us. You won’t be expected to pay subs or get any more communications from us until we’re able to welcome you back.
If you still want to remain a member, but your subs are not up to date, please either BRING YOUR ACCOUNT UP TO DATE VIA OSM OR GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR SECTION LEADER OR ME.
Let us know that Scouting is no longer for you and we will remove you from our system and stop sending regular communications. PLEASE EMAIL ME BACK FROM THIS MESSAGE and I’ll sort it from there.
I need to record the census by 1st February, so if the option you choose is option 2, 3 or 4, please can I ask you to take the appropriate action by the 30th January at the latest.
If we do not hear from you by 30th January or subs have not been paid up to date, we will assume you have chosen option 4 and will remove your details from our system, ending your membership of Scouting at this time. You are of course welcome to re-join at any time, following our joining process, but will not be prioritised over others on the joining list.
I appreciate this is not the usual positive message I like to send, however, the census bill for a Group the size of ours runs into many thousands of pounds and I don’t want to payout for anyone who isn’t interested, meaning we have reduced resources for those who really do want to Scout when we can get back to it properly.
Don’t forget, each section is running a weekly Zoom meeting and we have launched the Badges@Home app on OSM so you can all earn armfuls of badges, even if we aren’t all together.
Last little ask. If you get an email from OSM 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. 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 have any questions or concerns, please do get in touch with your section leader or with me directly.
Group Scout Leader